Sitting in the tension. Learning.

On my way home, I found some empty vodka bottles and I threw them at the street one by one and as hard as I could. The smashing made me feel a little better. I scream a lot lately, mostly into my pillow or into my sleeve but sometimes just in the middle of the dining hall or while walking across campus. Lately, though, I am doing things more difficult (for me) than anything else I have ever done. If screaming keeps me from cracking, fine. And it does.

Thinking about the process of getting to know people:

After a while of it, I begin to say the things I want to say, and stop saying the sociable things to whose said-ness I am actually indifferent.

You can't have what you want from people. You can only have what they are. And if you aren't willing to see what is actually there instead of what you wish was there, there's no point.

Guidelines from anthropology: Respect that people's experiences are complex and subjective. Grant people the right to narrate and interpret their own experiences. Listen, at least a year for every hundred pages you hope to write. And ask questions. Acknowledge that to see, to listen, is to an extent a power transaction, and when you perceive (see or hear) someone as different than who they are, you have exploited their vulnerability and used your power against them. You be damn careful when you listen, when you look. If you're not going to be careful, don't do it at all.

2 comments:

Dawn 5/08/2011 7:26 AM  

I wish the world understood what you just said. If I have one more person ask if I enjoyed the unwanted attention from my boss when I was a teenager bc it was the attentions of an older man, I swear, I too will start screaming! If only they would listen and not put their feelings into my words, they might just get to see my heart. I so enjoy your insights into life. You are amazing and loved!

Holly 5/08/2011 10:35 PM  

Oh, Dawn, I'm sorry for this. I know how it hurts to be interpreted carelessly, the more so about big things...I'm sorry. You are worth the work of seeing.

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