Jun. 8th, 2004

jakebe: (raven)
When you're formless, there are great solid chunks that happen to float around on you that you wouldn't have noticed when you were solid. Every once in a while, especially recently, I like to examine these foreign chunks at length.

(Let me have the conceit that I can write something like Ralph Ellison, please. :))

I have a great tendency to avoid confrontation, to the point that I'll willfully ignore things that piss me off, downplaying their importance to avoid conflict. I usually justify this tendency by rationalizing my first response (anger, annoyance, indignation) is a reflex from my ego, and that I should probably give the whole situation time to cool so that I can see it from a more balanced perspective. Of course, by the time comes to revisit something I'm probably distracted by something shiny and/or large.

Some things really do suck, and there are many times people do things that they shouldn't. Sometimes, it's even OK to call them on it. It's certainly better than taking just such an event, internalizing it to the point you've forgotten its existence, and letting it dictate your actions and opinions for some time to come.

Let me explain. Gift-giving, for me, is a pretty momentous thing. I don't have a lot of money or resources, and for some reason I can't just give people *one* thing (that book is going to be awfully lonely in that envelope by itself), so usually I'll save up enough things to pack inside a milk crate or something, then save enough money to ship the great gallumping package in one go. It's for this reason that gifts can sometimes take months to get to their destination (Sorry, Seph.). It's a lot of energy devoted, and I generally don't give gifts unless I really mean something by it.

That being said, the most *important* gift I could give anyone is a mixed tape. Yes, I know it's very "High Fidelity". But it's true; out of literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of songs that you hear in your lifetime, picking ten or twenty that says something you've always wanted to say to a person, arranging them in a way that flows well and fits on a CD, and making sure that it'll actually grab its audience with the intended effect is hard work, and well...making it alone is indicative of my esteem for the target. ;) I've received perhaps four or five CDs of that nature from folks, and they are some of the most cherished things I own. Music means a lot to me that way.

The last two mixed tapes I made were completely ignored by the people who got them. In fact, I seem to have a history of giving bad gifts, as they never seem to produce the desired effect. I don't *think* I'm expecting worship or someone to break down in tears, unable to properly express gratitude, but...you know appreciation when you see it, and it's pretty obvious that a lot of presents I've given weren't appreciated. The mixed tapes were especially disappointing, because it's, well, my personal deepest expression to someone else on a one-on-one basis. It's intimate.

So, these gifts and tapes were received with indifference, and instead of dealing with that I brushed it off as no big deal. Well, little did I know that my desire to give would be affected, I would shut myself off from these people and most everyone else, and my empathy with others would be retarded in a most basic way.

To review: "Because a few people didn't think that my gifts and mixed tapes were as momentous as I thought they were, I don't give presents or open up to most people in any meaningful way." How fucked up is that? But it's true. At least that's how I see it.

It's nothing new that no one individual is the center of the Universe, and that not everyone's priorities are going to be the same. Is it fair to expect that other people are going to understand just what you mean by sending them a bunch of songs they may or may not like, and to judge them based on that reception? Of course not. Is it fair to assume that other people are not interested in what's going on with you, because of experiences with these other people? No. So why was I doing that?

Mainly, because I didn't realize that's what I *was* doing. And now that I do, I can do something about it. Just another way that being formless, however temporarily, has its advantages.

I've been trying to be more open and honest with people in general, though I'm also trying to respect the apathy of others. People do, after all, have the right not to care.

On a related note, I am constantly amazed by how people can affect you, even when communication is relatively sparse. The same people who build you up can't help but tear you down, too. It's just how it works. I'm enjoying the rework.
jakebe: (raven)
Just because I want to be a bastard...

[livejournal.com profile] reahkitty broke down in the Bookshop *minutes* ago. Why? Because she's got an interview for a physical sciences teaching job a few hours' south of here.

Congratulations and good luck!

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