Tagged: anger

Error In Yesterday’s Captain’s Log

Yesterday’s post, “White Hot Flame”, contained a copy of a back-and-forth between a fellow student and myself.  The trouble, however, is that there was a typo.  Where I wrote “Hey S-“, it should’ve simply read, “To Anyone Who Feels Like Reading At The Moment:”

Now, you might be wondering, “What’s the difference?”  Well, I’m exceedingly happy to share the answer, the difference, with you here.  

If I wrote that post to “S-“, who, like you and I, is a real live person struggling to find her way in this crazy, crazy world, it would have been an attack on her character.  It would’ve have been an immature, undignified, and disrespectful personal attack.  And I don’t do that.  At least, I don’t do that to strangers.  For someone to get me to deliberately and proudly sacrifice my character in an effort to attack theirs, well, that requires a special bond.  To be specific, that requires the bond that only family can form.    

But if the post was written “To Anyone Who Feels Like Reading At The Moment”, then it reveals itself for what it really was.  It was a rant.  And I’m allowed a rant.  

See the difference?

So, a stranger wrote something that pissed me off, and I had a lot I wanted to say about it.  Because I write a lot these days–because it was late and I didn’t have anyone to talk with about it–I wrote (typed up) what I had to say, and was quite pleased with how it turned out.  So pleased in fact, that I wanted people to read it.  I wrote something, and I wanted people to read it.  At this point, no error has been committed–no attack.  Posting what I wrote to the class discussion board, with S- as the addressee, is the mistake.  That’s the moment my words transformed from “rant” to “attack”.  I see that now.

Some of you who don’t know me personally might think this is all bullshit.  That I’m backpedaling.  You’d be mistaken.  Just ask the people that do know me.  To a man, they’ll confirm that my one true goal in life is to get you to love me as much as I love me.  They’ll confirm that for a while I nurtured the goal by hoping that my smile would be enough to do the trick.  When that didn’t work, I focused on my body.  When that failed, I tried my voice.  That I write to you now illustrates that while I’m 0-3 in my quest, I am not giving up.  

Did I want S- to read my post?   Yes.  Because at least then I knew I had one reader.  Did I want to attack S-?  No.

So here I am, again writing.  I’m exploring the feeling of remorse.  Some of you might recognize these words as an apology.  I can buy that.  But for me, there is something more going on here.  For me, this was a breakthrough.  For me, this was growth.

Thanks Ma.

And thank You.

The only way to get there is together.

White Hot Flame

This blog has a persona that I’ve been attempting to carefully control.  It hasn’t been the full picture, though, and sometimes I don’t feel good about not sharing everything.  As an experiment then, here’s some of what you’ve been missing:

“Hi Pete…maybe not cold blooded, but perhaps a bit narrow visioned, or at least inconsiderate, as a result of white male privilege…brutal enslavement of women is not a thing of the past.  Sadly, that is not made up.  And I disagree that it was “cured” by the U.S. military riding in on their white horse. It happens here too.”

“Hey S-,

I just finished watching “The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood” and I have to say I’m in the mood to talk about my feelings.  Brutal enslavement of women is not sanctioned by anyone (public or private) in the United States of America.

What are you even talking about?

Individual crimes happen, sure, but those will never stop happening.  In fact, I heard the other day that a white male was murdered.  I cried myself to sleep that night.  Because I’m white.  And I’m a male.

The terrible crimes against women that happen in America and occasionally are bizarre enough to receive national news coverage (which are the only things I can possibly imagine you’re referencing as evidence of women being enslaved “here”–you do know slavery is against the law here, right?), these individual crimes aren’t even in the same categorical universe as the situation in Afghanistan–the situation that is causing Afghan women to choose to burn themselves alive.

Wait a minute.  I think I know what’s happened here.  Yes, it’s all becoming clear now.  Because I look like your dad, who I can only assume you hate, you think you get to bring up my “race” or my “culture” or my “ethnicity” without fear of reprisal.  That must be it.  Am I close?

To be clear:  (I was taught once to not use the phrase “I think” when writing, because of course each of us only ever writes our opinion.  But for those of you who haven’t learned that ev-er-y-thing is opinion, I’ll use “I think” here.)  I read M-‘s poem.  I thought it was good.  I didn’t think it was great.  But I thought it had the potential to be great.  I never doubted that Afghan girls were burning themselves alive, though I don’t have time to focus on the news these days, and until reading the poem, I wasn’t aware they were doing this.  The purpose of this course is to teach us to write better, teach us to use imagery, etc., teach us to write in a way that causes the reader–any reader–to feel what we (the writer) intended to be felt.  I did not “feel” that M-‘s word choice was as effectively-imagery-ridden as it could be, and, in my own style, I told her as much.

S-, R-, and K-, that you chimed in on this discussion did nothing except reveal how misaligned your understandings’ of life on planet Earth are.  Suffice it to say, because I have responded to you despite the fact that you used words like “offended” and “inconsiderate”, I’m now very afraid that some actual repercussion will occur, and, if so, that could result in me losing some money.  Because I clearly think I know everything, I composed a swan song that I’d like to share with you now.  Please write this down, and when able, commit it to memory:

College is the last time in your life

When you might be given actual honest feedback.

However, at your bidding, in this class, and from now on,

I’ll only say the most unoffensive and considerate things about everything you write.

In effect,

I’ll lie.

That should cause

Some real growth.

I know I’m

Looking forward to it.

Pete”