Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Rashomon Effect

I started this post a long time ago with good intentions to finish it quickly, but I ended up getting too lost in thought over the weeks to write anything succinct. There were several incidents that kept bombarding my brain as if a tape were on some kind of random but consistent replay cycle. I kept trying to sort out what was worth addressing and what should be let go. Sometimes you really want to open up about certain things, but it doesn't seem appropriate. It might offend someone, or, after starting to address it, it suddenly doesn't seem so pressing. Maybe it falls into the too little, too late category, or maybe you worry about how the person receiving the information might react.

Quite often in life, your experiences or observations in a situation will be different than -- and occasionally the opposite of -- those witnessing the same event. Lately, I have been ear-deep in these kinds of episodes. I'm left scratching my head, thinking, WTF? How can what I think, feel, see, determine or believe clash so violently with someone else's perspective? Often, I'm waiting for a kumbaya moment, and, instead, I'm about to stumble into a war of words, or I'm left out in the cold, alone, looking in and wondering how I landed here.

It does seem that people are exhibiting extreme behavior more now than ever before. I'm either observing smiling, shiny, happy people, or I'm looking at red-in-the-face, road-raging individuals who yell, scream and try to intimidate others. Sometimes, the hostility is nothing more than someone online taking a condescending tone, but, in certain situations, that's enough to put a bad taste in your mouth and a nagging bug in your brain for the rest of the day or longer. There's an undercurrent of anger or unrest, even if the incident comes off as minor on the surface. It's hard for me to understand why people get so nasty, but I'm guessing it's a deeply rooted unhappiness within themselves, not entirely related to what has transpired in the moment.

It has been a while since I have gone into a full-blown rant. There are a few recent incidents I keep tossing around in my mind, though. One has to do with an encounter I had with a woman in an eating disorder forum. Sometimes people just rub you the wrong way. Other times, a person annoys a bunch of people for obvious reasons. Such was the case recently in one of the forums in which I participate. I already posted about it on Facebook, so I won't go into detail here. What came out of it for me is that I'm very happy to have some incredibly supportive friends who are intelligent, kind and funny. This was one of those situations that really bothered me initially, but now that some time has passed, it no longer seems like that big a deal. Some people are unkind and will say mean things, and, unfortunately, everyone has to occasionally deal with these kinds of individuals.

Of course, there are plenty of people who are lovely and sweet, full of kindness and sympathy. They are there when you need and listen to your worries without judging you, and they support you without running to gossip behind your back. The world is full of both good and not so good.

After watching a documentary, actually several, on different types of relationships, I'm starting to understand why I have been drawn to certain individuals and shy away from others. I know I'm vague posting here, but there are some things I haven't figured out how to comfortably share in this kind of medium. What's more important than spilling my guts, is realizing that I have started to see what I have given up by recreating patterns in my life that might be familiar but aren't healthy. Regrettably, I have the sense that I have missed a lot of opportunities, mostly due to fear. I can't really blame anyone else, but none of us live in a vacuum. Interactions with partners, coworkers, family, friends and even strangers can affect our behavior and how we view ourselves.  

This year, I have most definitely lived through a lot of loss and change. Going through big changes always provides an opportunity to reflect on life in general and on the self. The good news is that I now know I don't have to stay on the path I was on.  I want to start living more in the what is or what might be instead of the what was or what might have been, though some of those scenarios are hard to give up completely. Initially, I was feeling pretty shaky about testing out new directions, but I'm OK with being in the unsure stage right now, as long as I know I'm not going backward. In time, I hope some of the walls I have put up will begin to come down. In the meantime, I'm fine working on a new book with several other people, volunteering, working, jogging and continuing to raise awareness about eating disorder recovery and mental heath. 

In October, I will be participating in the Denver NEDA walk. If you would like to help me raise some money and awareness for the cause, please check out this link:  WALK

Also, I was recently a guest on a radio/podcast show "Voices for Change"  Rebecca and Joe were nice enough to interview me about my book and my journey. 

Life is like a radiohead video. It's interesting, bizarre, confusing and disturbing at times, but if you listen to the music, not just the words, it's beautiful in its own twisted way.

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