Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Taking responsibility

I firmly believe the following:

There are two parts to how we experience what someone says or does to us. The first part is what they actually do—it’s their action, and it is separate from their intent, which we can’t know (unless they tell us). The second part is our interpretation of that action, which is based upon all of our experiences up to this point—every single thing that ever happened to us, everything we think we know.

You’ll have a gut reaction based on all of that, but you can stop there and think it through, and see how your experiences have shaped your interpretation. So when someone says something that hurts you, you can choose to believe the worst, that they wanted to hurt you, or you can be more generous with your interpretation, and believe that they clumsily tried to be kind or neutral, and just got it wrong. And, by 'wrong', I mean wrong for you—because how you react will be different from how others react.

In a healthy relationship, you trust the other party, so you believe the best of them, and don’t assume they want to hurt you. And, if they don’t want to hurt you, then it should be safe to assume that they will want to understand how their innocent actions did unintentionally hurt you, so they can avoid hurting you in future. And it should be safe to assume that they will eliminate or at least reduce the hurtful behaviour, for the same reason. So long as you continue to recognise that it’s as much about your interpretation as their action, they should continue to be responsive to your constructive feedback.

Anything else—any unwillingness to change, any hint of choosing to see the worst in each other, any tendency to dismiss their feelings as unwarranted, any attempts to actually blame them for your feelings…or any ongoing lack of response to your requests to change such behaviours—is unhealthy.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

I object

And you complained to me that I’d ruined your dreams
and that your last memory of us would be of raised voices,
of my screaming at you in rage.

I object, because I had no voice that night.
But moreso,

I object, because my last memory of us is one of clenched fists,
of the cords in your neck, your tight jaw,
the pulse at your temple.
The hate on your face, and
the acid words you spat so clumsily at mine,
'Don’t think I won’t hit you just because you’re a girl.'




About this piece

Rather than taking responsibility for their actions, many domestic violence perpetrators lay blame on their victims, accusing them of deliberately provoking them to attack or even of lashing out first so the perpetrator had to act in self-defence. Some perpetrators seek Domestic Violence Orders in response to the victim's DVO application and, because they are charming and unflappable narcissists, they often get away with it. 

I call you on your bullshit. I object.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Life, too, is temporary

(Cross-posted from Running for the love of it.)

Last night I heard the news of a friend's death. It hit me hard; I felt stunned and disoriented, as if I'd been sucker punched by a stranger on the street. The news had gone around earlier in the day on Facebook, but I'd been busy and focused at work, and I'd completely missed it.

So the first I heard of it was while I sat waiting for my enchilada at Guzman y Gomez, nibbling on jalapeƱos and sipping a frozen margarita, and flicking away from a rather frustrating Skype conversation with some developers. Messages in his memory flooded my stream; I sent a few messages back and forth with some friends and then wandered around the CBD in a daze, struggling to come up with what a few hours earlier had seemed like a very simple public transport plan.

Roger was a permanent feature at Glasshouse events, and several other events in Australia. He was very much a part of my extended running family. He was a quirky runner—everyone had heard of his shirt-in-the-bucket trick—and humble, too. Many of us expected him to pass us (or just be ahead from start to finish) but he never made a fuss about it.

I'm generally pretty good at letting go of things. I dropped my bike the other day and I'm spewing to have damaged it, but ultimately I recognise that it's just a bike, a thing. Its perfect condition was only ever going to be temporary.

I am reminded that life, too, is temporary.

I am reminded that there is no guarantee of tomorrow. There is no guarantee of later today. There is only now.

If I want the important people in my life to know I love them, there is only now.

If I want to run another beautiful step, there is only now.

If I want to eat a scoop of gelato, even though it's 9 p.m. on a cold, windy night in Brisbane, there is only now—which I like to think is why so many people were queued up last night to do exactly that.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Sometimes the ugliness

breaks my heart.
Other times my heart is broken
by a beauty so complete
it overwhelms me:
love.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

It's not you, it's me

I used to think you were awesome.

Then I realised: the only thing awesome about you was me.

Now the awesome part of you is gone.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

No regrets

You said life is full of one-time offers. I disagreed, but you were busy, so I did not explain. I will now:

Life is not full of one-time offers, nor is it full of ongoing offers.

Offers are rare and, when they come, they often distract us from what we really want.

It’s not just a matter of seizing each opportunity as it arises. It’s not that simple. We also need to ask: what future opportunity is closed to us by the act of seizing this one? What can not happen if I make this happen? What can happen if I don’t?

Live with no regrets.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Never After (a snippet)

And when the alarm went off, she lay there in his arms, unwilling to leave his shelter, unable to move, unprepared to say goodbye.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Go

You ain't replying,
so I'm figuring: maybe
I should quit trying.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Opportunity

I held the door for you for a very long time
but you never walked through it.
Now that I’m closing it,
you’ve jammed your foot in the bottom,
but you still won’t step through.

I won’t slam it, won’t break your toes.
I never needed to close that door anyway.
I just needed to go through the next one.

Stalker?

I looked through your Facebook photos but
I think that’s okay because you said
you looked through mine and you thought
I looked pretty in a dress.

I felt a longing and I thought maybe it was
love, maybe jealousy or maybe some kind of
desire. But then I realised I was
inspired.

I want my life to be not scary, but
exhilarating, the way speed became
thrilling after you took me down that
black run.


Monday, January 13, 2014

To Say

'I love you like a sister' may have meant
I love you like my own 
flesh and blood, 
or it may have meant
I was too scared to acknowledge that
I loved you to the edge of the earth
and back. Only when I got to the edge I saw 
I had already come 
full circle and I loved you
like a sister.


Tuesday, January 07, 2014

If it is

As I drove away, I thought
     if it is meant to be, it will be.
And I sat in the fading sunlight and cried
at the idea it was not meant to be.

As I ran through the dust, I thought
     if it is to be, it is up to me.
And I accepted the painful end
as a new opportunity.

As it all drew to a close,
as my panic rose, I thought
     if it is to be, it is up to me.
And so I drove, day and night
through unfamiliar lands, 
through winds and snow,
just to see.

As I drove away, I thought
     if it is meant to be, it will be.
There is no more I can do—
out of my hands, it is
no longer up to me.