Monday, June 18, 2012

Choices, Choices, Choices


     There are times when I just doubt myself and this whole adventure that I’m on. I know I am not the only one and that is some comfort to me, but the truth is I get sick and tired of these angsty, pity party trips.  I’m so over them, so why do I keep having them?  Other than the knee jerk samskara-type reactions, I think it may also be who I invite to my party.

     Overall, I have surrounded myself with positive, adventurous spirits who are uplifting, supportive and encouraging.  Thank you so much friends and family for your kindness, and I hope with all my heart that I am such a soul for you, saying positive things and uplifting your spirit, as well.  I strive to, but that doesn’t always mean I accomplish that goal. 

     But, every once in a while some nay-sayer gets invited to the shin-dig and I’m floored.  There was a real negative post on facebook the other day, which for the most part I can blow off, but it was just out of the blue.  It was deliberately negative with malicious intent, and I’m not going to repost what was written.  Time to let it go.  I invited this person into my life quite literally when I accepted their friend request, so, ultimately, I am responsible for them bellying up to my proverbial bar. Then there was the police officer’s attitude when I got pulled over for speeding the other day. Yes, my bad, and I take full responsibility for my actions – I was running a scene in my head from the book I’m writing while driving on the outskirts of town.  Don’t do that; you will miss the posted speed limit.

     Thus, I invited this man into my life with my inattention to the important matter at hand:  driving my vehicle in a safe and responsible manner.  And as the officer so kindly reminded me, driving is a privilege, not a right and one must earn their privileges. Maybe the cop’s attitude when he pulled me over had to do with the kind of day he was having, but it was jarring.  He sounded  truly angry with me, so much so that he scared my 10-year-old when he barked at me, “Do you know why I pulled you over?”  I have to admit that line irritates me in general.  Can we skip the lecture, please?  I’m an adult, you’re an adult, let’s just get this uncomfortable business over with. I try to be completely honest in my blog postings, so here goes.  He was disrespectful, intentionally condescending and unnecessarily intimidating.  I had no idea I was speeding, so my answer to his question was, “I’m sorry, officer, but I have no idea what I did wrong.” 

     “Well, why don’t you give me your license and registration and I’ll educate you.”

     I’m not a stupid woman:  I get it.  He’s the authority figure and I had just violated a traffic regulation and I need to be polite and respectful to the guy in charge at the moment.  I also know a cop’s job is, for the most part, a thankless one. The public is distrustful and resentful, at times, and the pay isn’t that great and you get to deal with the most difficult people on a daily basis, and I’m being kind, I’m sure.  Then there is whatever internal regulations and politics of the sheriff’s office and so on, so please understand this is not a cop-bashing post (I have police officer friends who I love and respect) but here’s where it all breaks down for me.

   We are all people with histories and hearts, and we need to remember that no matter what we are doing.  I try to always keep that in mind, so I was polite, respectful and downright obsequious, but what did I get in return?  Disrespect, anger and a deliberate attempt to intimidate me.  I had my daughter with me, so I was trying to diffuse the situation and be as cooperative as I could, but it was like he wanted me to shake and cry, which I eventually did.  I said not a negative word, didn’t roll my eyes or give the man any reason to think I disrespected his authority, at all.  When he walked away to look me up, my girl said, “Mom, that guys being such a dip to you.”  I paused, trying to find the right words to explain the situation and to be thoughtful with my response, not just blather or be overly emotional.  Finally, I said, “Hey, his job is not easy and I did violate a traffic law.”

     “But you didn’t mean to and he doesn’t have to be so mean.”

     “Well, whether I meant to or not, I did and I need to accept the consequences.  Besides, we don’t know what kind of day he’s having – maybe his kid is sick or his dog just died.”

     “Well, he doesn’t know what kind of day you’re having, either, so why doesn’t he try to be more kind, like you?”

     I didn’t know what to say to that, and by that time, the officer was back and I don’t know why, but he did tone his attitude down.  Well, maybe it had to do with the way my hand shook when I signed the ticket or the way the tear ran down my daughter’s cheek.  God, part of me was so upset with him for making my daughter cry and at myself for putting her in that situation, and I wondered if he felt like he had made his point or if he truly felt bad about it.  Honestly, it got to me that he got to me and I wanted to just get the hell out of there.  When we finally drove away, my girl patted my arm and said, “It’s okay, mom.  We know you’re a good person and that’s all that matters.”

     And I cried right then. Geesh.  What a goofy, sappy piece of work I can be.  Ah, well. What I’m getting at is that you choose who comes into your life, really, by what you do and what you say and who you associate with.  You also have the power to choose the way you react to them and whether or not they get to stay in your life.  I choose not to invite another police officer into my day, period, unless it’s in a social situation with good friends.  I choose to not get rattled by the unhappy people I come into contact with - which, unfortunately, is not so easy, but worth working on – and I choose to un-invite those who consistently make life more difficult than it has to be. 

It all comes down to choices, now doesn’t it?
Why, yes, Melissa, yes, it does.

2 comments:

  1. Some people just beg to be criticized. I try to resist, especially when they post, “Here’s my opening chapter. What do you think?” I don’t see why I should be “unfriended” for being helpful.
    I’ve learned to do this privately now because… I can be a little too spot on. I don’t mean to be “negative”. If there are too many passives, or dull verbs, or sound-alike characters, or any number of other amateur mistakes, I remind them. They asked, after all. Maybe a “your-cover-looks-like-lesbian-soft-porn” comment is over the top but it did. It was beneath his writing skills and story-telling abilities.
    But I rarely leave without leaving a box of Band-Aids. “Is your book or your name your brand?” “Selecting typefaces is an art form. Find an artist to help you.”[I suggested a few professionals.] “A single color choice does not rocket an e-book into stellar sales, especially if they are all varying shades of blue.”
    I calm down when someone’s just plain mean, especially if there’s little or nothing of value in his comments. Being mean for its own sake is sadistic. Being blunt saves time. Being secure within oneself is a necessity, especially if we pour our souls into our writing. Listening for the helpful in the negative is useful.
    True friends tell you the truth. Unfriending them keeps one weak. I say come one, come all.

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  2. Hi, John! When we put ourselves "out there" we have to cowboy up and take it or it will be a very uncomfortable ride. The other option is to hide, right? That's no fun. I'm learning. Thanks for the input. Namaste!

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