Providing Perspective

Sometimes, it's hard to be happy for others. Especially when you're going through a rough patch and it seems like there's somebody in your life who always gets everything. They always get the job, they always get the guy/girl, they always have friends, nobody hates them. It's like they have the perfect life.

Truth often is that's not true for anyone. Everyone struggles, it can just sometimes be harder to see another's struggle when they seem to be succeeding in every way you fail.

I was reminded of this recently when something I told a friend in confidence came back out in a public forum. I typically don't make it a habit of telling people things I care not to be repeated and, in fact, this isn't one of those things. What I told her, I told others but not everyone. I wanted to provide some perspective for the seemingly "out of the sky" gift I was receiving. I've worked very hard for what I have, but I'm never one to ignore when life seems to just be good to me all on it's own. In the Christian church we call that a testimony -- how the Lord's been good to you, especially and specifically when you don't deserve it. In my faith everyone has a testimony and many have several. What I told this friend in confidence was something of a testimony.

The reason it was in confidence was because it's the sort of thing that without perspective can take on a life of its own. It's a situation that could become way bigger than it is and make other facets of my life seem a lot different than they are. It's why I don't simply tell you now what it was, aside from the details not adding to my point.

In any case, I posted something on one of my many favorite social media outlets and this friend responded to that post by bringing up this "testimony" in an accusatory manner and she misrepresented the details.

When I read her comment I did not get angry because there was nothing to be angry about. I corrected her misstatement but I also took note. Where I've been recently blessed, she's recently had a very serious issue. It was more than obvious to me her reading of my post as being entitled to even MORE of what I've already achieved came from her frustrations at her own recent issues. I couldn't be mad at that because I've done the same thing.

I was also reminded to be cautious of who I expect to be happy for me as well as being cautious not to let my own issues stop me from supporting and being happy for those around me. Her reply to my correction was almost... ALMOST... apologetic. As if she knew she came from a bad place the first time. As far as I'm concerned, it's all a part of living and learning.


In My Own Time

My new television obsession is Army Wives. A show about 4 women - 3 wives of soldiers and one a soldier - and their families. It's been a huge hit on the Lifetime network for years now, and I refused to watch it until recently I decided to give the first episode a shot (since Netflix recommended it and all 5 seasons were available). I was in love with the show from the moment I hit play.

In tonight's episode, Nicole, a captain in Intelligence and her fiance Charlie (short for Charlotte) have trouble deciding the best way to tell Nicole's mom, who will be visiting to see Nicole be awarded a Bronze Star, that they are engaged. It's been made clear from previous episodes that Nicole's mom is aware that she is gay but is unwilling to accept it and in this episode, Charlie shares that Nicole's mom calls her "Nicole's roommate."

If you've watched enough television drama you can probably guess what happened. Nicole promised to tell her mom, and when it appeared that she wouldn't, Charlie blurted it out leaving Nicole and her mom very upset.

Charlie's character is "colorful" to use her own words and so aside from the real human stuff involved her, it reasoned that she would pull something like that. I thought Nicole was a bit short-sighted to not recognize that this might happen and take steps to prevent it.

That being said, Charlie didn't give Nicole any time to tell her mom. In fact, her mom had just arrived when Charlie got antsy and shared the big news. I thought that was a bit rude.

I do things in my own time. Call it hardheaded or stubborn or whatever, but I don't do anything (well, most anything) until I'm good and ready.

Take, for example, carrying a purse. Let it be said I don't do girly stuff; I never have. And even as my friends began carrying a purse at young ages, I didn't see the point. Even at 16 when it was expected that I would carry a purse I didn't. All I had was a wallet (a man's trifold velcro wallet) with my license and whatever other random cards I could find to stick in it. What'd I need a purse for? I stuck the wallet in my back pocket and went on about my day.

My mother ranted for months about that. The best compromise I could come up with was not carrying the wallet which, she told me, made me look like a boy. I simply stuck my ID and money in my pocket. I just didn't see the point in carrying a purse for one item.

That is, until I did see a point and one day while out shopping with my mother I spotted a blue purse that struck my fancy, I bought it (well, my mother bought it since she was so happy I wanted one) and I've been carrying a purse (for the most part) ever since.

This thing with me carries on to the big things as well and it can be detrimental -- like not ending relationships when I know I should because I'm just not ready. I live with the consequences of my choices, however.

Ultimately, all this means that when I tell you I'm going to handle something, you need to just let me handle it. The quickest way to piss me off, is to force my hand on something that should've been left up to me to handle. It's just not fair. While I totally felt where Charlie was coming from -- not wanting her relationship with Nicole to continue to be ignored by someone important in Nicole's life -- Nicole also promised to handle it and she had a right to be left to do that with her own mother. Nicole strikes me as someone who does things in her own time and her time table just wasn't what Charlie was looking for.

I try to be clear with people who my decision my effect what my timeline is, if I have one, but often all I can do is promise that it will be done and sometimes that's gotta be enough.


Job Searching and Why I Won't Talk About It

I started blogging a long time ago -- back before it was called that -- back when we were just online journaling -- back when xanga and livejournal were legitimate websites that legitimate online users used. I started doing this because I, like most folks, find it therapeutic to write down the things that are going on. In the very very very beginning I literally used it like a journal, writing down the things that were happening to me, as they happened with full details and names.

All of that was fine and dandy until I got into a relationship and started chronicling the woes of that. It wasn't all woes, but I guess that's all I talked about and my boyfriend just wasn't with it. So many of our fights were about the things I wrote online. I didn't get the big deal and he didn't get the big deal but I did ultimately give in and begin censoring myself; first in the matters of our relationship but eventually in all matters.

When I first started this blog, it was to get away from xanga where I had so many people reading my blog who knew me personally. I didn't get a lot of negative feedback about what I was writing, but I did continue to censor myself heavily -- only writing what I thought would be received well, especially if it involved other people. I created a blogspot (now blogger) account never intending for anyone I knew personally to see it. If you go back and read my early posts, many are very detailed, using real names of people I actually know talking about things that actually happened.

I took a break from blogging and when I came back to it and I started getting around on these internet streets and people started actually reading this blog, I realized that there was no way for me to know who was and who wasn't reading. I could assume that because no one I knew personally ever said anything to me about it that they weren't reading but I knew better than to trust that for long. There was also the point that from time to time I write things here that I think are good and want my friends to read, but worry about sending links because what's to stop them from reading the whole site and find posts about them?

So I fell back to censoring myself which is why I started online journaling in the first place. I needed a place to be honest about myself and the things going on around me in a way I couldn't be "in real life" but "real life" followed me here.

I have not completely stopped talking about my life or giving personal stories about real things that happened, but much like in my real life, I give as few details as possible and try to speak as generally as possible when I can't speak as personally (that means only about me) as possible.

All of this is relevant to my job search. Everyone wants updates and I've been reluctant to talk about it. At first I tried to be very open, telling people about my job prospects and potential interviews, but as the disappointments came -- and I knew they would -- I found that other people's stress was effecting me. It's caused me to censor myself and clam up. I've also become something of a hermit as a result. I blame it on wanting to save money, which I do, but dinner dates and outings with friends always end up with "so how's your summer going?" which is usually to imply (if it's not outright asked immediately following) "how's the job hunt?"

I know people mean well and in that general way I'm appreciative. But more and more it feels like people want to problem-solve a problem I don't think I have just yet. Job searches take time and they are disappointing for awhile for most people. It's like looking for something you lost: it's always in the last place you look.

I've been blunt: "when I know something, you'll know something..." I've been coy: "I've got a few leads..." I've explained, I've answered questions, I've done everything but nothing seems to calm people down and so I've given up. They don't get it and I don't get it. Perhaps it's my usual calm and seemingly unaffected demeanor that riles folks up, but that's just me. I trust that when you do things the proper way, they work out and until I have a reason not to trust that, I'm going to keep on.

I have the sort of personality that takes on other people's emotions. I'm very empathetic. It makes me a great counselor and friend but when it goes unchecked can be very unhealthy for me. It's like walking around with all the books of all your classes on your back and then taking on the load of a friend who has the same class load as yours. It's like double the work for half the payout and it is not at all comfortable or fun. The only way I know to keep myself from taking on everyone else's backpacks is to just stay away for a little while. Censor myself, if you will.

I do have one friend who's in my same boat and seems to get my reluctance to talk so she lets me tell her what I want to and she doesn't ask a lot of questions so I tell her everything on my mind and then I'm good. But everyone else will just have to wait until I have good news and I have a feeling that will be soon.