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On the other hand... - Many a mickle maks a muckle

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June 17th, 2003


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03:07 pm - On the other hand...
Despite the many wonderful things which took place at punt!t00bage, there were large parts of it where I was not a completely happy bunny. This was for different reasons to the usual, and so interesting. I derive a considerable part of my self-esteem and self-respect from considering myself to be someone who knows how to behave well and generally does so. Now defining "behave well" is an interesting topic in itself, but not for right now. There were parts of punt!t00bage weekend where I was not proud of, or impressed with, my own behaviour. I thought I had worked out how to conduct myself in group situations like this and I thought that I had become sufficiently comfortable with sufficiently many of the people there to be comfortable in the circumstances, but apparently not.

Now I wasn't a total git all weekend (...or was I? Maybe it's not my place to say!) and there were a few places where I did try to go out of my way to behave considerately and constructively, but there were also more than a few things I did of which I was not proud and which I thought I had taught myself not to do. If you think you know what I'm referring to then you're right, but only in part; only I know all my transgressions and that's the way I'd like it to stay. Now if you didn't see them and you thought that my behaviour all weekend was fine, that's fair enough, but at the end of the day it's my opinion of my own behaviour that matters to me - and it definitely wasn't what I'd like it to have been. Being well-behaved isn't about being well-behaved most of the time, it's about (a) being well-behaved all of the time and about (b) never being ill-behaved.

One incident deserves singling out as being different to the others. At one point, I made a very thoughtless remark of the type "I don't like Y", which seriously offended some of the people present. (I won't compound the error and/or embarrass by repeating what Y was.) It was a generalisation, and - as most generalisations - not completely correct, though certainly an accurate generalisation of my position. However, it was a closed-minded, immature and bigoted comment to make; I apologise for making it and for the offence I caused. You might remember the discussion about people who say "I don't like slash"; many concluded that was a closed-minded attitude and it would not be unreasonable to transfer that closed-mindedness and the contempt they deserve as a result to me for my counterpart attitude, though in a rather different context. Clearly I have much to learn about balancing tact, tactlessness and honesty.

Now the interesting thing here is that I didn't recognise this as being an offensive comment at the time when I made it, so I was rather knocked sideways to hear that it had caused offence. Still, hopefully I live and learn and will aim not to make that mistake again in the future. I also need to think about the general sort of technique to avoid.

That was the only mistake of that sort, though, to my knowledge. Many of the other things I did wrong were bad in a different way - I knew they were less kind than they could be before I did them, so I was not being inconsiderate but rather malconsiderate. (Again, I'll not compound the errors by going into detail.) On top of that, there have been a few occasions at punt!t00bage, at previous t00bages and over the past few months where I've done apparently kind things but with dishonest and dishonourable motives. I'll not go into details, because I'm not looking for absolution in a strange sort of confession but there have been more times than I'd like when I really haven't been impressed with my own behaviour. This weekend featured several of them. Let's just say that in hindsight, I made so many comments and displayed so many attitudes which were smart-assed, disrespectful or snobbish that if I hadn't been me, I'd probably have slapped me.

So, in conclusion, as well as the rule of "You can't judge what people are going to be like in person from how they are in their LiveJournal" - which I often failed to apply - I have now also induced a rule of "Just because people are happy joking about things in their LiveJournal doesn't necessarily mean that they'll be happy joking about things in real life." If I keep repeating these messages to myself frequently enough then maybe they'll eventually sink in.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, partly as an explanation why I didn't enjoy this weekend nearly as much as I ought to have done and partly to explain why I may be a lot more negative about participation in similar things in the future. We'll see. I can only apologise and demonstrate the sincerity of my apology by not repeating the same mistakes in the future. Mostly this will involve shutting the hell up a lot more, even at the risk of never seeming to have things to say and at the risk of letting my viewpoint go unsaid.

I'm explicitly not looking for "Don't worry about it, you were OK" replies here, for public forgiveness or for a blow-by-blow bitchfest about individual incidents, but it's your reply box to fill as you will - and turning replies off here would be a cop-out.
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
Current Music: from the old "Z-Out" computer game on the Amiga

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


From:oddree
Date:June 17th, 2003 07:29 am (UTC)

weekend

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this will involve shutting the hell up a lot more, even at the risk of never seeming to have things to say and at the risk of letting my viewpoint go unsaid.

I have no interest in the details--all I want to say is that it would be an awful shame if you did hold back and refuse to share your viewpoints. I think it is much healthier to communicate and to speak your mind--it's much more honest. Better to occasionally say things that make you look and feel like a dick than to refrain from sharing your opinion just in case. And, after all, what are friends for if not for understanding this sort of thing?

Hugs anyway and I'm sorry I couldn't be there,
oddree
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From:karen2205
Date:June 17th, 2003 07:33 am (UTC)
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You made some mistakes - fine, we all do that every now and then. Just use them as something to learn from - something I think you're well on your way to doing with this entry.
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From:mhw
Date:June 17th, 2003 09:14 am (UTC)
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I'm sorry that whatever happened happened - either I wasn't there to notice, or I failed to notice. I'm also sorry to realise now that you weren't having a wholly spiffy time; if I had I'd have tried to help and/or be supportive.

Nobody's perfect. We all fuck up one time or another. Good people, in my book, realise what they did, fix what they can, and resolve to do better in future. You're a good guy, Chris. Don't cut yourself out of our lives from mortification. For myself, I'm glad you were there, I enjoyed your company, and I'm looking forward to seeing you again.
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From:xnera
Date:June 17th, 2003 10:14 am (UTC)

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Not everyone has the fortitude of character to (a) admit they behaved wrongly; and (b) be concerned about fixing such behavior in the future. I like being around people who believe in personal growth. I've ended two relationships because I was growing and changing, and the other person was not. Kudos to you.

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From:verlaine
Date:June 17th, 2003 11:02 am (UTC)
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I can't see what could ever be wrong with saying "I don't like y" per se. "Anyone who likes y is an idiot", yes, well out of order, but I would absolutely reserve the right to articulate my own dislike of something. I consider it a basic and fundamental prerogative.

This is perhaps why I am at the bottom of so many people's recent LJ-compatibility lists, of course... :)
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From:sophie10
Date:June 17th, 2003 03:15 pm (UTC)

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Sorry for keeping you awake on Friday, it was inconsiderate.
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From:kazzik
Date:June 18th, 2003 01:00 pm (UTC)
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ditts on the apology

I am sorry also
From:expetesso
Date:June 17th, 2003 09:45 pm (UTC)
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Hmmm... unlike my recent spate of posts to you, I'll try to be brief. ;)

I commisserate about finding out you haven't learned lessons that you thought you'd taught yourself quite well. Though my lessons are quite different, I think, the frustrations seem similar. Again, you've impressed me with your frankness to admitting this unhappiness with yourself publicly (or semi-so, anyway), and your honest desire to change and grow and improve as a person. That's just such a rare and wonderful quality in people in general; there aren't many who embrace the mental pain/discomfort it engenders willingly.

If you're afraid of this happening at the next fandom get together (Nimbus, as far as I can tell from what I know of your schedule), why not talk about it? With others present, I mean. *Raises hand as volunteer* Just, whatever you do, don't "shut... the hell up" to the point of not sharing any of your thoughts. "When man ceases to err, he has ceased to breathe air." And (s)he's also finished growing.

I also agree with verlaine's comment too. At some point, whether its "acceptable" or not, others must accept that everyone has a right to dis/like x, y, z, or the complete and damned alphabet. At some point, the individual definitions of "dis/like" just deteriorate and we have to accept that we don't all think/feel exactly the same way. If in this particular instance you think there's some attitude/thought/mode of expression of yours which should be altered for your sake -- which it seems that you do -- then by all means work at it. But if you're simply trying to be generally more PC, or more mild-mannered about sometihng for the comfort of others, when you don't honestly feel that way, stick to your guns.

Well, i tried for brevity...
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From:hermorrine
Date:June 18th, 2003 11:24 am (UTC)
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If you want to talk about this, you know where to find me. I'm certainly not going to go into it here.
From:songmonk
Date:June 19th, 2003 12:28 am (UTC)

Hm

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Hm, I only just read this post just now. I have to say, without you having gone into specifics, the type of things you did rang true at some level with me.

I'm not sure how I can say this with you giving so few details, but I think I am guilty many times over of the transgressions that you made.

That said, I'm going to ask that you step back a second and make sure you view things objectively. I don't say this simply to make you feel better, but because I think it can be detrimental for you to be *more* harsh on yourself than you deserve.

Once again, it's difficult for me to know since I wasn't there and you want to withhold specifics, but I have trouble believing that you were *quite* as grossly out-of-line as you make yourself out to be. The fact that "I don't like Y" set off such a negative reaction -- yes, to some degree that can be anticipated if you think about what you are saying and you think about your audience, but obviously the solution is not to stay silent, but to be more considerate of what you are saying and who you are speaking to. As for the other things, I'm really not sure...you say you knew they were inappropriate things to say/do, but you did them anywhere. I don't claim to know you that well, but I just have a hard time seeing you actually be malicious...thoughtless, yes...inconsiderate, occasionally...angered, possibly (though that's hard to see as well). But I can only go on what you say.

In any case, I think you know darn well "shutting the hell up" is not the most desireable course of action. Even though I have experienced the same reaction before. Because it's certainly easier to say nothing than to constantly be vigilant about what comes out of one's mouth....
From:cygnusfap
Date:June 19th, 2003 11:46 am (UTC)
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I agree with what Kay said: nobody's perfect. I think the fact that you're bothered about your behaviour says a lot more about you than a few incidents that you regret.

I'm always happy to see you at fandom meetings - and I'd be sad if you felt uneasy about coming to a future meeting.

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