Friday, May 21, 2010

I'm losing patience

It appears to me that I'm losing patience with people who oppose me or are critical of my views. I've been "nice" about to my limit.

Yesterday my friend, Betty, pointed out levels of decision-making, I suppose it was, that she's been reading about. She described three levels. There are visceral reactions of anger and the "fight or flight" mode, referred to as reptilian. Then there are reactions which can be filed under a more mammalian level, and love falls in that category. Finally, the highest level would be toward reason, and we couldn't figure out exactly what creature type that would be, but we still understood that the third level would be most desirable. Maybe a blue creature like the Na'vi of Avatar?

As hard as I've tried to stay within the two higher levels, where I use love and reason, sometimes I slip right into CHOMPING ALLIGATOR mode. It happened when someone turned ugly toward my daughter, who was defending an attack on her dad. I found it totally uncalled-for, and I lashed out. Wrong. It accomplished/accomplishes nothing at all, except to look reptilian.

It gets draining to always respond nicely. As much as I practice and lean on my spiritual connection, it still helps to have the support I get from people like Betty - who "get it." Even at my new job, I was brought to tears yesterday by a co-worker who "gets it" without me having to explain who I am or why I support those I support.

I get astounded by the patience of others who have worked so much longer than I have to bring understanding and build bridges between diverse communities! I feel like progress is coming, and I hope to goodness that I can help in the evolution toward understanding. I don't want to turn into a reptile!


Liz BR said...

After that same conversation you reference, I turned to my internet friends and asked them for their thoughts. "Make me feel better!" I said.

They had some really good points. Remember that you're not just having a conversation on FB for the person you're talking to, but for all of the people who read. And sure, you came across as angry, but it was justified anger. Anger at injustice. At someone being ABSURD. And there are people who will read that and see the way that his ignorant and cruel words come across -- enough to make a strong, compassionate woman exclaim, "That's enough! I've had enough!"

Sometimes the chomping alligator DOES have a purpose!

Shel said...

As Kermit the Frog sang, "It's not easy being green." Within my own family I have to tamp down anger and remember they're basically speaking from ignorance and unwillingness to accept the truth. It's hard but I just ask God for His help in dealing with all this.

Hang in there. We can make changes, but change is slow. But any step forward is... well... a step forward.


ohchicken said...

there's the reptilian snap snap anger response, and then there is the higher order: mamabear response.

i'm thinking your snappy response to the attack on your daughter falls into the latter category.

and i also happen to think it is healthy to actually get angry. yours is a righteous anger. and you often move past it. but don't ever discredit it, because it is so very valid.


Birdie said...

It was so great to see you again! The hours slip away.

I confess that I do not always have my anger under control. It does energize me into action, but I want to exemplify the grace which we seek for the LGBT community. Too often I fail. Spending time with fellow supporters such as you really strengthens me for dealing with the ignorance and hatred, which saps me.

There is a time for the "fight" response. My great challenge is to determine when that is.

hillsideslide said...

Sorry to hear that you & your family had to go another round with someone who was being mean.

Liz- great points.

I'm feeling similarly fed-up.

My friend is a teacher. She wants her school to offer benefits for gay employees. It will be an uphill battle (but a major school system nearby has done it, which is encouraging).

She was struck by the realization that her fellow union members would raise heck if a teacher didn't get their 15 min break every 3rd week.... so how would THEY feel & respond if their spouse and children were not covered under their insurance?!

The anger is justified.

We value fairness and justice.

When inequality & injustice are revealed, it's distressing.

When others, especially fellow Christians, are blind to an injustice that affects us and our families, it's disheartening.

Doorman-Priest said...

Just to repeat the others: anger is justified.

Why should ignorance - wilful ignorance - be treated with reasonableness and good humour?

I don't agree that it achieves nothing. If nothing else you get it off your chest and that person thinks twice about coming back and good riddance!

Anonymous said...

Just keep in mind that although this is your blog, you have posted it on a public forum and allow people to express their opinions through comments. If you don't want to hear how people feel, then deny them the opportunity to tell you.

Carol said...

8:39 Anonymous - The original reference was on Facebook, where mean things were said to my daughter. It wasn't connected to my blog. In all instances I try to be patient with disagreeing readers, and when I don't agree with someone who comments on MY blog, I don't post the comment. When someone took on my daughter, I responded.

Thanks for your input.

ginny said...

I've been missing your blog and I hope you're not going to stop sharing your thoughts with us. Maybe you're just on vacation but know you're missed.

Carol said...

Not stopping, just busy. I have a new job, had family reunion at my house, remodeling of the family room. Thanks for the note.


Steve F. said...

I'm glad you're mad - even as I admit that I hate when I allow others to make me feel mad.

Almost nothing has ever changed because people were nice. Recognizing injustice and cruelty often come with a feeling of anger. It's what gets people motivated - the whole "I'm mad as hell and I'm not taking it any more!" syndrome.

The reference to "mama bear" is also appropriate. My former professor, Tex Sample, wrote about his mother, her friend, and her friend's son. Tex's mother was about as red-neck country as you could get - but she took offense at Anita Bryant's anti-gay campaign.

Why? Because her dear friend's son was the very effeminate, very out gay hairdresser in town - and Tex's mom saw Ms. Bryant's campaign against gays as a campaign against her friend's son. As Tex wrote, "If you go after my mother or any of her people, you will have cut down more hay than you can put up in a month of Sundays."

To me, one of the crueler ways to attack a child is to attack their parents. And yet, so many "caring Christians" end up as playground bullies when it comes to GLBT folk.

Please give your daughter a "virtual hug" from all of us. (Now I just need to calm down, myself...)