02 May 2008

Misanthropes Anonymous

I am the Infamous CoatCheck Girl, and I am a misanthrope...

Whether one blames it on the political climate, the economy, war, the planets...whatever your scapegoat of choice, it's hard to deny that 2008 has been a hard year so far. For everyone.

"I hate people" seems to be the motto of choice these days. So many people I know have suffered disappointments at the hands of others, myself included. Ordinarily, I try to be aware of what is mine---my own projected expectations, viewpoints which might color my interactions--- and take responsibility for them. But this year in particular, I have noticed people just being unapologetically mean and inconsiderate and extremely selfish. It's hard not to be affected by it.
I hear about the experiences of friends and acquaintances, and know that these incidents are not exclusive to my experience. Recent work has brought me into contact with mental health professionals who say they are hearing the same from many of their clients. One has been heard to joke about starting an "I hate people" support group.

Much to my dismay, I find I have adopted that motto myself. In attempting to mend rifts between members of my family (at their request), I ended up having both of them upset with me. They, of course, are doing peachy.

A very dear friend asked for advice with her rather tempestuous romantic situation, one that has many of her friends concerned. I had received similar calls at least once a month for the entire duration of this romance, so I knew expressing an opinion was futile, and told her so. I asked her instead to look to herself, determine whether in her heart of hearts she believed things would change, and if not, whether that was the life she was willing to accept for herself and her daughter.
I pledged my support, regardless of her decision.
That was a little over a month and a half ago, and I have not heard from her since. With the encouragement of mutual friends, I attended a dinner held in her honor. Flowers in hand, I went, ready to offer the loudest cheer and the heartiest congratulations...and was unceremoniously rebuffed.

As for romantic ventures...I'm probably more jaded than ever when it comes to dating or relating to people on a romantic or even sexual level. My little interlude earlier this year had some lasting repercussions. The most significant was that it left me doubting my intuition. How many times did I ask him or tell him directly that I felt like a mere place-holder until he found what he was really looking for? It could have been so simple.
"You're not it."
But no. It was this or that, timing, personal inquiry, sex, polyamory....All the while he was leading me to believe that I was being unreasonable, making me think that my radar was "off" somehow. He would become indignant when accused of sending mixed signals, while in the same breath admitting he didn't know from one day to the next how he felt about me.
I have since found out what appears to be common knowledge--- that he's been hung up on the same girl for over a year, just waiting for her to acknowledge him as something more than a glorified errand boy.
Something tells me if that were to ever actually happen, he would still not be "ready", he'd still be questioning what he wants, etc....

I currently have some gentlemen friends, all of them nice smart and cute, who I am keeping at arm's length. Every invitation to spend time together initiates an avalanche of thoughts.
"He's nice, fun...but it's probably a matter of time before he starts lying or other issues surface...and I can't stomach any more conflict or drama...so what's the point. I'm not even going to call him back..." And I just put the phone down and go back to my editing, or curl up on the couch.

When the general populace acts in a callous or selfish manner, that's one thing, but when it's the people you really care for, the smallest betrayals cut deeply. It has lead me to keep to myself for the most part. When I do have to interact with people I feel this new cynicism seeping in. It saddens me, the eternal optimist, to look at people with disgust and distrust, and yet, I can't help it. I have come to think the worst of people.

I suppose my financial situation has done nothing to improve my mood this year, either. The interpreting thing, which held so much promise, has kind of fizzled. When I do get photo work, I end up having to educate people---show up on time, if you agree to have my name on the photo you actually have to do it, don't take 6 months to tell me which photos you want then tell me you need them today, and most importantly I will not shoot your band in front of a brick wall...
I've even been doing odd jobs for a guy I have affectionately dubbed "The Rock-n-Roll Contractor". He hires mostly musicians to do odd jobs---light construction, remodeling and yard work. The jobs rarely start before noon, and it's not uncommon to have cancellations due to hangovers. Most of the clients know they're not getting pro-quality work, but are trying to do their part to support the arts in their own way.
It is in this manner which I have come, in the past month, to caulk a bathtub, paint an apartment, and wrestle with ruthless blackberry brambles and ivy plants. They won, by the way, as the many scratches on my arms (and, curiously, my ass) will attest. I am such a delicate flower. My skin is unused to such treatment...unless it's in the heat of battle, the clashing of teeth, fingernails and skin.
So here I am, almost halfway through the year, and still unclear of the direction it will take. I've had hopes, of course, but given the previous 4 months, I'm letting go of even those.
I did get a little push from the universe yesterday. One of my co-workers turned out to be a Reiki master. Just another reminder that I have all the answers I need.
I'll let you know if I figure anything out.
In the meantime, I'll be over here on my couch. The Infamous CoatCheck Girl is so very tired.

Help me out, kids. Send me a story, publicly or privately, of something good or great that you've witnessed or experienced in 2008.

All Content Copyright Juliana Tobón, 2008. All Rights Reserved.

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