Make your own reality
As I sat behind the library desk fulfilling my volunteer hours for Miss G’s school, this little blonde girl stormed in and beelined right for the boy sitting at the computers.
“Well, Cameron, I guess you think it’s always someone else’s job to pick up your book for you.” She slammed a book down on the table next to him. “I have better things to do, you know. How many times have you lost your book this week?”
“Uhh… one? Maybe two?”
She laughed with as much scorn as is humanly possible, swirled away and stomped off maybe even angrier than when she entered.
“Oh, okay, Cameron. Just believe what you want to believe,” she tossed over her shoulder.
After her departure, Cameron and I returned to our respective computers: me, bemused and Cameron oblivious.
From her delivery, it was clear she’d mentally rehearsed her scathing words during her however-long-walk to the library, distilling them for their most biting effect. She was so wound up over Cameron’s forgotten book that I’m sure her entire day was ruined. Maybe the next day too.
Cameron, on the other hand, seemed totally unfazed; when what’s-her-name huffed on outta there, I’m pretty sure he forgot her existence entirely.
Why does she care? It’s not her book. It doesn’t affect her one bit if Cameron doesn’t turn in his book report or flunks a test or whatever. His absentmindedness has fuck-all to do with her.
Yet her air of woeful martyrdom was unmistakable. She 100% felt that it was her job to return Cameron’s book. More than that, she convinced herself that he expected her to. And resented him for it.
He didn’t expect her to, though. The book wasn’t even on his radar. Cameron was just doing his own thing.
I’ve never seen such a perfect, perfect example of how we get stuck in realities of our own making.
There are times when others are angry because of something you screwed up that negatively affected them. Totally legitimate anger. That’s when you do your best to make amends.
And then there are times when their anger has nothing to do with you. They’re projecting their shit onto you, inventing their own story. It’s easy to get sucked into this drama. Someone hands you a script and pushes you on stage under all those hot lights and a live audience, of course you feel pressured to perform. Intimidated into a role you never agreed to, bullied into a guilt trip.
And so you try. You read every line off the script verbatim. You answer to every raised concern, every voiced accusation. You offer apologies, suggestions, resolutions.
None of this will help, though, because it’s not your reality. It’s theirs. You will be wrong until they decide to release you from the doghouse.
Except the doghouse doesn’t exist. It’s their invisible nonsense. Not yours. You’re free to come and go as you please.
Young Cameron totally personified this honey badger concept last week in the library. The girl’s anger had nothing to do with him, and he knew it. He never rose to her bait. It was her own shit, and he wanted no part of it.
She held out the script. He glanced at it briefly, said “Nah, I don’t think so” and refused to set foot on the stage.
All that choking, noxious atmosphere trailed her right back out of his world, like PigPen’s cloud of dust.
In her wake: clean air and deep breaths.
We make our own realities. You choose: someone else’s mushroom cloud or your own blue skies?