Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Karma chameleon or DIY: The Mouse That Roared

“A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day.”
 Bill Watterson

You can’t go through life without acknowledging yourself.   Brave words, wise words from the gurus at TLC’s What Not To Wear.  But why is it that when you acknowledge yourself,  it’s like a signal for everyone  else to get in your grill for not  acknowledging them?!! Case in point- I was raised to not interrupt adults when they’re speaking, and to always greet people as they come in the door. But in the past few weeks, I have had people (usually older women) walk away from me while I was speaking to them – who then complained that I didn’t greet them the next time  I saw them.  And when I decided not to put in the extra effort for no return, all of a sudden the eye rolls and the skin teeth came out. ( If you don’t know what that means, ask a black friend- carefully. If you are black and don’t know, find a little old black lady- they know everything.)  While being polite gets you a fair distance, it appears that telling the rules to f*** off gets you only disdain from the other people who also don’t follow the rules.  How is it that the rudest people  get to appoint themselves the masters of ceremony and etiquette? Who decided that they get to put themselves at the top of the ladder?   Aaargh! When do I get to tell the world to take a hike,  like  say, every celebrity or rockstar –and be applauded for my initiative, my nonchalance to the slights, the slings and arrows that life seems intent on throwing at me.    I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. My affability has gotten me in trouble in the past- probably because it's  more like passive aggressiveness.    When people demand respect from you it’s usually because they don’t respect themselves.  How often have you had to apologize for what someone else called your thoughtlessness  and later thought, was I really that insensitive? And  sometimes, we really are. But sometimes, the sharks in the water simply smell blood and they come a running –(yes, I know sharks don’t run- mixed metaphor, people!) I have seriously gotten to the point when I have to ask if this is karma- if maybe this is this how I seem to others and I’m simply looking in the mirror. If so, I need a makeover stat. But maybe, it’s not me- and maybe I simply need to prepare myself for the offensive and being considered offensive when I don’t respond with the alacrity others seem to feel they deserve.   How often do you feel attacked because of what someone else felt, which in reality had nothing really to do with you?  One of my pet peeves is people who demand respect without giving it – not in return, but first. Showing respect is not a you show me yours and maybe I’ll show you mine proposition. It’s a statement about who you are and who you want others to see you as.  I’ve determined that I no longer want to see myself as a doormat- and that I owe no acclamations or explanations to anyone. I know who I am, how I was brought up and where I’m taking myself in the future.  If you have issues or you step in my road, don’t be surprised if I politely, but firmly, brush you aside. 

Respect commands itself and it can neither be given nor withheld when it is due.

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