as we are


Lately, I’ve been thinking about the ways people disappoint us. I’m not compiling some kind of asshole masterlist; I’m just considering it. Things have been odd, lately. Not hellfire bad, but certain things feel off. Certain people feel—or are—out of touch. Certain elements of life are strangely out of place. It’s like a puzzle you’ve completed a hundred times – but now you’re blindfolded and all the pieces are flipped over. It’s a lot harder to accomplish anything, to figure things out, when you can’t see.

Logical, right? Call me Captain Obvious! Or don’t. There’s only one captain, and his name is Mal. Oh, captain – my captain. *ahem* Moving on…

No one likes feeling as if they’re unimportant. As if they’re easy to be pushed to the side. No one likes being made to feel small. No one. Sometimes, on rare occasions, we allow people to trample all over us. The reasons are varied. We love someone. We are used to taking the blame. We make excuses. We think it’s a fluke. But it’s not. And we don’t put a foot down. We just accept it, because – hey, he/she doesn’t meant to do it.

But he/she doesn’t mean not to, either.

That’s the thing: if it’s a one-off instance, fine. Twice, okay. But if it’s habitual? Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Go straight to motherfrakkin’ relationship JAIL.

I realize that I’m making a number of wretched generalizations. I realize that there are reasons people do things – reasons that often have nothing to do with us and everything to do with them. But the truth is that no one likes feeling like second place, or like a consolation prize. Or like something that someone will get to when they get to it. On a whim. Whenever they feel like it. Because, yeah, that says, hey, my time is more important than yours. That says, I don’t care enough. Not, notice, that they don’t care. But that they don’t care enough.

To me, it seems that there are two kinds of people: those who don’t care enough and those who care too much. There’s really no middle ground, emotionally speaking. There are tricky people, sure – the ones who don’t SEEM to care too much, but it’s all just a cover for the gaping maw of feelings that is their heart. There are people who talk a good talk, but then it’s just useless, wind-bound words.

I suppose this begs the question of which is worse: caring too much or not giving a damn? For me, I’d rather feel a shit-ton of pain, cry, scream, rage, and wail – than not. I’d rather care too much than have a cold heart. Or not try. I’d rather fling myself into a figurative volcano. I’d rather a mad, beautiful moron – than a person made of bricks. I’d rather give chances than be unable to trust.

I’d rather say yes, instead of no. I’d rather pick up the phone, instead of letting it ring. I’d rather ask, than not know. I’d rather do the ridiculous, insane thing – instead of doing nothing. It occurs to me, lately, that I don’t know how to do anything by halves. There is no halfway. I don’t do reserved.

But other people do. And it’s hard, I think, to judge people differently than we judge ourselves. There’s an unfortunate sadness that comes with that kind of realization. We understand things as we are. We see them as we are (somewhere, Nin is scoffing at my bastardization of her quote). That is human nature.

But, to quote from Into the Woods, “nice is different than good.” And sometimes, it’s not enough to not MEAN to do something. Or not mean to make someone feel bad. You have to actively pay attention to how someone else might feel. Intention matters, yes. But actions, darlings…actions are how we judge the feelings we cannot quantify.

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