I grew up as a Small Town American, and very very proud of that fact. Most people I encountered--primarily friends of my Father and Mother--were willing to lend a hand when asked.
I was also willing to lend a hand, and did not even need to be asked, but often--as a child--offered to help out first, before anyone asked at all.
I have been away from the idyllic life of my youth for many years now, and have come to regret it! I have become an overreactive machine, running on autopilot, reacting strongly to the slightest misgiving and slights. Is it a wonder I don't have many friends?
The Firefishe isn't a bad guy, but neither is he a prime candidate for Mr. Congeniality, either. My life has been one of having to deal with other people in my formative years, largely adults, of course, but also having to put up with rude behavior and the subject of that rudeness from within my own peer group.
I know I didn't do the best I could, or I wouldn't be blogging this. I overreacted most of the time to the slightest prevarication, usually to my detriment, as those involved were usually stronger than me. I've never been a Charles Atlas. I'd learned to become passive, and then, as I became an adult, I learned to put up a defensive front not even an interplanetary invasion force could penetrate.
Such has been my experience, of my dealings with people on a day-to-day basis. I've been rather lackluster in the area of Human Friendship Building, and it has hurt me greatly.
So here I am now, at 42, and wanting to 'go back to the way it was.' It's not just a 'flash in the pan' desire, either. I feel that my past is calling for me to come back to an earlier time of Joy, Happiness, and Full Desire! Okay, so what does that mean? It means that, Today, I can choose to incorporate what my childhood-from-my-past wants me to experience in my Present Today.
Sounds new-agey, doesn't it? Well, yes, and it is! I have been new-agey for a very long time, and resonate with this view: That we all are capable of experiencing a 'new age' of Joy, Love, and Fulfillment in our lives. (Disclaimer: --> I desire this and want this, but I've found it very difficult to allow it and those feelings to bloom forth as flowers in my present-day life. Why? Keep reading!)
The 'why' part stems from the aforementioned defensive psychological shielding I put up in my formative years to 'protect' (we're never really in need of psychological protection, as we have strong minds; if we'd only choose to use them!) myself from what I perceived then as 'possibilities of 'imminent attack' from 'other people,' a label I would use repeatedly as a means of comparison.
Ergo, I, Myself, was never as good as 'other people,' and never would--or could--be.
I mistreated myself like this for many years, until the day I couldn't take any more of it, turned off my emotions successfully for about an hour and a half, and was forced to pull over to the curb and park, so heavy were the tears that poured forth after having been forcefully held in check, I could not drive anymore! I thought I could self-hate indefinitely and decided to withdraw my participation by forcing myself mentally to exclude all emotional channels and outside emotional influence--a/k/a 'involvement with people.'
The human body, it is said, has a variety of subtle energy bodies that interpenetrate this physical universe and the non-physical, spiritual, part of our existence. This would seem to be a correct assumption: Forceful mind-focus upon a part of one's being one considers a 'non essential' part of the body as a whole--namely the emotional body--and try to force it's exclusion. Well, it didn't work.
It doesn't work. It won't work. It can't work. We are emotional beings, and that emotion is what gives us our Drive, gives us our Passions! Passions uncontrolled may lead to addictions, but Passions properly channeled lead to Victory! Victory in Joy, Love, Happiness, and Fulfillment.
I bring this up today because of an incident that happened at a local place I and my wife frequent. The store in question is a book and music store that has--treasure of treasures--a cafe with Free Internet! My wife and I met Online, and we are always to be found doing something creative with our computers, especially at this particular venue.
I had purchased a large tub of microwave popcorn and had asked the clerk to microwave it for me. I also presented a coupon for a free drink I had been given two days before. The drink was prepared first, and I made the request that the clerk make it without a cover on it, so that I could get to the whipped cream easier. Well, the clerk responded in a manner which was quite unlike her normal responses, replying with something like 'I'm not going to prepare it that way, because it's messy and, besides, you won't be able to enjoy 'all the good stuff' properly, anyway.' (Whatever that means--the entire drink is crushed ice, flavoring, milk, and whipped cream--ergo, it's all 'good stuff!').
So I, somewhat disgruntled at being 'told off,' let her do her thing, and I got my drink. I don't know if this was a matter of 'instant-karma' coming to the fore, but I tried to take the lid off, and it was practically welded on to the rim of the plastic cup! This met with disaster, as I worked to pry off the lid, finally doing so and splashing about a third of the top-contents of the drink on my table, part of my laptop computer--fortunately not on anything vital--and the floor!
Now on to the popcorn tub. This store rents and sells movies and movie related items, such as tie-in products, action figures, and the like. They sell these big theater tubs of Act II brand Movie Theater Butter popcorn. This tub has a microwave-reflective bottom which has the unpopped kernels in it, with an expanding piece of plastic sandwich bag-like material over that to keep them captive during microwaving as they rise
Well, the end-result of this monster tub of RF-induced movie theater madness is that the plastic bag material tends to rip apart, spewing popcorn everywhere in the microwave oven, necessitating its regular cleanup. The clerks have gone to not following the directions on the popcorn, listening for the kernels to stop popping as it's written on the side of the tub and, instead, doing it their own way.
I should've let the matter go. I should've let the matter go. I should've let the matter go! But I didn't!!
Another clerk popped this popcorn for me two days prior to this, giving me the coupon for the free drink I used today--at my behest, as I suggested that I would have unpopped kernels in the bottom of the tub. Well, I didn't then and I didn't today. Both times the clerks prepared my popcorn and not a single unpopped kernel in sight when I reached the bottom, save for two or three, which are normal for this type of popcorn.
The Entire Point: I ended up ranting that I'd go inform the manager, which I did, ending up pouring all the popcorn out of the tub into a plastic bag, realizing the error of my ways when I found that there were no unpopped kernels, apologizing to the manager at that point as well as the clerk at a later point. I ended up feeling useless, foolish, and wanting for social decorum and feeling as though I had really messed up on another daily chance of personal friendship building!
I felt deeply sorry, and apologized to the clerk again, after an hour or so had passed. I asked the clerk for forgiveness. I'm not afraid to admit when I've been wrong so I asked her for her forgiveness. She gave it to me! Simple and direct forgiveness!! I decided to give my emotional self a break for a change and accept it without judgment.
Give unto others the freedom to be themselves at all times. Discount minor offenses and look to the bright side of having a cover on a cup with a lot of joy inside of it. The joy will usually be drawn up through a straw after the whipped topping is scooped out by a spoon of alacrity that fits perfectly through the hole in the top of the lid!