The Favor of Spitting Directly Into My Face

No one does bitter like Van the Man.

Some compliments take time and discernment to understand and accept. One of those came my way recently and I just now got it.

For the last five years, I was heavily involved in the governance of an organization, and I had one thing I desperately wanted to pursue. I’d made a fairly detailed plan for doing it and kept getting told “No.” No discussion, no communication, just crickets till the final public “No”.

Now that I no longer have any influence in the organization, my plan is being put into action, sort of. The content of it is now either watered down or replaced with something lesser, but the structure is mostly the same.

At first, this hurt, and it still does some, but this weekend, I came to the realization there was a compliment in there. I wasn’t being simply ignored or blown off. People were waiting to override my values with theirs and follow my tactical plans for their purposes.

On the one hand, that’s not a very nice way to treat someone. On the other hand, it’s recognition (of a sort) of my hard intellectual labor.

What brought this home was a request that I go out and gather information about one of these project to other folks so they can make decisions about it. I’m sure that was meant well, but it felt like catching a load of spit in the face. Know your place, Johnnie.

This is the sort of unthinking disrespect that nice people show to people who, like me, aren’t–let’s face facts now–all that nice. It’s especially hard on me, because I’m trying to be good, which is a hell of a lot harder than nice and a hell of a lot better to boot.

And so I’m doing it. People, nice and otherwise, are shaped by their upbringing and their surroundings, and when you upset their environment, they react to it. Kind of human, just like me. That’s no excuse for me not to put my effort into a good cause.

And if I’m so damned good my own self, then it’s my job to try to communicate over the differences. If I’m the only one who sees them, then I have to make them more visible. If that upsets people, you can’t blame them for it. You have to learn to deal with them.

No one does transcendence and new beginnings like Van the Man.

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