Posts Tagged ‘responsibility

28
Feb
17

My Response to “Bored Life in Wisconsin” (Dear Abby)

*****
You can find my response to this and other letters on the designated page. But, while you’re here, have a read.

Bored Life is a fifteen year-old teenager suffering from a mix of social anxiety and depression. It’s uncertain if this person is a boy or girl. But, they are clearly at a crossroad in life, lacking friendship and comfortable chats with peers, questioning acceptance of their chosen hobbies, wanting desperately to improve their situation. [I didn’t know kids (or “young adults”) still play Dungeons and Dragons.]

Abby suggests joining some groups to stimulate social activity. And, that’s sound advice (even I have yet to follow). But, I suspect this teen is resistant to joining (as I was/am). And, that may be why he/she is having such difficulty. I will speak from experience and, hopefully, provide some reassurance. But, considering my ongoing struggles, I can’t promise much. Still, it may shed some light on the paid advisor for future cases.

————–

Bored Life? I’m going to give you more than something or “anything.” Not just advice but also some of my own experience with what you are facing.

Lesson number one. Don’t ever say you’re bored or boring. Because, to the people that matter in your life, you’re not.

As I read your letter, I am checking off all the points that may match not just my teenage years but also my adult life. Repetitive schedule (including the details you gave)? Check. Depressed? Check. Inability to drive? Check. Trouble talking to others–aka social anxiety–double check. Parents that don’t go anywhere/do anything to stimulate your mind…nor, apparently, your bond/relationship with them? [Which may be something we want to discuss, later.] Double check. No friends with whom you can hang out/feel at ease with in person? Double check and an exclamation point!

Right now–and for who knows how long–you don’t have a “crowd.” You don’t have your niche. You’re a rare purple song bird in a forest full of blue and pink ones. You could perch next to a group and give your two cents. But, that would leave your comfort zone. And, once out of that comfort zone, you fear you’ll get hurt. Right? Who or what will protect you when you are completely exposed to the public and responsible for your words/actions.

Let’s tackle those key notes separately.

1) Your comfort zone/crowd.
This is what suits your desires/interests. It’s what you feel most at ease doing. This includes those “boring” activities you indulge, homework and drawing. When you get older, people start associating this with a career and raising children. Those become zones into which people lock themselves and struggle to escape. Some run away, producing single parents and questionable resumes.

Here’s the first ray of light I’d like to shed your way. What may seem boring today could be seen as a sign of dedicated study and achievement, later. And, perhaps, in the future, your work will pay off with attracting the niche crowd you’ve wanted, allowing you to filter out those who are not what they appear. [And, there will be your share of those, as well.]

Surely, you are not the only person in your world who is focused on homework, drawing and video games. Quite likely, there are others who are just about as secluded as you. And, that is why you don’t see each other or pair up. You are in your own corners, feeling similar doubts and concerns. Yet, even though you may have the same interests, there’s also the matter of personality differences.

2) Fear of painful exposure.
When we aren’t naturally adept to or taught at an early age to socialize, it becomes more and more like a stiff joint we haven’t moved in a while. It’s painful and/or difficult to stretch. It feels alien and uncertain, scary, even. What if we make the wrong move and do more harm? Leaving one’s comfort zone, trying new things…these can become painful to imagine. And, who doesn’t want to avoid pain?…except maybe those who preach “No pain, no gain.”

There are those that seem to make life appear easy. Jocks flock with jocks and hide any emotional responses they may have. Glam queens gab with other glam queens, and one is usually prettier than the rest for a reason. But, just because these people hang out and/or play together doesn’t mean they’re good friends. They may be avoiding your discomfort simply by staying busy. When they go home, life may not be as fun as they appear in school. School becomes their escape from solitude, family troubles and responsibility. It’s a different sort of comfort zone that seems high risk to people like you and me. It’s the fast lane while we coast in the slow lane.

3) Responsibility and taking chances.
Even I will admit (though I’m genetically inclined to deny) I have moments when I don’t want to be responsible for what happens. Companies satisfy this fear by posting “disclaimers” and “warnings,” all manners of fine print to ward off punishment should their business fail to satisfy the consumer and/or do greater harm. There may be something in the human genetic matrix that detests responsibility. But, if you know anything about Spider-Man, you likely know what Uncle Ben taught him.

Our great power is being the dominant species of this planet. Our responsibility is how we wield that power. We cannot be entirely careless with our actions. What we say and do impacts others.

Yet, we cannot take NO action or risk, either. If we try nothing, we achieve nothing. [But, don’t be so quick to dismiss what you DO try. Sometimes and some people will think you do nothing when, in fact, you ARE doing something that just isn’t apparent.]

One of the hard lessons of adulthood is taking steps to make progress (or even maintain what already exists) and being responsible for what results. If something goes wrong and it’s genuinely our fault, we need to take what comes with this negative result or defend ourselves if the punishment seems unjust. There will be other times when what occurs is just coincidence or cosmic fate, an “accident” we may not have been able to prevent. And, we need to learn to “roll with the punches;” accept failure or lesser achievement, regroup and try, again.

As I say, I am in a similar rut as you and not adept to making improvements/changes. But, many years after being in your shoes, I’ve gathered various tidbits of insight, therapy and wisdom from various sources. Right now, you’re at the start space on the board game of adulthood. Or, maybe, three steps from the start. I took a bit of a detour along one of those chutes or ladders and am not much closer to the finish line. But, I feel “wiser” for the experience. And, every step outside my comfort zone I am able to make, I get a tiny bit less afraid…even if I sometimes meet with what might be seen as disaster.

If I may, I have a few questions I hope aren’t too bothersome.

1) Who got you interested in Dungeons and Dragons? As I said earlier, I didn’t think anyone (especially your age) still played such games. I thought that was reserved for people from my and older generations.

I myself never played but have studied maps and guides. They were sources of artistic inspiration in my youth. I can remember being about seven or eight when I drew a picture of a warrior fending off “yellow mold” (and “black pudding” in another drawing) with a spear or sword.

2) You’ve NEVER had a crush on anyone? I could see not kissing or dating. But, not even a strong feeling about another person?

I had those feelings as early as four years old. I was given some unpleasant labels in my youth and in my teens which did not help me make friends and made approaching the concept of a romantic relationship almost impossible. I knew I wanted more than friendship with at least one girl. But, neither my parents nor my peers were any help in making my wishes come true. Instead, they made life more difficult and made me curl up in my “corner.”

Granted, there was one kid in my class who seemed the sort you claim to be. He had no interest in girls. Nor was he admittedly gay. I’d call him asexual because he was obsessed with annoying details in everything and never once said anything flattering about a boy/man or girl/woman, never showed any interest. If you asked him about such feelings, he’d pick a verbal fight and insult you.

There may be a strange blessing in this absence of “passion.” You could be spared the trials others face because they cannot control their “lust.” You could avoid the distractions and penalties (unplanned parenthood, for one) and get ahead in other areas of living. Then, down the road, those feelings you’ve been without might surface (at “the right time”). Yet, you are feeling discomfort because this difference makes relating to others less likely.

You make a point of mentioning how having feelings for someone can be a big part of interacting/talking with peers. [Can I just say I have not known any teen your age to even use the word “peers” in a sentence? That strikes me as unusual, too. I’d say “classmates,” “fellow students” or “other kids in my school.” But, peers?]

And, I can relate to that, too. I am pretty sure that’s why I was given the labels I received; I didn’t feel comfortable talking about “banging” that girl/guy or how much I wanted to grab some girl’s breasts. [Nor could I gossip about past relationships I didn’t have.] I felt guys who did this were juvenile. I didn’t necessarily say or think I was better than them–as many would argue against me–but I didn’t want to be like them. I chose a different path and was humiliated for it.

My struggles were amplified by factors I never saw coming. I was outnumbered and overwhelmed. I was at war with family. And, all of that slowed down any progress I could make so badly that I could see everyone else walking away and getting ahead in life. I continue to question my decisions and why I had to fight those battles. Could I have avoided the conflicts somehow? Could I have ignored the “jerks” and focused better on those who mattered? Why did I make the decisions I made?

I seem to recall writing a letter like yours back when I was your age (except I made it clear I had feelings for a number of girls and was distraught for losing contact with at least one). I did not find or receive any response. Hopefully, you’ll find my words and get some good out of them.

13
Jan
15

Violence Over Free Speech, You Say? Here’s My Response

As the TV peppers me with echoes of what’s been happening in Paris, France, I found this rhyme forming in my brain.  You may have heard it somewhere.

THIS IS MY RIFLE!

my-rifle-mouth_male-portrait-looksabitlikeme_silhouette-60prcnt-1J my-rifle-mouth_male-portrait-looksabitlikeme_silhouette-60prcnt-3JTHESE ARE MY GUNS!

my-guns-fist-n-footprint_440-fist-up-left-angle-pump_silhouette-1JTHESE ARE FOR FIGHTING!

these-R-4-fighting-fst-ft-n-mouth_440-fist-up-left-angle-pump_silhouette-1JTHESE ARE FOR FUN!

teamwritingbolt_business-people-silhouette-our-team_50percent-international-group-8J

Now, all you maggots creating such a stir over free speech, you take responsibility for what you say and realize when a choice of words might stir a hornet’s nest.  This Paris incident isn’t about creativity repressed by the artists’ own nation.  No.  It’s about foreigners not approving what they find in the local media/newspapers.  You wouldn’t want someone making crude or cruel jokes about your family, nationality or religion.  Would you?  So, why is it this one incident makes people rally in support of those who didn’t take the first warning to knock it off?  No, lethal violence wasn’t necessary.  But, how often does the boy have to cry wolf before the wolf goes postal?  There’s no Tootsie roll at the center of this dilemma, kids.

28
Jul
14

The Art of Excess

 

On a milestone birthday in the depths of space, a budding artist (with a face full of bubbling, molten craters) opened her eyes and marveled at the new tools provided by her parents. The intense, singeing light of her father and the softer, enchanting glow of her mother came together to wish their daughter well in pursuit of happy growth and enhancement. Vowing to make them proud, the young orb took a deep breath and went to work.

Her early efforts produced a multitude of lifeforms both stationary and mobile. The former consistently worshipped her parents while the latter were free to experiment, giving all who watched a source of amusement. Father and mother were indeed pleased. Their smiles burst with a brilliant energy which could be seen from galaxies away.
“Go on, my child!” said the father. “Create more! It gives your mother and I such joy to see you paint your surface with these colors! One day you shall be the crown jewel of our domain!”

So, the child continued to create and age. But, every now and then, her father and mother would drift apart, leaving her in the cold of deep space to wonder if what she created was still worthy of praise. In a fit of sadness and frustration, she struck herself with a large rock, hoping to free some promising ideas from her already cracked skull. Instead, it erased her vision temporarily, wiping a large portion of the art from her surface. When her parents returned, a new motif had taken over their daughter.

“What’s this?!” gasped the father. “Such a drastic change! What has made you tear down what you already made and replace it with something new?!”

“Father, each time I turned around, you and Mother left me alone,” said the young artist with a sigh. “I did not feel your warmth at my back. I thought you no longer approved of my work.”

“Look how they behave differently when I draw closer in your father’s absence,” said Mother with her cheeks aglow as she separated from her mate. “You honor us with your talents, daughter. Go on. Continue creating. You are just beginning to grow.”

Despite her concern and flickering confidence, the artist did as she was told. Nothing she made gave her the joy she had seen in her parents’ faces. Again and again, she changed her canvas while expending her vital energy (which, at the time of her youth, seemed infinite), each time hoping the next visit of her parents would be happier than the last.

When they did return for her birthday, she had yet another surprise waiting for them. Gazing upon the new creation, Father blew flames to the far reaches of space and withdrew. His color paled from an ardent red-orange to a weaker yellow. “What in the great cosmos are those?! And, what are they doing to each other?!”

Tilting her head ever so slightly, his daughter said, “I have not decided what to call them, yet, as they keep changing on me. I am leaning toward naming them Humanity. What do you think, Mother?”

Though her mate was dismayed, mildly cross and tempted to scorch the young artist’s hide, Mother, impressed with the new lifeforms (which could adapt themselves more readily than any other), showed enthusiasm. “They are certainly unique and interactive.” She paused to look away when one fierce band of the fleshy rebels destroyed another, leaving a gruesome stain on the daughter’s cheek. Refraining from preaching about cleanliness, Mother added, “Keep at it, my child. But, do not be so hasty to destroy what you have made. Let it mature with you. You continue to grow in wisdom though experience. Some day, you will shine as bright as your mother or–maybe–your father.”

With those encouraging words, the still youthful artist returned to her labors, working with her latest creation to “enhance” her appearance. [Meanwhile, her parents ventured off in mounting disagreement.] As the years rolled by, the ever-mutable clay of “Humanity” grew in quantity and violence, gradually wiping away portions of her previous work. Just when it seemed like the restless, pale and balding creatures might destroy themselves and everything remaining with them, a new crop would appear to start a revolution. But, the lifeless remnants of the previous batch never seemed to fully disappear. The cosmic strength to absorb injury and clear away the messes made diminished. Eventually, after several expansive conflicts, the bewildering competition amassed heaps of debris on the heavenly creator’s face.

At the dawn of her next birthday, her parents displayed looks of horror. Lakes of toxic sludge and smoking mountains of heavy filth nearly covered every inch of their daughter’s skin. They could barely see her worrisome expression and hear her trailing voice as she pleaded, “Father! Mother! Help me! I have lost control! I am falling apart from within! Help me!”

But, they could do nothing short of wiping her from the cosmos. Reflecting upon her own potentially misguided wisdom, Mother wept. Father slapped himself for being so hasty and persistent in the pursuit of pride. In search of other worlds to litter and ravage, some of the daughter’s tiny parasites ventured deep into space with the ships she provided. Following the errant paths of the wasteful machines over their shoulders, the parents retraced the eons of their previous attempts at raising children and wondered how their neighbors, the Andromeda family, fared so well. [What did they truly know about their neighbors? And, did they need to snoop?]

                                                                           *******

“Surprise!” cheered her parents, stirring the young artist from her slumber. The latter rubbed her eyes and followed the visual cues of the former along the curves of her weathered frame. Though she had found herself drowning in darkness and despair only a moment ago, she was now glowing with a renewed sense of peace and a vigor. Gone were the mounds of death and destruction. Those tiny pests she had created were now working together as one happy community, no longer fighting over materials or each other. And, the older forms once thought doomed to extinction were now given their fair share of space to live as Humanity did.

“Happy birthday, my daughter,” said Mother with an earnest smile. “Just look at you, now. So grown-up. So mature. And, to think, a few eons ago, you were ready to throw yourself into the black hole because of some hideous eruption on your face.”

Her father, showing his age with the faintest tint of red in his thinning cheeks and forehead, added, “You have never looked lovelier than you do today, my child. You honor us both. And, look, our neighbors have brought you presents.”

The woozy artist squinted over her parents’ shoulders to see the handful of colorful visitors in the distance, each with tiny surprises headed her way. Neglecting to mention the former identity of the rock chosen as a meeting place, Mother and Father cleared the asteroid field to welcome the guests. Everyone had such a joyous time at the birthday party…

…Except for one tiny solar-powered ship carrying a lone green explorer who steered clear of all the commotion. He didn’t dare venture closer to those he could not yet understand. Instead, he continued his journey through space, watching the universe drift by as he decided what to do with the rest of his life.

 

 

~Writingbolt, 7-26-2014

14
Jul
14

The Next Time You Feel the Need to Ask, “Wouldn’t it be cool if…,”

…hold your tongue and consider the possible consequences/misuse of that thought. You’re as likely to contribute to crime and horrific punishment as you are to creating something new and exciting.

14
Jul
14

Whatever god created sexual intercourse…

…probably didn’t intend on it being bought and sold like chicken feed.

 

 

Tweet!

14
Jul
14

Peter Parker Might Be the Poster Boy for Using Power with Responsibility…

…but even he can succumb to the temptation of ego.

 

 

A common theme in superhero movies these days is the “weaponizing”

of invention. Someone designs a suit of armor, a replacement body part

or an energy potion, and someone else strives to snatch every trace or

copy the blueprints to wage war on some group, company or nation

with new ammo/power. It’s not just fiction. That fiction came from the

same species capable of creating the madness and/or destruction. When

do we reign in our potential and use our power wisely?

 

 

We can do better.

01
Jul
14

Pay for Insurance; Forget Responsibility?

In recent USA news, health insurance has been a major source of discussion/concern. One particular company has been highlighted for religious values conflicting with general political procedure as well as for covering the cost of certain provisions and not others, namely birth control. I don’t know if it is part of the joke or true, but I heard Viagra is one of the provisions paid for by the company. What sense does this make?

That’s like saying…

“I won’t protect you from gun shots, but have a free assault rifle.”

“I won’t drive you home from the bar, but have a few free drinks.”

[Anyone else want to throw one in here? I’ll add it to the list.]

I’m not the most religious person yet I see the impact of careless sexual behavior. And, no birth control method has been proven (to me) foolproof. Despite man’s quest for the ideal machine/chemical formula, we’re still Einstein without the end-all-be-all equation to being. So…

The point is…people need to control themselves regardless of what money or some company/workplace provides (at cost). More SELF-control and less ARTIFICIAL control (chemical/financially costly). If you can’t keep your pants zipped and your “retirement” safe from draining lifeforms, it’s your own lack of sensible planning/decision-making. Why waste so much time, money, resources and energy on debating what people won’t do for themselves? Screw all this B.S. about what’s covered and not. And, stick it up your rears, you who make medical/health care so complicated and costly. If I won’t help myself, why should I trust or pay you to help me if all you care about is the financial cost? If we’re all taxed too much, what good are we doing each other or ourselves?




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