Monday, January 10, 2011

Storytelling: Who cares?!

The assumptions people make, the games we play.  I'm mightily sick of them.  I'm tired of people who say and do duplicitous, hurtful things but in whose minds exchange their own agency and ownership for passive constructions, in which they are just poor, put-upon peons, subject to anyone's will but their own.  Life is something that happens to them.

"We were getting along fine until x happened..." Beware the passive construction! 

"We were getting along fine until I stalked you on the internet by pretending to be someone else, attempting to befriend your sister, etcetera..." Actually, beware my "etceteras," as well, for they contain a multitude of unexpressed sin.

You know the type of person;  You've had these conversations.

"I was getting by until I was out of work."  =  It sucks that I have no money since I quit my job.

"Christmas won't happen this year because I am so broke.  Excuse me while I use my cell phone, logon to my internet service, smoke a couple of cigarettes, and change the channel on my cable television..."

"I think A but some people say B so I could be wrong, except I don't think so.  Unless ImportantPerson C comes out with B, in which case I will weigh in after everyone else is done."

Stan Fields: What is the one most important thing our society needs?
Gracie Hart: That would be... harsher punishment for parole violators, Stan.
[crowd is silent]
Gracie Hart: And world peace!
[crowd cheers ecstatically]
Stan Fields: Isn't she lovely? Thank you, Gracie Lou.
Gracie Hart: And thank *you*, Stan.
--from Miss Congeniality

I tire, especially, of being informed every few months that my former internet stalker still tells the lie that we were best buds, that ours was a friendship of sunshine and flowers, plus various other untruths, including how she still cares {palm facing outward, attached to forehead, martyr style}.  You know, before I got all upset over a bunch of nothing much!   She also keeps coming up with annoyingly effective, manipulative formulas. Beating her frail chest with trembling hand, she'll say, "I don't hold grudges, I forgive everyone for everything!"  Well, first off, it just isn't true, and secondly, so what?

Her timely desire to claim Retrofitted Sainted Virgin Status does not translate to anything meaningful in my world.  I get that she aches for me and others to feel shame and regret for having treated her so badly (after things just happened, remember!) but, well, so what?

Remember, she suffers from two personality disorders, the most evident one being Borderline Personality Disorder, and the other explaining a good many of the persistent characteristics of her sad life -- Dependent Personality Disorder. I still have the email where she tells me her diagnoses but never pursued treatment for either... now she consistently denigrates anything that might relate to psychiatric treatment.  However, since her most difficult daughter was diagnosed as being bipolar, she will give psychiatry an approbative nod when it fits her emotional need for blame.

Yadda yadda.  So what!?

People love to opine, laying the index broadly aside the nose, that things happens for a reason.  Puh-leeze!  Need I lay out the many situations in which that can only confirm how totally fucked is the cosmos?
[I didn't think so.  Good, my Reader, good!]  Now, that is not to say that I don't believe there are things of benefit to be learned from most situations -- I simply won't allow the tragically nonsensical to be elevated.

Except, of course, when I do.

From the global false-friend turned annoying-stalker scenario above, I learned that there is a lot of validity to the notion that we create our own realities, that our situations are the direct result of our history of choices.

The good news, for me as for her, is that it is wonderfully easy to change that history, to bisect that line.  You change that history by your steady commitment to change.  The hope is that I can string a few days together, love that look, admire that record, and then make it one whole month.  It's like the AA version of self-improvement.  I just got my blue 24-hours chip

I haven't gotten there yet, because in my head right now I can hear a whining, wheedling voice saying another one of my least favorite expressions:  That's easy to say, hard to do.  If I could magically transform one mental habit for her as a "go-away" gift, it would be her understanding of change as some mysterious thing that is fundamentally retroactive.  If anyone were to suggest counseling or psychotherapy, the response includes "Why? I can't change the past and the past is what makes me who I am.  I can't change anything..."

It makes me want to pull my hair out.  And scream.
And, of course, it dovetails well with the understanding that she holds personal responsibilty in low esteem.

All together, now!  So what?

Huh?  What?  You think that I don't warm to my uncaring quite as much as I did at the top of the page?  Harrumph!  You think I weep for the children who [passively] inherent her most active teaching -- you might as well not try, you're doomed, and if you doubt it, just look where you came from, for that is forever where you will be [to keep me company...]?

Here is an offhand, almost final, observation -- I study stylistics as representing the basic character of a person.  Especially when that is all I know of someone, as is the case on the internet.  We all do it but I make a conscious choice to do it.  You should have seen my eyes light up the first time a teacher revealed how to parse a sentence.  Oy, the joy!

(On my honor, I will be receptive and not at all surprised should someone approach me to research why I consistently split infinitives, comma splice, misuse effect and affect, and litter my texts with hyphens.  Why, these things are the verbal topography of my emotional life!)

Hey!  You!  I know you are mouthing "So what?" -- knock it off and wait for your cue.  The point is to affect... er... effect nonchalance about her, not me!


So, anyway... I have learned that this woman telegraphs either a lie or a state of extreme fear/anxiety whenever she plops down four exclamation or interrogation marks at sentence end.  I've tested my hypothesis over the course of two years.  I even think that should the number rise or fall, be 3 or 5 marks in lieu of 4, then their semantic function no longer has to do with anxious fear.  How can this be explained?  It's an attention getter, I'd argue, a literal one, right on the page or computer screen, and the need for [caretaking] attention is a big part of who she is. 

Remember the finer points, though.  I don't wanna be in charge of translation should some bizarre heptad of punctuation marks pop up! 

She has another tell that comes into play with the phrase:  "I, for one, blahblahblah..." That's for those wind-in-the-hair moments of adolescent revolt -- perfectly normal, and assertive, even!  Until, that is, the sentence becomes interminable with the hangdog addition of "but I could be wrong... I usually am.  It's the story of my life."

I dunno.
I dunno.
I dunno.

So what?

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