Words

Since the Thing happened last Tuesday, I have gone through a huge host of emotions, none of them positive. While the processing will continue, I’m sure, for years, I’ve also been have many thoughts. A seemingly-unending stream of thoughts related to “How did this happen?,” “What can we do?,” “What is my role?,” and “What is it that people don’t get??” I’ve been talking to people, reading articles, listening to podcasts and NPR, and observing (and occasionally partaking in) Facebook arguments. All of these sources have posed important questions and points of reflection. Inevitably, there is much work to be done. I am going to try to address these things in writing. Whether I do it here, or on my Reflections blog, or on my official blog, I’m not sure yet. I foretell I will write a bit in each space. And while I relish the opportunity, I also am afraid. Because words and ideas have a tendency to whip me into a frenzy, but even as I articulate them, I feel a sense of powerlessless. I believe, whole-heartedly, that the articulation of ideas is the most powerful force in the world, and that it was the mishandling of words that has led us to this moment in history; and yet, there is the problem of finding an audience. I have heard so many well-articulated arguments, but if the right people aren’t listening, if the conditions for reception are not right, then those words are wasted. And I am afraid that my words, my effort, my fear and rage and disgust and outrage, are just another drop of sound in a vacuum.So I have held myself back so far, compiling a list in my head of topics to address, but staying silent. But I need to be brave, and I need to be smart. I need to find a way to amplify my ideas, or the ideas of other smart people. Meanwhile, I want to keep my list of topics, so they don’t continue to slip from my mind forever.

Continue reading “Words”

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The daily to-do: Thursday July 21 (recap)

Well, yesterday was the day that got away.

I had plans, you see. Real plans. But I got a phone call while I was eating breakfast from an old family friend, saying she was in town and wanting to see me today (yesterday). I didn’t really have a choice, since I didn’t really have anything planned (no appointments or deadlines, I mean, nothing that couldn’t be rearranged), so it was either rearrange my schedule and scramble to get ready, or seem to be a dick and tell her no (I can’t lie in those situations. I just can’t). So all that cleaning I’ve been putting off? I had to do it in a fucking hurry. And she was supposed to call me to give me a head’s-up when she was about an hour or so away, which I was counting on so I could finish whatever I was cleaning and go ahead and shower at that point, so I kept checking my phone for missed calls every 5 minutes, and I got my period yesterday morning right about at the time she called (it’s always unexpected for me, and the first day of my period is always THE WORST — like, call out of work sick kind of worst, if I had a job, which I don’t, and I can’t call out of home-visits sick because of my period. I should be able to, but that’s just not “done”), and I had a whole bunch of garlic and Brussels sprouts for breakfast, which (especially combined with menstruation) was really doing a number on my digestive system as I was running around sweating and cleaning, on my hands and knees scrubbing, etc. I was soooo stressed and unhappy. And to top it all off, she failed to call ahead to let me know she was on her way, so while I’m scouring the kitchen sink, I look up to see her car in the driveway. Me? Unshowered. Stinky and gross. Wearing the old clothes I had been cleaning in, with no bra. I let her in the house and went to spit (I was also in the middle of brushing my teeth: what? I multi-task), and said I had planned to change (and didn’t say also, to shower), but she prevented me from doing ANY of that, saying that she couldn’t stay long. So…I was out of sorts, but trying not to be. It was an odd visit. She stayed for maybe 2 hours max, and I was physically uncomfortable through all of it.

At least I got my house clean.

Here’s the recap of the list: Continue reading “The daily to-do: Thursday July 21 (recap)”

The daily to-do: Wednesday July 20

Aiyah I can’t believe it’s already the 20th of July. Where is this year going??? Other than “to hell,” I mean. *dark humor eyeroll*

This morning has been interesting so far. Got to sleep in a bit, because Bear was working from home today so that we could go to our 10:10 and 10:50 appointments to sign up for TSA Pre-√. Yeah. $85 and a few questions and I get to whizz through the security line…whatever. I’ll take it. Our plan was to have sushi afterwards, but the appointments took so little time that it was only 10:30 by the time we were both done, so instead we just came home. I then got into a conversation with the stupid person of the two people I’m working most closely with in this NGO. I cannot even begin to summarize here. I would, but it’s a long story and I already vented to Bear and to my Pocas, so I’m pretty much over it now. Suffice it to say, more of the same bullshit. If shit doesn’t get resolved soon and satisfactorily, I’m going to lay it all out before the founder/director, and perhaps quit if that doesn’t change things. Because these people are fucked, seriously. They have NO communication skills. If their communication skills were a game of baseball, everything would be a foul ball. Unfortunately, there is no referee, and I’m apparently the only one with the critical ability to see what’s going on, but no one sees that I’m the one who sees, and so they all just talk around each other and everything is shit and my particular input is not really considered.

So anyway, after discussion with her for awhile, and subsequent raging and venting, I have finally calmed down a bit. Things on the list:

Continue reading “The daily to-do: Wednesday July 20”

The daily to-do: Tuesday July 19

And first, a side-note. I usually don’t write about much outside the immediately personal on this page, since I have my public-facing blog for more structured posts, but I don’t feel like messing around with that today, and yet I have to say: plagiarism is a thing. A real, serious, thing. As a former college professor of writing and rhetoric, I will be the first to admit that the rules of plagiarism, what constitutes plagiarism, and even the concept of plagiarism itself can be a bit fuzzy: depending on medium, context, intention, and country, among other things, the line between plagiarism and not-plagiarism can be blurred. But THIS is not one of those cases. This is about as clear-cut a case of plagiarism as I have ever seen, and I’ve had a student plagiarize me. And the fact that those fucking Trdumps won’t even fucking admit it is SO OFFENSIVE, which is a redundant thing to complain about, considering all the heinous, disgusting, stinky things that have come out of Trump’s face-hole. Whether or not Melania plagiarized from Michelle Obama’s speech is NOT a question – there is no doubt, no politically-dependent interpretation of the data, no two ways of looking at the matter. There is only fact. The speech is plagiarized. (And as this author points out, regardless of the plagiarism, the similarity between Michelle’s sentiments and “Melania’s sentiments” should already be a point against the latter, considering how anti-Obama they are). But of course, as Trump’s (and many conservatives’, generally, if we’re being honest here *cough*climate change for one*cough*) modus operandi dictates, he blithely makes statements that are counter to fact (see: lies), and he just doesn’t care. As Matt Sienkiewicz, an assistant professor at Boston College, says in the USA Today article linked above, “The Trump campaign (is) putting something right in front of our faces and telling us it’s not there. To me the message is something along the lines of them believing they can simply shape reality in the image they want it to.”  This has been his strategy all along, and the most horrible part about it is that it is working. His fans don’t seem to care one whit what he says, as long as he says it loudly and stupidly.  So there we go. Another grain of sand in the miles of beach of Trump’s lies. (A beach of lies next to a Trump resort of lies. These are expensive lies, after all).

Meanwhile, today. I haven’t done any non-profit work, and I have been trying to not think of it. Just focusing on getting my own stuff done today, and so far it’s been really nice. The list:

Continue reading “The daily to-do: Tuesday July 19”

The daily to-do: Thursday July 14

My fucking god. I’m not ambivalent about my anger toward these non-profit people anymore. Like, yesterday morning I was feeling like my temper was maybe not justified, and I was concerned that maybe the problem is just me and I need to control myself more and be more flexible, but no. My interactions with people this afternoon have just totally confirmed that the problem is them, not me.

Yesterday I did manage to stop thinking about things, and, though I had a huge cry and wave of hopelessness and feeling truly terrible about myself (and this after my daily to-do post), I connected with my Pocas and that interaction really helped me calm down and gain some perspective. Even though we didn’t talk specifically about my problems. After that, I had a pretty peaceful and relaxing day in which I didn’t work, didn’t think about, work, and felt absolutely no guilt. I even managed to not feel weighed-down by the fact that I knew I had promised to do a fair amount of work today (Thursday). And last night, Bear and I only relaxed, and it was gooood.

So this morning, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work on researching and writing the content that we had discussed yesterday morning. I worked on it for about 4 hours, until I got a message from the person who had “assigned” me the task. She has access to the document I’m editing, and she had observed my progress, and, basically, she wanted to know why I was working on this thing rather than on this other thing. I instantly felt a cold fury: seriously, my temperature and vision and hearing all seemed to alter, and I started shaking. Without getting into details, yesterday’s blowout was a result of the fact that apparently the work I did yesterday morning was not what they were looking for. And yesterday’s work was the result of an earlier “conversation” where PREVIOUS work I had done (on Monday) was apparently not what they were looking for. So to be clear, they fucking suck at communicating what they want, and they give the impression of wanting me to be creative and “come up with stuff,” but if it’s not what they want, it’s not what they want. They are not clear about what they do want, and when I have tried to get them to nail it down more specifically, apparently either I interpret this too strictly (and, you know, “they just kind of hoped I would have come up with something more interesting”), or the ambiguity leads me to do something entirely different from what they had been thinking — even though I am able to DIRECTLY QUOTE THEM asking for the thing that I did (which is what happened this morning). So her question about why I was working on this document, rather than this other document, came unexpectedly, to say the least. And this is after hours of working hard. So I fucking lost it. By that, I don’t mean that I just started cursing or ragequit or anything, but I did not mince words in laying out 1) what her words were that led me to believe I was supposed to be working on this, 2) the ambiguousness of simply pointing me toward an info-packed webpage and being told to make it “like that,” especially when her words (#1) caused me to interpret one thing, rather than another thing, from that webpage, and 3) most importantly, how totally unhelpful all their feedback so far has been. I was like, “Useful feedback would have been if you saw this spreadsheet and said, ‘we like what you have so far, but could you add more x’ rather than just signifying your discontent but not specifying why, and then, rather than building off of the existing content I had created, showed me a website and telling me to make it like that.” Okay, those were not my exact words, but you get the idea. Anyway, I could tell she was annoyed or something, and she was like “yeah, electronic communication is not the best,” but that just doesn’t cover it. Electronic communication CAN work, but you have to actually READ, and THINK about the communication: it demands a level of respect toward the other party, that they are communicating something worthwhile and that you should try to see what they’re saying before you go and assume they’re wrong or that they didn’t put thought or effort into the product. I have seen NO EVIDENCE of that from either of the parties that I’m working closely with. Meanwhile, I did make concessions toward friendliness, but I drew the line at apologizing. She never really apologized either, but the thing is, I WORKED HARD (not just today, but many many hours this whole week!) towards vague goals, and despite the absence of ANY useful feedback, I have endeavored over and over again to try to come up with what I think is what they’re looking for – like throwing darts into a deep dark cave hoping to hit a dartboard that may or may not be inside. And yet my impulse is to apologize: to be sorry for the miscommunication, sorry that I’ve had to communicate my displeasure, sorry that I haven’t magically produced the content that will finally turn them on. But NONE of that stuff was my fault, and, in fact, it was THEIR fault, and so I refrained from the apology that was wanting to dive off the tip of my tongue.

Meanwhile, after she and I both decided to be done for the day and connect again tomorrow, the other person messaged me with some random questions. At this point, I was at relative peace, having stated my case and come to a relatively friendly goodbye, so I was willing to engage with this other person, with whom I have had no beef today, over an unrelated topic. Things went well at first, but then she asked about the very thing that I was working on today, except, SURPRISE! she is wanting to know if I could come up with something very like the thing that I was working on today. So, two things came from this interaction: 1) the obvious fact that there are too many cooks in the kitchen; not only am I receiving conflicting and ambiguous instructions from single persons, but I am receiving instructions from multiple persons, and their instructions conflict and contradict one another. 2) I gained straightforward evidence to support my previous complaint that they both, and this person in particular, TALKS BUT DOES NOT LISTEN. In an especially annoying way that seems to presume I am stupid or something, when (sorry…but) clearly she is the stupid one. After she brought up the possibility of this content, I told her that such content DOES exist, that in fact I have been working on it today and that, after some miscommunication between me and the other person, me and that person were going to discuss it and work on it further tomorrow. THEN I shared the document with her (which causes an email to be sent to her), and said “I just shared the document with you.” She took that to mean that I was referring to another, totally different document, that obviously I know she has access to, because we had been discussing her edits to it. She then continued to talk over me, taking great pains (even pasting in some images) to illustrate the type of content she was talking about, while I continued to protest that I have been working on that content all day, as I already said over and over, and I just shared it with her! At one point I just stared, jaw agape, as she continued to type and paste more things, and I didn’t know what to do. I tried all versions of “Yes, see above,” and “Yes, as I said, we I have been working on this,” “Yes, I shared this document with you, you should have gotten an email,” and “^^^^^^^.” Not until I pasted the link to the document into the conversation did she finally stop talking and actually look at what I was talking about. The she was like “LOL oh, now I see what you mean! No wonder the confusion.” >.> I was like “hehe.” Not amused. Anyway. These fucking people, man. At least I know it’s them, not me.

Now it’s freaking late. I didn’t make a list until now, because some days I dominate the list, and some days the list dominates me, and I knew today would have been the latter type of day. That being said, I will still put the bare minimum here:

Continue reading “The daily to-do: Thursday July 14”