Monday, August 30, 2010

rock on

A different perspective on a pile of rocks.  Crested Butte, July 2010.
I have a vivid memory of a sunny summer afternoon when I was about four years old. I collected some rocks from my yard and piled them next to my front door to try to sell them - my naturalist version of the lemonade stand.  My first (and only) patron was my uncle who stopped by for a visit.  I was elated as he passed by the front door on his way to see his big sister, my mom, and said he would pay me on the way out. The problem is he paid with one of my mom's checks, and even at four, I knew that wasn't cashing.  My enthusiasm for my great idea fizzled as I sat looking at the check and pretending to be excited about it. Realism kicked in for me at an early age. I swear I was born forty years old. 

The days of the past week and a half have been a big pile of ugly rocks that I couldn't give away for free.  No one would even bother counterfeiting a check for them.  There's nothing earth shattering about these days.  It's just been a string of nothing. is. easy. and some people I care about are hurting for various reasons.  A common theme seems to be the hateful, hurtful words and actions of other people. 

Which brings me to a question I struggle with all the time:  How much do we let other people's words and actions affect us? 

I'm still waiting for the invention of a magic pill for heartache (something like Midol on crack.)  Instead we vent to our colleagues, cry on the shoulders of our loved ones, and seek out advice from spiritual leaders and self-help books.  Here are some words of wisdom I've heard once or twice (ha!)....

Someone can only hurt you as much as you let them 
Really? My first reaction was Oprah may have it nailed, but this practice on it's own is difficult for us ordinary humans. Ask someone whose partner cheated on them what they think about this school of thought.  However, when you dig a little deeper, this can also mean removing the toxic elements from your life, which I am personally a big fan of.  My friend just wrote about her cleansing here

It's not about you
This is a good one.  I truly believe if you look at the root of why someone is jerking you around, it has nothing to do with you as a person.  It is their issue. Doesn't make it hurt any less when your heart gets stomped on.

Some people just have a bad heart
That's a good theory that might make me feel better about myself for a minute, but I choose to believe that most people are intrinsically good. Does someone really wake up in the morning and say "Today I'm going to be a jackass and ruin Sally's day?"  It's more likely that person is damaged somehow and is acting out.  Maybe they are insecure, jealous, or desperate. Maybe they are just having a bad day. It still doesn't take the anger out of being undermined by a colleague or the embarrassment out of being called out by a teacher in front of the whole class. 

This is a good practice for all of us, but forgiveness takes time.  It's not automatic and it takes work like any other skill. 

So what do you do when you get hurt by another's words or behavior? 

My favorite advice: Be Kind.
Be kind to others (even to the jerk who wronged you).... and be kind to yourself.  Let yourself feel, kick, scream, or sing songs about revenge .  Do whatever you need to do except be hard on yourself. 

So to my friend who asked last week "Why do I still want her to like me?" - Because you are human and you are kind.  That's why.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

there's a little bit of narcissist in all of us

Petty show at Red Rocks last June.  This was a diamond day.
Yeah, I stole the name of my blog from Tom Petty (who I plan on marrying in another life).  Tom and I were surely born of the same soul mother.  I love his music and the lyrics and I dig his style.  “Some days are diamonds, some days are rocks” pretty much sums up how I strive to navigate and understand my life.  Plus I thought it was a whole lot cooler than “you take the good, you take the bad” ala The Facts of Life.  Although…. I bet Mrs. Garrett may have been able to hang with Tom and me. 

 When I first discovered blogging about six years ago, it went like this:  

There was this guy who I worked with who blogged about his life.  Some emotional difficulties.  Unhappy.  Questioning his choices.  Questioning his marriage.  There was an incident with a gun.  The police came to his house.  He checked himself into the hospital. He blogged it all. People were gossiping about it around the water cooler.

I remember thinking “Who the hell would want to share that with the world and who would want to read it??”  I was mortified.  I didn’t want to know those things about him!  I thought he must be a narcissist.

Over time, my understanding of blogging has evolved, as have my feelings about it.  We use it for our professional lives, we use it stay in touch, we use it as a means of recording history.  For some it’s an outlet.  I don’t know what it is for me yet.  I spent a lot of mental energy trying to figure that one out.  I have contemplated blogging for a couple years. What about privacy?  What will people think?  Turns out I really don't give a shit as long as everyone is kind to each other and no one uses the information to harm someone else.  I’m doing it for me.  If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

I read some other blogs and wish I had time to read more.  Here’s a shout out to my locals favs:

I read this because it’s my dear friend (who will fight me for Tom Petty in our next life and who is the only person I would share him with) and because she’s really smart and she has interesting things to say.

There’s this other blogger who co-founded this great website with this other blogger.  These are amazing women who are working their asses off to do great things for the community we live in.

Sometimes I read this because, like me, she is a divorced mom trying to navigate a blended family and she thinks deeply about things and is a good writer.  We are completely different personalities and the Christian theme sometimes makes me prickly, but I like my thoughts to be challenged.  

It’s all really about community-building and sharing and loving.  That’s such a hippie-esque thing to say, but if you keep reading, you’ll find that I’m a girl wearing a tie-dyed shirt under my Type A cape.  Hmmm, maybe that’s why I’m blogging….. 

Thanks for reading.