Sunday, 17 March 2013

The struggle with ego

Sometimes I use judgmental language, I know. I am viewing people through the scope of my own experience. Really, I have to accept that this is a different person with a different view of life. And while I don't see eye to eye with this person, I know he or she is entitled to an opinion just like I am entitled to mine.

Which brings us to L. L is a woman I knew in Winterville who can't make it on her own. She lives in a mansion (not an exaggeration, a huuuuuge home in a beauuuutiful neighborhood) out of the charity of the home owner, who she convinced she could assist with the running of the home in exchange for free room and board. Now, I know there are a lot of tasks associated with running a home, and I don't belittle that, but as someone who tried to rent a room out of her brand-new Winterville home five years ago in an effort to make money and cover her bills, and who met a lot of people who presented L's suggestion about living there for free, I sure as heck didn't appreciate it. Well, I was poor, and the home lost half its value and I couldn't sell it, and for a while I was jobless and on unemployment, so I didn't have the capacity for charity... it's not like I had so much and could afford to have someone there not paying. And, it's not really in my background to have this type of arrangement. I don't come from some wealthy type of family that doesn't need income.

Anyway, L was recently arrested for shoplifting. Yes, shoplifting. Because living in a mansion for free apparently isn't enough. Living for free, and using her food stamps to subsidize her living and house parties, and who knows what other entitlements that she receives (that people like me pay for) apparently isn't enough. Now L needs new free clothes too?

I wouldn't have known about this if Diva wasn't still Facebook friends with S.  S is a woman who has deleted me off her friends list as both Jane and my "real" name. I am not sure of her reason and didn't ask. I know that when we met, we were both at the bottom of the barrel, couldn't find work, couldn't find good people, and stuck in Winterville, so I gave this a pass. I figured, if she wants to move out of that time in her life and not be reminded of the people she knew then, more power to her.  Although she and I won't be meeting up and discussing things, I think we can agree that we both deserved better than that.

S pasted a link to the Winterville mug shot website with a description of why L was arrested.  Apparently, they had a big fight months ago when S caught L shoplifting at TJMaxx.  S said L was stupid. L said, "No, they (meaning the people in the store) are stupid." (So it's OK to steal from stupid people? And it's OK to steal? Noted.) They stopped talking and being friends.

Again, I would have known about none of this unless L had made such a fuss about it. She'd call me up and go over this "fight" they had that probably never took place. "S was mean to me because I got lost on the way to her apartment and took too long getting there. S was mad at me because she wanted me to date some guy who lives in an RV. Can you imagine? I'm dating someone who has a plane!" (and a few other girlfriends, it turned out. Surprise, surprise.)

L spent a few weeks ringing my phone so she could malign S. She'd complain endlessly about being deleted from Facebook; it took me at least a month to realize S had deleted me too. She tried to bait me into saying bad things about S. There were some pauses in the conversation when I wouldn't take the bait. I don't want to be like that. I'd say, "Listen, I don't want to hear you talk badly about her. Sure, he has her issues, but so do the rest of us, and you need to let this go."

Of course, S has a criminal past as well. It was a long time ago, and doesn't reflect what she does now, but it does exist.  So her trotting out the information about L's arrest didn't seem fair, either. Pot, have you met Kettle?

I can't even take sides in this. S doesn't talk to me and I don't have any reason to call her. L is probably too embarrassed to get in touch, although she's started sprinkling comments on Facebook again since she got out of jail. I don't have anything nice to say, and I'm trying not to say anything.

I know using judgmental language is wrong, and judging people isn't the best thing, either. However, we all tend to choose people as friends and acquaintances who fit our values. Dr. Wayne Dyer talks about this- shifting to a higher frequency, that sort of thing.  He's a very spiritual dude, and I don't see him hanging out with addicts or thieves.

I do get disappointed sometimes.

Sigh!  Well, thanks for listening, friends.  I hope the upcoming week is a lot of fun for you. And have fun being Irish today!


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Sentimentality is the Ally of Delusion

I have a friend I knew in the bad old days.  D had no job when I had a crappy one, and then when both of us were unemployed, and then when I worked full-time and could not make ends meet and she lived with her parents and managed a makeup counter, her true career having been grounded by the Great Recession.

D was the first to break free of Winterville and get back into her chosen profession, which she actually performs on the road all the time. I struggled at my prior position, had some times of relative sanity when the bills were under control but before my illness, which messed up my finances in a big way as you could imagine, and now I am free of both Winterville and the old circumstances. Thank goodness. It's been a long, hard row to hoe. I'm glad to be on the other side of that crisis.

We met because she volunteered at a theatre where I sometimes volunteered and sometimes performed. D was miserable then.  Well, we all were.  I met some pretty interesting people there.  One explained why natives ostracized me, being a sympathetic native herself. Another was a very angry person who would later, after my friend D's exit, start up some junior-high style campaign in which I would be excluded and made to feel like an outsider.  I stopped talking to her and the sympathetic native when all that $hit hit the fan, and I explained to D this situation; she could sympathize with me from the safety of being Far Away and employed in a capacity that allowed her proper distance.

D's status the other day on Facebook was something like: "Feeling nostalgic for my time at Winterville Theatre" with Angry Person, Sympathetic Native, and a bunch of other actors from those days. I was not included, although I was there then.

So now that D has a full bank account and a glittering successful career and a full life, she is nostalgic for the times when she had no money and lived with her parents and hung out with a bunch of underemployed miserable people in an economically depressed region? Whaaatt???

Dear Goddess, of all the things to be nostalgic about! Let me tell you about how it does NOT break my heart that those days are over. In fact, I am quite relieved. If you'd told me a few years ago that I'd end up living in a great place, surrounded by loved ones, with a long-distance boyfriend whom I've loved since I was 16, and real opportunities ahead in my career, I would have thought you were insane. I don't know if I would have known it was possible, given that I was surrounded by such difficulties, and, aside from people like D, difficult people too.

So maybe Facebook is just wrong for me. Maybe my boyfriend was right to give it up.  Because I didn't appreciate being reminded of those crappy times, and I didn't appreciate having been edited out of D's recollection of it, probably to appease Angry Person.

A book I have, Lovingkindness Meditation, talks a lot about sentimentality being an ally of delusion.  D could be sentimental about those days and just remember what she wanted to, editing out the rest. Were they so great? Nope. But hey, volunteering at the theatre got us all out of the house. At least there was that.

I think I had more fun in the past 2 months, when I was in transition between Winterville and the new city and I lived near work, than I had in the 5 years I lived in Winterville.


Here's my status update: Damn glad to be living in the here and now!

Yours truly,