4.16.2010

Eating My Own Words for Lunch

Don’t you hate it when your own advice comes back to smack you in the face??


Yesterday, my cousin and fellow blogger, wrote a post about her desire to tell off a loved one who had vomited racist rhetoric onto her Facebook feed. Let me start by saying, I believe that my cousin’s anger was righteous. Hate is gross and contagious and should be confronted with Truth whenever possible. I applaud her desire to stand up for what she knows to be true. And after being asked for advice, I wrote her a note that was all Zen-y and challenged her to confront the “little one” who had offended her in love. Now, as true as I believe my advice to be, this morning I was faced with just how difficult it is to follow.

Seriously, it was like half a day later. It was not even 24 hours after I gave the advice that I was struggling to follow it myself.

Here’s the nitty gritty. I'm out in my yard, finishing planting my herb garden (which just between you and me is shaping up to be a horrendous failure) when I was greeted by a neighbor behind the GIANT bamboo fence. This wasn’t the neighbor that I told you about here but another woman who is living with that neighbor while Billy the Kid is working somewhere out of state. (Confused? Sorry, it isn't all that important.) Since this is the first time we’ve actually met, we’re sharing polite conversation about the neighborhood when she drops a bomb. “Well, I'm not racist but…” and then proceeds to spew some crap proving just the opposite to be true.

Let’s just say that at that moment (nor any moment since, actually), I was not in the mood to “love her.” I was not feeling all Zen and believing that she was a victim of generations of hatred that is “difficult to escape.” (I wrote that to my cousin…seriously.) All I was thinking was, “What a turd.”

So, here’s where the advice came back to haunt me. At that moment I wanted to politely end the conversation (which I quickly did) and scream from the rooftops, “Our neighbor is a BIGOT!!!!” (Which I'm coming dangerously close to doing both in this blog and via Facebook). It’s true that I had preconceived notions since she is living where she is living. Meaning, I didn’t enter the conversation neutral. Shame on me. It’s also true that I first became aware of her presence next door while she was gossiping LOUDLY on the deck about her friend’s STDs last week. (That is totally true… it was awful. We kept making noise to let her know we were outside and could hear every word she spoke, but the conversation just kept going and going. And look, I'm no prude - nor am I am unaccustomed to discussing STDs for goodness sakes, having worked in a pregnancy center for the past couple of years! But, generally those conversations are consensual. Awwwwwwwwwwwkward!) So, again, I didn’t enter the conversation neutral. I had an unfavorable opinion of her before we started talking this morning.  I was possibly even looking for evidence to support said opinion.  But, can we just make it a rule that if we have to preface a comment with, “Well, I'm not racist but…” we probably shouldn’t finish the sentence?? Geez Louise.

Anyway, back to me being a big hypocrite. I think the advice I gave my cousin IS good. I think it’s true that since we are all pretty much a mess, we need to be loving others through their own messes and not put on the snarky judgmental hat. Because, really that hat just says, “Your mess is worse than MY mess.” And I for one haven’t really found that to be true. It’s just that it is soooooooo hard to do that! It is so ridiculously hard for me to not believe that I am more enlightened or less icky than the people who offend me.

So, to my sweet, sweet cousin. I stand by the advice I gave you but would really like to know if or how you were able to follow it. Because, I'm not doing so great.

4 comments:

Olivia said...

Hey! I think you were quite mature just to get out of the conversation. Knowing my big mouth, I would've just made it worse by speaking without thinking!

angelonwheels said...

We are so much alike on issues like this. I hate when I forced to look at my own mess just at a moment, when I am quick to pass judgement, however accurate the judgement may be. It is a sign that we are growing and maturing though!

Lbeck said...

I am not sure if it is harder to "confront" a stranger or family member... I actually didn't take your advice, but only because I ended up feeling like I didn't need to. You can find the updated details on my original posting.

Rachael said...

Oh man, this was a really good post to read. I love your style. And your opinion.