Wednesday, December 18, 2013

There Are Good Days, and Then There Are Bad...

I went to the gym yesterday to meet up with a new friend.  Found her, chatted a bit and started on my workout.  Yesterday was just cardio so I hit the treadmill for a half an hour.  There were two women to my left who seemed to know each other and were talking.  After warming up, I increased my speed and started running for a few minutes.  They seemed amazed (?), said something to each other, then the lady closest to me looked over and said something Friesian with a smile.  I said in response (also with a smile), "Sorry, I only speak English." So she nods, turns around and starts talking to her friend again as if I didn't exist.  I received no acknowledgement at all. 

*blank stare*

Wtf just happened?  I was more put off by her rudeness not acknowledging me, than by her refusal to speak English.  This is what I face here sometimes.  When I say they don't speak English here... THEY DON'T SPEAK ENGLISH HERE. 

When I detach my emotions from the situation, I can tell you she was startled at the English as it's not regularly encountered, probably felt too timid to try and it was just easier to not talk at all (at least, I hope this is it).  Was it rude?  Yes.  Is it a common response?  Not entirely.  When I ask people to say what they said in English, they get put off by it and don't repeat it at all, but at least most continue some form of conversation.  Also, if I step back, I could have approached the situation differently and responded in a way that was more open, and not perhaps closing off the conversation.

By the time I'd gathered myself together and thought of a proper, friendly response, they were done and had walked away.  Fail.

If I put my emotion back into it (like I did last night), I felt shunned, tiny, distant from a place I'm trying to connect, insignificant, like a jerk, wonder why I bother... I could make a list.  It also was a straw that broke the camels back and it felt 10 times worse than the situation actually was. It was another reminder that I'm the minority, this isn't my original home turf and I am of course the one that has to keep adapting, not necessarily them (at least I feel, more so).

My lack of response bothered me.  The past few years and the move especially, I've become this person who doesn't say anything, tries to be the nice guy and let's things just smooth over.  Anyone who knows me knows that's not who I am.  I don't get walked over.  I stand up for moments when I feel I'm being disrespected.  I give my opinion.  I'm a very passionate person.  I'm not a little mouse in the corner, I'm a raging lion.  Only, I know the reactions to the raging lion weren't always great and I have indeed become the little mouse - and now I'm trying to find a happy medium between the two.  So many circumstances have come up lately that this has now become something that I can no longer ignore.  It's time to change. 

How do you see this behaviour when you expected more of yourself and are disappointed on so many levels... and still practice self-compassion?  Brené Brown suggests expressing this intention, "I will talk to myself the same way I talk to the people I love."  When your best friend or partner is beating on themselves for particular behaviour, do you say, "Yeah, you're being a jerk. You really shouldn't have done that. What were you thinking?"  No.  We approach them with love and kindness and give them the best empathetic response we can.  It doesn't make saying that to ourselves any more acceptable. 

I have to practice what I preach.  Which is not easy.

Y'know what?  It really sucks having to be a grown up sometimes.  The only thing I wanted last night was to shut off, escape somewhere where my problems ceased to exist.  I wanted to not make an effort.  I wanted my home, my city, my street, my cat, my friends.  I wanted the familiar.  I am building a (fantastic) friend base here, but it just didn't feel the same to reach out to them.  I wanted to call someone up from back home, go for a coffee and vent it off and go window shopping. 

Instead, I cried it off, called it a day, woke up and brushed myself off and am trying this thing called life integration again.  Hiccups will happen, I know that.  This just reminded me to keep my wits about me and to try and remain more open to those around me who might have a harder time at adjusting to conversation than I do. 

In the end I am thankful I get to learn about myself.  Onward and upward!


hydra said...

Can't believe how rude those women were. But instead of the raging lion, maybe you should become a smaller cat. Like Babu. One thing I loved about spending time in another country was the ability to detach and observe, which is a great gift for a writer. Have you thought of keeping a journal? Or perhaps this blog IS your journal, in which case I feel privileged to be allowed to share it. Homesickness is horrid. I was once so desperately unhappy in Spain that I felt like packing a bag and starting the long walk home - anything to put fewer miles between myself and all I held dear. But that lurch in the stomach, pang in the blood feeling did pass as soon as learned how to live in the now. You made the move for love. You are loved. That is the warm centre from which you venture out, and into whose embrace you can return. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

Perovskia said...

I do a lot of observing. I do have a journal, but I haven't written in it half as often as I used to. Yeah, the blog seems to be more of my 'journalling' these days. It helps.
Thank you for your encouragement and kind words. It's helped :)

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