Wednesday, November 8, 2017

It's Day #8 of NaNoWriMo & an Open Response to Someone Who Called me "Disgusting"

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I can't believe I am now 8 days into NaNoWriMo. I just passed the 10,000 word benchmark, and while I'm proud of all that progress---hey, it's 1/5 of my goal---I'm a bit disappointed that I'm not where I should be. In order to be right on track, I will need to reach 13,333 words by the end of the day today, and that's probably not going to happen. Currently, I have 10,505 words written. We'll see. Admittedly, I've been feeling a bit drained. Last week ended with a nasty email exchange and I think that in order for creative types like me to be credible, it's important to be open about the little things that can affect our craft. Life does have a way of getting in the way, especially when it's not dealt with.

During this unpleasant exchange, unprompted, this other person lashed out with the phrase "you disgust me." That's a powerful statement, don't you think? For anyone who has seen Silence of the Lambs, that sounds like the type of comment one would reserve for a guy like the one who threw semen at Agent Starling as she walked down the hall. Anyway, I have been processing this comment and here is a summary of my journey through a careless insult.

What would Buddha do?

Actually, that quote isn't from Buddha. It's from Adam Palmer on Instagram, but it reminds me of another post that included a story about Buddha and returning certain sentiments to their proper owner. Another way of spinning this is, "What this person said does not describe me. So, the comment must be his or her way of sharing something about their own character. What could that be?" Could it be that the person calling me disgusting is disgusting? Upon reflection, I considered that yes was a reasonable answer.

Are we all disgusting?

Humans are gross. We excrete a lot of nasty waste products. We all have boogers. We all fart. We all do things we regret even knowing we'll regret doing or saying certain things as we're doing them. Does it stop us? No.
 
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What is the best and highest use of my time now?

Managing relationships is important to me. If someone is disgusted with me, naturally, I'm concerned, assuming we're talking about a reasonable person. I think it's safe to say I wasn't dealing with a reasonable person. Given that this wasn't a reasonable person, that particular feedback seemed to be of dubious value. So, I realized I was feeling exhausted and miserable meditating on a rotten comment from an unreliable source when I could have been working on my novel.

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What does it all mean?

I'm never going to be able to make sense of why this person chose to attack me in this way. I've recited the Metta meditation a few times. Sometimes, I'll admit, "May you be free from suffering. May you be at peace," comes out sounding more sarcastic than it should when I think of this person who, um, challenges me at the present moment, but I'm getting better.

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People say stupid things all the time.

I don't have hard data to back this up. I'm sure someone has an "official" peer-reviewed study about thoughtless things people say. As a friend of mine at a local bar pointed out, it's physically possible to say just about anything. Saying it doesn't make it true, and writing it doesn't make it true either.

To the miserable person who said that to me: may you be filled with lovingkindness, may you be free from suffering, may you be at peace because the world really needs you to be.

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And with all that said, I'm going to go and continue kicking ass on this manuscript after a long nap.