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Archive: 24 February 2007

Diverse Reactions

I had most of a followup to yesterday’s post written, all reasonable and spiked with some humor and maybe a little dry, which I suppose is what most people have come to expect from me in general, and then it fell apart in concert with my inner stability.

I’ve definitely incurred a lesson in “post in haste, repent in leisure”.  The internal aftereffects of the post have been extensive and unexpected.  I don’t have them all sorted out yet; it may take months.  I don’t even have names for all the things that have roiled up.  I may be undergoing a drastic phase change in my thinking, or I may just be grieving something I didn’t know I mourned, or perhaps I’m raging against a world I sometimes feel powerless to alter.  I don’t know.  I do know that if I’d known this would be the effect of posting, I’d never have done it—which is one of the best arguments in the world for having done it.

I’ll not mince words: I screwed up pretty badly yesterday.  The real question is how.  I’m not sure I’ll know the answer for a long time.  Was my mistake in speaking honestly?  Was it in how I wrote it all down?  Was it in the rhetorical approach I took?  Was (is) the flaw intrinsic to me?  Am I the very problem I so much want to eliminate?

If I have erred and caused harm by that error I apologize.  I am as ever human, mistakes and all, flaws aplenty, and while that’s an explanation, it’s not an excuse.  It is never, ever an excuse.

I am deeply sorry today, but not for what I was trying to say.  I might be sorry for how I said it, or for a number of other things.  I know I’m sorry for causing hurt in others.  That was the last thing I wanted.  I was trying to make a positive statement, trying to detail what I find to be an empowering concept.  A lot of people were supportive, but a number of people, many of whom I respect and some that I care for and a few that I love, were disappointed by what I had to say.  I disappointed them, some very badly, which means I’ve let them down.  And I really, really hate letting people down.

And here’s the worst part, the absolutely darkest most awful painful part of the entire situation: I let them down by being myself.

That tears.  It rips ragged claws of paradox across my throat, up my jawline, through my brow.

In my head, I know that the recipe for failure is trying to please everyone, but my heart doesn’t buy it.  I’m human, and no matter how impossible the task I want to be what everyone wants me to be.  Which I can’t be.  I can only be myself.  I can only hope to improve myself.  And I can only do that according to what I truly believe, down at my core, because one person’s improvement is another person’s step backward, and changing oneself to meet the expectations of others is a fool’s game at best.

I am who I am, and it will not be to everyone’s liking.  I will never see the world in the ways that everyone wishes me to see it.  This is an essential truth, something that should be obvious to anyone, the sort of thing one should never think of trying to contradict.

And yet.

I know that there were a number of people who understood what I was saying and agreed with me, who in some cases were proud of me, and that they are no less important than those who didn’t understand or who did understand and were disappointed.  I should concentrate on that balance, see the whole mixture, but I’m just not wired that way.  For whatever reason, my genetics or my upbringing or whatever it is, I can’t help but focus on the negatives.  In this case, on those I let down.

There’s no reason for sympathy here.  I knew the third rail was fully electrified, and I chose to tap dance upon it.  The outcomes of that choice will serve to teach me, if I listen—but what I will learn is still very much an unknown.  I only hope that, in the end, it confers a net positive effect on me and the world around me.

February 2007
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