i’m the decider–not//not bees

yellowjacketThis is a yellow jacket, not a bee

sb10067340d-001This is a honeybee

bumblebeeThis is a bumblebee

A couple of weeks ago, the quasi-spouse and I went mushroom hunting at Priest Lake (in Idaho, USA) collecting about 20lbs of white chanterelles and two handfuls of masutaki.

Afterwards, we drive to Hill’s Resort for a well-earned beer. As we move onto the deck we see a sign taped to the door leading outside with a comic rendition of a bee. The sign reads something like this: Due to the excess of bees we will not be serving food on the deck.

Soon, we’re  sipping our drinks as we gaze at the gorgeous clear lake. A couple yellow jackets buzz around checking for edibles. I grouse to the quasi-spouse about the derogatory “bee” sign and how it never ceases to vex me that most people in all echelons of life—be they liberal or conservative, nature enthusiasts, loggers, scientists, urban guerrillas or art aficionados—call yellow jackets or hornets or wasps, bees.

They’re not BEES.

They’re closer to ants than bees. The only thing similar is that bees can sting but rarely do. For Pete’s sake, I’ve stood in the biennial swarm of honeybees that vacate the feral hive in my back chimney, and I’ve never been stung. When Dario was a toddler we’d caress both honey and bumble bees while they worked flowers. Yellow jackets or hornets never let you pet them; too territorial.

I’m pissy about this because we don’t SEE, we label. And often with careless jargon. We decide things are what we think they are, not what they actually are. We do this to moose, bears, snakes, spiders, children, Muslims, women, their boobs, mushrooms, southerners, wine, trees—you name it—ad nauseum and we do this ALL THE TIME.

Deciding how another feels, thinks or who they are, are inaccurate judgments and those judgments dismiss and negate Self and render others invisible—be they human or anything else. It’s a closed system designed by you and your biases, likes and dislikes. It matters not if you think someone’s the most adorable lovely person or a blockhead, or that yellow jackets are bees; each decision is defective.

We commonly practice this type of “deciding” in romantic relationships and about children and teenagers, but most egregiously with other species.

Observations are not the same thing as judgments. We all get to witness and deduce what we see. Intuit, not determine as reality. Stereotypes are short cuts for some observations but they’re not “true.” They’re “true-ish.” More on stereotypes in an upcoming post.

So, what can we do?

  • Use accurate language: a bee is a bee; a hornet is a hornet; a woman is a person; a child is a human.
  • Speak from your Self. What you like/dislike, fear/revere is yours and it’s not to be imposed on another as “fact.”
  • Whatever it is, is what it is. Accept “it” as it is.

why women don’t date nice (entitled) guys

Years ago, a male friend bemoaned that women liked the ‘bad boys’ but only wanted to be friends with ‘nice guys,’ like him. “I clean up the snot and tears those guys leave,” he said. “I do the work, he got the benefits. Then she falls in love with one of those guys all over again.”

Yes. That’s how it looked to him. Except, this ‘nice guy’ was a ‘nice’ player; he fell in love with being in love, not women. He’d write breathtaking love letters, buy thoughtful presents, speak intelligentsia, woo and delight until one day that ‘she’ seemed tarnished. No actual woman could live up to his entitled dreams of perfectionism.

When he fell out of love he always thought she was flawed, not his unrealistic ideals. His usual time span was two years before he’d hurt his woman with an affair, throwing over the artist for the professor, the torch singer for the judge, the writer for the dancer.

Yes, a nice guy.

Too often the myth that women like assholes or in their submissive heart of hearts want a master continues to be written and is frequently used to justify men’s bad behavior by telling women what they like and don’t like. But analysis doesn’t bear this falsity out. In various studies, being kind, sensitive and trustworthy are often at the top of women’s list. Noooo! Really!?

Entitled people often think they know what others want, need or even think. They’ll insist you like things you don’t, or tell you you’ve thought things that you haven’t. Arrogantly projecting their needs, fears or judgments about you onto you is common. If you protest, you’re wrong, too sensitive, too dramatic.

Privileged people can’t know what they don’t know and they don’t know what’s ‘below’ them. The wealthy, many conservatives, whites, males, adults to children, middle age-ers to seniors, being born in the U.S. vs. Haiti, etc. often breed a class of people who only know what they would do, what they need and they don’t have much compassion for what they haven’t experienced or don’t understand. Demanding others pull themselves up by their bootstraps, the entitled don’t realize those ‘others’ may not even have boots.

Some of these entitled ‘nice guys’ delude themselves that they are nice because—comparatively–maybe they are, but heartfelt kindness consists of more than one action, is deeper than one aspect of personality. The comic character above sees only his personal slant while being blind to his blanket judgment of “all women.”

Regardless of gender or age, we’re all looking for a bit more kindness, understanding. We want to be seen as we are, not as we’re told we are. [see Women Aren’t Food]

If you’re not getting the attention you need from women maybe instead of deciding what they’re doing or not doing, you might turn your gaze to yourself.

hell is still other people

You know how sometimes life feels unwieldy & “obese” because other people exist? Nyuck, Nyuck.

No, seriously.

Maybe I’m getting old, but this way that others have of deciding things about “you” or deciding what you meant and then hugging those hurts to their chest like a favored stuffed animal is turning me into an even deeper misanthrope than Sartre was said to be. But then, who said that? Did they just surmise it to be true? Writing down his observations of the human condition and philosophizing them didn’t necessarily make him a hater.

We all have our stories—and so what? The trouble comes when you don’t run the story by the people you’ve made up those narratives about, you believe they’re true, and then life becomes toilsome for the protagonist in your invented fiction. This bulls@#t creates a lot of gratuitous drama.

I’m of Italian descent; drama is my middle name. I love opera and plays, emotions and songs, poetry and art, and stories. But I don’t like unnecessary childish drama unless someone is an actual child/teenager. They get to have that; they’re children.

I’m not immune from the story-making machine. I recently put together pieces concerning a curmudgeonly and not very technologically interactive friend. I spent three weeks revising it, yet wondered if my inner tale had any actuality. So I sent him an email elucidating the specifics of my story using muscular verbs and shiny details. To my relief, it wasn’t true, and I quote, “Well, aren’t we a bit sensitive.”

Key difference here? I ran it by him before it imprinted itself to my skull as TRUTH. And—because I’m not attached to my story merely because I created it—I let it go. Maybe it’s easier for me to release it because of all the practice I get being a writer, I don’t know. I tell my students (Hello y’all!) to let their writing flow through them to the page, but be ready to cut, slash and kill “their babies” since they should be in service to their work, not applaud themselves as “writer.”

Whatever you invent, you’re responsible for the larger veracity, how it fits into the whole community not only your brain. Just because you think donuts are food doesn’t mean I do; both are “true.” Obama is not a socialist or secret Muslim no matter how many times a tea-partier says it. The conclusions you manufacture about my intentions doesn’t make them accurate in real life. It does mean there’s a misunderstanding that needs to be cleared up but that won’t happen in the solitary vacuum of your head.

Stop being afraid of external conflict and say what you think, ask clarifying questions. That’s the respectful, adult thing to do. The only realm where differences will be figured out is in the open air giving both individuals a chance to discuss it and find a whole, round, full “truth” that works for more than just one.