Wednesday, January 26, 2011

She Bugs the Right People

I think one of the hardest parts about life is getting used to the fact that some people just aren't going to like you. Everyone knows that someone doesn't like them. Maybe even someONES don't like you. You might know why or you might not. But some people just don't like you, friend.

You know how psychologists say there are 5 stages of grief? I think there are 5 stages of realizing-you-annoy-the-crap-out-of-someone. And I just finished going through them. Here they are.

1. Confusion.
Negative comments at weird intervals, offering up unsolicited criticism, going bonkers over your actions whilst ignoring others' actions... these can be quite bewildering coming from a fellow human being when you've know, punched them in the face or told them they have a gigantic nose or something before. This confusion can last a long, long time. Especially if you consider yourself to be quite delightful. (I am delightful, for instance.)

2. Rationalizing
When confusion spurs you to action, you may start to try to figure out exactly what you did to make this person so enraged at the sight of your delightful face. Did you talk about how totally rad the Backstreet Boys are when she camped out for two nights for 'N Sync tickets? Did you mention your loathing of of comically large hoop earrings the day before she was going to wear her gold ones? Did you step on her toe? If there's a reason, you'll find it. Or you'll invent one. ("I must remind her of a kid in grade school that gave her a gigantic wedgie," for instance. "And it appears she still has not dislodged the wedgie.")

3. The Conversation
If you're really brave, or you're really neurotic and you just can't take the tension anymore, (either one will work) you might make it to step 3. I would warn you against it, but you're going to do it anyway so I won't waste my breath. Step 3 is asking her for coffee, or stepping into her office and asking if you can close the door. (Closing the door means business.) Then you pour your heart out. "Did I step on your toe? Because I SO did not mean to!" The good part about this step is that if you really did offend her in some way, maybe she'll bring it to light and you all can put it behind you and go purse shopping. But if she is someone who dislikes you because of YOU, then this step will be frustratingly futile. She'll pour out her innocent heart and tell you how much she loves and appreciates and respects you and she just has no idea where you got the crazy notion that you make her want to punch the elderly. And you'll have gotten nowhere.

4. Anger
If step 3 doesn't go too well, you're on a very dark road, my friend. Now you're going to realize that you just can't figure this out. And it's going to make you angry. What the heck did you do to deserve such scorn? Why won't she admit that she can't stand you? And worst of all - if it's not for a rational reason, how on earth can you solve this issue between you? Step 4 is the worst. You could spend your whole life here, and I think some people do. But moving into step 5 is when you know you're growing up.

5. Acceptance
I know this is the same as step 5 for mourners, but it's not plagiarism. Because I thought of it, and THEN I realized it was the same step for mourners. (That's how you know). Anyway, step 5 is very, very important. Step 5 is when you have exhausted your investigative skills and you've strained your memory for any possible offense and you truly can't find any. You've even gone a little deeper, wondering if you have a problem with her and it's somehow coming out in your actions, unbeknownst to you. (As we say in HR - "everything communicates.") But in the end you realize something very important. She just doesn't like you. She just. doesn't. like. you. Something about the essence of you has her angry, jealous, annoyed, whatever.

This thought should be freeing to you. Because you're off the hook. But as it's freeing, it can be overwhelming as well. Why doesn't she like you? Aren't you so likeable? Didn't Mom tell you that you're the sun to her shine? You think you're pretty swell. Are you wrong? Does everyone hate you but you, and you're compounding your dumbness by missing that?

Get over that hump. Because you won't find a reason, and just like in step 2, you might invent some and start to believe them. And that's just not productive. For anyone.

Have a sigh, friends. Some people just aren't going to like you. Be OK with it. If you've searched your heart and you're living like you should be, take it as a compliment. Maybe something pure in your spirit is stirring something dark in hers, and it's uncomfortable. Maybe it's just old school jealousy. Maybe she's just old school COO-COO. (I may have some personal experience with this one. Right now.)

The other thing to appreciate when someone doesn't like you is the searching it made you do. Maybe God wanted you to take that opportunity to get to know yourself. When you take that hard proverbial look in the mirror and ask questions like "am I a snot? Am I disrespectful? Do I think I'm better than everyone else?" the answers can only help you become better. That kind of searching is a gift.

Here's the thing. Someone in my world doesn't like me. I annoy her. I make her angry. She doesn't like my clothes or my eating habits or the way I talk, or my confidence. And for a good long while I have dissected myself bit by bit, looking for anything and everything that might be driving her crazy. And I can't find a single thing (that I haven't changed by now) that warrants her specialized dislike. So now I think I'm ok with it. And I figure, anyone who would be as mean and direspectful to me as she is, is not someone I really care about liking me. (Please picture a confident storm-off here.)

And I'm reminded of a quote from the fabulously handsome Dennis Miller, when asked about Sarah Palin. (She's not one of my favorites...but it's for rational reasons. :) Anyway, here's Miller re Palin: "I like her. She bugs the right people."

Maybe I do too.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Here's What's Up.

I haven't written in a while. Part of that has been that we have been insanely busy (in a good way! December is always that way, it seems.) But another part is that I feel like every time I am inspired to write, it's because I'm feeling particularly bummed or melancholy, and I don't like that. It makes it seem like my whole life is melancholy. And it so is not! Maybe those kinds of days are just the ones where I feel more poetic.

Either way, I want to write tonight. I don't have a main point in mind. Just want to write. About what's going on lately in Baer world.

1. New Years and such
This year, my resolution is not to lose weight. We can talk about the magnitude of that one day, maybe. But probably not.

Anyway, I have two goals this year. The first is to find a play to be in. Over Christmas break, Mom and Dad took us to see "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" in Lakewood (Cleveland) and it was faaaabulous. ("Could you use a slave, you hairy bunch of Ishmaelites?") It made me want to hop on stage and make everyone look at me while I do funny things. That's generally what wish every day was like, but community theater is man's way of making that socially acceptable. So I plan to partake this year.

My (our) second goal this year is to research and hopefully find a long-term trip to start planning for. One of Aaron and I's goals for our life is to spend an extended amount of time in another country, helping out. What that looks like, we have no idea. And I do hesitate to make grand plans like that too far in advance, because that's just the sort of thing God likes to mess up to teach you a lesson. (Don't take that literally, but I kind of mean it.) Anyway, we are hoping after this year to at least have a goal in mind and a savings plan for it. Then, the idea is, after another 2 or 3 years in Phoenix, we will pack up, go on an adventure for a while, then come back to the states and 'settle down' a bit closer to my parents. :) I've started researching some orphanages in Uganda for the past three weeks, because we sponsor a sweet little dude in Kampala and would love to get to meet him, too. We'll see. I'll keep you all updated on our progress.

2. Books
Now I want to talk about "Atonement" and whatnot. One of the things I love the most about Christmas and the respite it promises every year is the stories I always finally have the time to delve into. One year I got the Bourne movies as presents and spent the entire break watching the Bourne Supremacy every night. (I used to be a big movie re-watcher. I'm sure there's some clever psychoanalysis you could get from that, but let's pocket that one for now.) Another year I was given Gladiator and the Gladiator soundtrack, and when I wasn't watching Russell Crowe nobly behead armies of stunt men, I was laying on my floor listening to sad flute songs, humming along.

This year, I finally finished the Hunger Games series. It shook me through and through, and you really should expect nothing less from a book. It was happy and sad and complicated and frightening and such a striking commentary on why humans only screw things up on their own - even when they think they're doing the opposite. READ it.

I also read "Atonement" by Ian McEwan and I had to sit with it for a week or so before I finally formed my opinion. And my opinion is a bit complicated. First, parts of it were dreadfully boring. Dreadfully. But I found myself completely unable to put it down, because his way of writing through a child's stream-of-consciousness is one of the most fun things I've ever read. It almost made me mad how much he knew me. But I was Briony. I really can't describe to you how much I was her. One afternoon in my childhood, and all it sounded and felt and looked like to me, WAS worth 150 pages. Just like Briony's. Even if it bores you.

We rented the movie at Blockbuster last night and I might start it tonight. I'm not quite sure, after reading it, how they plan to make a movie out of it, so it should be interesting. I convinced Aaron to watch it by showing him that Kiera Knightly was on the cover. Thanks, Kiera.

3. Old Journals
Aaron bought us new bookshelves this weekend, as he's been inspired lately to beef up our humble apartment. (He painted our living room too - it's a fabulous orange. So southwesterny. I adore it.) As I was shifting old books, bibles, journalism textbooks and planners that I just can't make myself through away from our old shelves to our new, I came across one of my favorite journals. It's the one I had my sophomore year in college. My roommates would recognize it in a heartbeat, I guarantee. It's a big spiral hardbound thing, with a french lady on the front in a fabulous hat. It says "Chic" right next to her. I got it because I was obsessing over the Cardigans that year (and always) and I thought Nina, the lead singer, was so "chic." So that was my word of the year.

Anyway, that journal truly includes the very beginning of Aaron and I. And it was so much fun reading about some of the sweet, confusing things I had forgotten about. How he showed up to one of my shows at a coffee house in a "stupid backwards hat" and offered to buy me a coffee when I had told him to stay away from me until he decided what he wanted to do with his girlfriend back home who he was on a 'break' with. How he seemed so strangely infatuated with me and I almost counted that against him - I was such a nerd; how could I like someone who would have liked me? But what a guy he was, and is. He totally swept me away. I'm so glad I have that journal.

It was weird, reading that, then looking over and seeing this gorgeous guy put the finishing orange touches on our walls. Could he be the same guy? He's not as confusing, or mysterious to me anymore. But strangely, I don't miss that. Now he looks like home. And that's even better.

4. Limbo
Now, this is where I'm going to get melancholy, I guess. Oh well. Take it with a grain of salt.

If you don't read Kate Andre's blog, you simply must. She is so lovely. I've been reading it for a long time now. She's an Ohio kindred spirit, if she doesn't mind me calling her that. Today I read her sweet new entry and found out that she and her new husband are expecting. I'm so happy for her!

And here's where you all are going to laugh at me. Seeing that news made me feel weird. All of my friends, including Aaron, will not hesitate to describe to you how inexplicably terrified of having children I am. I can't even think about it. Now I think that one day, maybe in 10 years or so, Aaron and I will want to grow our family a bit. But right now? HECK no. Don't get me wrong - if God gives us children, we will love them and trust Him. We knew we'd have to be ok with that when we got married. But we are most definitely not trying for that just yet.

BUT. Kate's news made me sigh. And I can't figure out what that means. I almost felt a little...jealous. What a thing she's doing, being a mother. What am I doing? It made me feel like I'm in limbo a bit. Is it wrong to not have kids yet; or to not be trying to have them? Is that what you're supposed to do when you get married? Are we accomplishing anything, or are we being selfish?

Some of those questions I already know the answer to; it's just that that's what went through my mind upon hearing Kate's news. Other friends of mine have had children very recently as well - some of our best friends Kristina and Anthony had little Sophia a few months ago, a friend from home, Becca, had her sweet little Selah in December. And what am I doing? Am I doing nothing?

I said before that you'd laugh at me, and I imagine you are. Here I am, perhaps the person most terrified of children on the planet, stomping her feet because she feels left out. I don't know what that means.

Briony would.

Oh well. Just wanted to get all of that off my chest. I certainly hope God doesn't think this would be a funny time to send us a child. That joke wouldn't land, Big Guy. Come on now.

Ok, now I'm sitting her in the quiet, on our comfy couch bundled in my new pajamas, with a hot chocolate surrounded by orangey, sunsetty walls. Even with limbo and travel plans and baby fear running through my heart, I can't help but be joyful.

Here's to a good week!