On Forgiveness, Frustration, and Other Elephants

Normally, I like to keep things positive and fun here, especially in light of the craziness that’s happening all around us at every level, but I’ve been sitting on this series of rants for a while and I just have to let some things out from my brain onto the Internet. Maybe you’ll call me a hypocrite, but maybe you’ll agree with me. Begin word vomit.

Forgiveness

Before Yom Kippur, I genuinely asked some people for forgiveness of anything that I may have done wrong to them. It sounds kind of trite, but it’s the thought the counts. Everyone said yes, some more seriously than others, but I want to believe that everyone who said “yes” will actually come through and make good on that. With certain people in my life, I feel that there is some sort of layer of something between us, but by saying that you forgive me, I am hoping that you mean that you will ease up, and at least let that layer settle if not even completely evaporate and start fresh. That would make my day, no; my year. There are different levels of friendship, and not everyone has to be best friends, but there is value in being civil and polite to everyone, speaking to his/her face and treating him/her like a human being and not like a reptile or a gnat or a piece of lint. That is the least that I wish to ask from you. What do you gain from being actively mean? “Be the bigger person…”goes only so far, but I guess the important thing is to treat others the way you wish to be treated and hope that they’ll get the point through their haze of ignorance.

Frustration

I have to say, I have spent a lot of time recently, including Yom Kippur, being angry. Anger is not healthy, nor is it productive, yet it still exists within me. I feel anger at people who treat me poorly, secretly plotting comeuppance but never daring to speak it, and attempting to erase my mind of these thoughts. It takes a LOT of energy to be angry! It manifests itself physically within me, making me sweat, blush, shake, grit my teeth and twitches my eyelids, because I do not understand! Why must you go out of your way to be unkind to me? Why are you like this? What did I ever do to deserve this treatment from you, or anyone? The worst part: why can’t I let these feelings go? I want to tell you how I really feel, I really do, and I don’t want to care what you think but I probably will. If you respond, great. If you choose to let it sit in the void, so be it. If you reject me, I can safely say that you were not worth my time to begin with. There is no reason for feeling this way. It takes a lot of energy to be angry, and nothing angers me more than those who treat me poorly or reject me outright. Be a gentleman, be a lady, be a person. I’m having a hard time not issuing “if you” judgments, but seriously, if you are that incapable of behaving in a civil manner, maybe – just maybe – there is something seriously wrong with you.

Other Elephants

It’s all about being grateful and not hateful, but I just have to say that I recently had an encounter with someone whose behavior really, really upset me. Showing up for Shabbat dinner at Chabad with a tin of sardines, which he proceeded to open and eat in front of everyone, even going so far as to put pieces of sardines on other peoples’ plates, urging them to eat it because it’s one of the five only truly healthy foods left, all the while talking nonstop about how awesome anarcho-capitalism is, how much he has learned in the school of life, and laughing loudly and vigorously about how college is a complete waste of time and money and that students are all “sucking on the government’s teat.”

This upset me so much.

Self-awareness, people…you’re in someone’s home, in a college town, possibly one of the largest college towns in the nation, and this is how you choose to act? Judging the behavior of others is never healthy, but when someone dominates the entire room by completely undermining everyone in it, with nowhere to go, what am I supposed to do? Fortunately, I busied myself by helping clean and put away dishes. I did feel bad though, for the poor girl who stood there listening to him spew garbage about everything from the meaninglessness of scholarships to how CPR is pointless, not even allowing a second of silence to go by in the amount of time it took to wash, dry, and put away 75 place settings.

I went to an art exhibit in Milwaukee today with five friends, including one whom I’d never met before. We spent five hours together, touring a museum and enjoying dinner, talking, laughing, and bonding. If I could repeat that experience every day of my life, I would consider myself lucky.

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