The contradiction of being human

People pretend to be nice; people pretend to be smooth and polite and everything, but this is only an appearance because the way we’re built as human beings is only in paradox and contradictions — Vincent Cassel

Humans are walking contradictions. We all try to toe the line when it comes to living in any given community and interacting with one another in a socially acceptable manner.

The problem with socially acceptable behaviour is we end up saddled with things that are considered right and things that are considered wrong in an attempt to unify everyone with a community. Sometimes that doesn’t leave room to permit the concept of thinking differently or being different. You can only go outside the box so much before someone is looking at you like you’ve lost your fucking mind and tells you to fall in with the crowd and be ‘normal’… whatever the fuck that means.

It’s interesting to hear those same individuals — the ones who told you fall in line — act nice and polite to someone and then turn around make a rather judgmental or cruel remark about that person once he/she is out of ear-shot. It’s especially interesting when those sour remarks are about someone they know very well… i.e. the kind you have in familial relationships via blood or marriage.

I’ve heard my fair share of those catty and cutting remarks, especially about the superficial. I reached a point some time ago that I really don’t care to hear that shit anymore. Listening to duplicity is tiring. I can’t imagine how tiring it must be to be duplicitous. Whatever happened to the saying “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all”? Given the political and social environment the world is mired in right now, anybody who abides by that in some form are outnumbered by those who don’t care and want what’s in their own best self-interest.

‘Selfish’ is a word saddled with negative connotations. A lot of people who are selfish, won’t admit to being selfish. They’ll describe it as something else. Call it entitlement, call it upholding the beliefs you grew up with. Call it whatever.

There are folks who want to be seen as good, who want to curry favour with someone, who want acceptance. They want it so desperately that they will suppress anything they perceive to be negative about themselves. They slip on a mask of goodness, a mask of ‘I belong’… and someone’s definition of perfection.

I’ve seen enough of this behaviour manifest itself in individuals I know/knew very well or care(d) about that it frustrates me to no end. A person’s inability to accept others as they are is a reflection of that person’s inability to accept who they are, to accept what society consider to be character or physical flaws.

There is nothing perfect about human beings. We are capable of love, hate and indifference. We can be snarky, bitchy, whiny, grumpy, angry, cruel. If you want perfection, then being a perfect human being means accepting and embracing your imperfections. Accepting the contradictions that exist within you. It also means accepting and embracing the contradictions that exist within those you love and appreciate.

There is nothing simple about being a human being. I move through my positive and negative emotions and traits like a fish to water. I am more than secure about who I am and who I can never be. Personally, it’s really annoying and soul-draining to deal with individuals who lack the self-awareness to accept who they really are.

If you’re an asshole and you are lucid enough to realize that and be okay with that, then great… be an asshole. Be consistently an asshole. And if you can do that, DO NOT make a big production by declaring to everyone who you think will listen to you that you know you’re asshole. That’s not an example of self-awareness. You’re asking us for permission to be an asshole, to feel sorry for you because you’re a dickhead. You want us to excuse your behaviour.

Honestly, you’re not owning it.

Call me crazy, but I’m pretty true assholes don’t ask for permission for anything. You are an example of an attention seeker. You’re just pretending to be self-aware when you’re not. It’s all lip service. Guess what… you’d be surprised that there are a lot more people than you’d expect who are very aware you deal in lip service.

Just be an asshole. Just be. There’s no need to declare it. Everybody knows already. Newsflash — we’re not stupid.

If it sounds like I’m railing against one particular person, fear not. I’m railing against all the fuckers who I’ve met and had to punt out of my life.

I can deal with the negative aspects of a person’s personality. Knowing right off the hop that you’re a jerk makes it easier to manage my interactions with you. But it doesn’t mean I want to be exposed to that kind of negativity energy for any extended period of time. I know folks who consistently expose themselves to negative energy out of some misguided idea of finding the good in everyone. That kind of masochism is one I do not endorse or encourage.

Being straight with yourself makes it easier to be straight with everybody else.

Believe me, we’ll thank you.

The enchanting monsters

The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination — Richard Wright

Last Friday night, looking over my outline for my current writing project (i.e. second novel), I came to the conclusion that the outline is complete. For now, that is. I say that since anything can happen from the time I resume working on the novel to the moment I believe the story is finished.

I decided awhile ago, after having written the rough draft of the novel’s first act, I needed to stop and nail down the second and third acts. I knew what I wanted but I needed to put it down on file cards to see something tangible and moved them around like building blocks. I didn’t want to start writing again until the complete blueprint was laid out in front of me.

Well, I have the blueprint. Yay. Now to steal a couple of hours (or more) a day to spend time with my characters. Preferably in full throttle. Ok, maybe not full throttle all the time. Maybe we can intersperse that with a jaunty but sorta slow run. I think we can manage that. Maybe.

Anyway, I’m excited regardless of what speed me and my boys willing be traveling. Naturally, I’m going to go through the first act again because I’ve made a slight but significant change to the main female character. That requires me going into the first act to alter a few things. And I can’t wait to see how she will pop off the screen/page once I’ve made the change. Her changes will affect my boys significantly. This is going to be interesting. And in a slightly sadistic/masochistic kind of way, it’s going to be fun.

My boys and my badass gal are more than ready to show me how they intend to roll. They’ve been so good about the fact my life has been crazy since February. Didn’t think they had this much patience for me. But they do and I’m pleased they haven’t wandered away from me. They’re sticking with me. And that says a lot.

That being said, I’m rubbing my hands together in great anticipation. They are the enchanting monsters of my imagination. And I am ready to meet them head on and run with them again.

The continuation of my adventures with them awaits.

Here goes nothing

Times of transition are strenuous, but I love them. They are an opportunity to purge, rethink priorities, and be intentional about new habits. We can make our new normal any way we want — Kristin Armstrong

In a recent post, I rattled off about the concept of doing everything, how messy doing everything can get, and how great messy can be if you don’t let it run you over.

Well, messy just got real. Messy officially kicked off last week. It’s exciting in a masochistic way and a little daunting.

Without getting into specifics, all I can say is the latest additions to my responsibilities are things I’ve done before. But they were things that had never been a part of my day job. These things, these experiences were earned through other parts of my life via past jobs, volunteerism and the joys being part of a particular community. To incorporate those experiences into my day job is something I had not anticipated on happening.

Quite frankly, I was happy to just keep them separate. Guess that’s not happening now. And based on early reactions I’ve received, there are folks who are thrilled about my evolving job. Yeah, things are going to get messy.

I will admit to being a little nervous about the new responsibilities. The handful of folks who do know about the role I will be taking on, are thrilled. They seem ready to give me the support I need and are confident that I can pull it off. Oh, boy. I have jokingly mentioned that I haven’t done anything yet, therefore there is an outside chance I might screw this up.

They laugh and tell me it’s not going to happen. Such faith.

This transition means I must be vigilant in keeping my writing life from taking a backseat to life. Fortunately, I have been finding myself more in the company of my fictional characters, my boys, when I’m away from work. Without much thought, it looks like I am turning to them to maintain the sense of groundedness and balance. I’m ironing out the details of the third act of the novel. I’m close to picking up where I left off. I’m this close to resuming the narrative of my boys’ stories. I want and need to play with them again. And the prospect of that feels better than awesome. It feels like home.

I think being at ‘home’ for a couple of hours a day would be a good start. Once I resume tapping on the keyboard again, those couple of hours will probably extend to four hours or longer, depending if it’s my day off and I get all my chores and errands squared away as quickly as possible. I’m really looking forward to it.

Not sure if I can say the same for my new responsibilities. It’s good to be a little nervous, right? It means you don’t want to royally fuck it up. Right? Anyway, I think it’s all in the preparation, prioritization and organization. So is taking a deep breath and taking that first step.

Here goes nothing.