what i’ve likely been dealing with all my life…
January 13, 2011, 12:04 am
Filed under: Human Potential

I wanted to write something on how I’m starting to believe that a key to really living well is talking face to face with people about things they say or do that bother me or just my perception of things. For example, I needed to talk to someone recently because he said something that made me feel like he was interested in a romantic relationship, even though he was saying again and again that he wanted only to help me with something. 

The most annoying part of all (so annoying it makes me want to curse here) is that when I confronted the person he totally wouldn’t acknowledge my perception of the situation as a real possibility. It would have satisfied me more if he said something like, “I find you attractive, but…” or “I know it might seem like I’m pursuing something romantic, but…” or “I can understand how you might feel that way, but…” or “There’s no way I’d pursue that…” Actually the conversation as I remember it was very confusing and all over the place, except my part(s) of course, which was, “I do have a concern that you might be pursuing something romantic…”

If I’m going to keep it real, it seems like I might be really lonely, not because no one will be around, but because not many people speak that language. I’m being negative, I know, but I’m trying to find my approach to writing about some things and it seems like I have to keep considering this other side of the story that’s so muted and boring and resistant to the truth.

I was writing, for example, about a story I wrote as a newspaper reporter that I regretted writing at the time. I wanted to use the experience to explain how what the world was missing was more civil, face to face hashing out of disagreements and discussion about tough topics, such as race. I thought one reason I regretted writing the story was that I didn’t seek comment from school officials on my perception that they misrepresented the racial makeup of it’s schools in photos advertising a new school that would replace some predominantly black schools.

Then it occurred to me today that it wouldn’t have mattered if I’d confronted school officials because they would’ve just tried to make it seem like I was wrong for wanting to report on that. I read the story today and I did seek comment  at the time from the p.r. firm that took the pictures and designed the ads, and they said the racial makeup of the ads was not intentional. This racial part was also just a small part of the story I found, not the story I remembered. I may have written another story I didn’t see today.

My main point is that lately I’ve been writing more, but when I go out into the world everything seems so muted and half-asleep. I see issues but if I talk to someone about what i see as issues, such as why there’s so little interracial dating, for example, that person says it’s a non-issue. Even if I don’t talk, I look around and things look so dull; people don’t even look at each other.

I think real life is so hidden and our true selves are somehow hidden. I’m not sure how things are supposed to be, but I just feel like someone could go through life and not really speak what’s in his/her heart and no one would have a problem with it, except maybe rebellious kids or rappers, or writers, like me.


Going too hard
January 8, 2011, 6:31 pm
Filed under: Human Potential

I have this feeling that my written comments about race are too harsh or strong for people to feel comfortable responding to me. But this hasn’t been the case when I’ve talked with people (black, white, Hispanic, Arab) in person. To the contrary, my discussions about race with other people have been surprisingly fruitful, peaceful and without awkward silences.

Generally, I believe there’s too much that gets in the way of people speaking honestly about race. Behind my concern that I might “come on too strong” is probably really the fear of offending others, something I’m sure most people can relate to. I don’t want to offend anyone, but I can’t let that stop me from expressing myself. I sincerely hope the fear of offending doesn’t stop others from expressing themselves. I, for the record, am hard to offend. I’ve thought the worst of myself and my actions for years, and a certain level of bullet proofness is a result.

One of my life goals is to help create a more comfortable and inviting environment for people to talk about race (and ultimately sex, death, and other taboo topics). This blog could be one of those environments. I think open discussion will make the world a better, kinder, gentler and more ALIVE place. What could be better than that?