Am I Part of the Problem, Part 2

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Normally, I get along really well with those around me. Throughout my life, I have learned how to communicate with different kinds of people, although I have to admit, it comes pretty naturally. Even from a young age, my family would call me the peacemaker — because I was always liaising between my two sisters, because I could naturally see both sides and communicate to both. My dad once told me that he thought it was neat how I could talk to anyone about anything. 🙂

Lately, though, I’ve had occasion to not see eye-to-eye with one man who comes in to my workplace periodically. I’m not the only one to not get along with this fella — he has a chip on his shoulder, that’s for sure. I’ve caught myself thinking about the next time I have to interact with him. What will he say? What will I say?

Last time, I had to strongly defend a friend of mine whom he started to put down. That’s not something I have to do very often. It was a slightly heart-pounding experience; it was a conflict-creating move for someone whose nature is much more about conflict-avoidance. Although I learned to deal with conflict in my first marriage, it still makes my heart thump a little harder.

So what’s the deal with this guy? Why is he so obstinate? I was thinking that in our next conversation, perhaps I should try to be more understanding, try to see his side. And then I recalled something he said that really struck me. He said “people are always keeping information from me, so that I can’t do my job properly.” At the time, I proceeded to tell him more about how his job interfaces with mine, explaining things that might have been “kept from him.” Later I thought, buddy, it’s your responsibility to find out whatever you need to in order to do your job. In future conversations, perhaps I could try and explain that if he could do away with that victim-stance, and the chip on his shoulder, he’d do better. His air is so confrontational, perhaps he could try a co-operative mode instead.

But I don’t think he can do it. It’s too far from his modus-operandi. It’s too big a stretch. I don’t think he knows how to co-operate. I honestly don’t think he’s learned how to work co-operatively with others… which is too bad, because the pattern for his life isn’t likely to change otherwise.

Of course, I always like to turn the tables, look in the mirror and see how this applies to me. Is there something that I don’t know how to do, which affects the direction my life is taking? Is there something that I would benefit from learning?

Hmmm… does accounting count? That’s certainly not one of my strengths! But hot damn, I’ve been learning! 🙂 How about you? If you could step outside yourself, what advice would you give yourself? What might another person — a wise, helpful person — suggest you try doing?

I also have to ask myself, am I part of the problem? Wouldn’t this man’s experience be different without me here? Kind of turns it upside down doesn’t it? He and I wouldn’t be having this conflict-filled experience if I weren’t here, or if I were different… So, I must have some conflict in me, which isn’t a bad thing or a mortal flaw. I simply must have been sending out some fightin’ vibes the day he talked bad about my friend. I haven’t had any run-ins since then, which I take as evidence that I’m feeling better about life now!

As usual, I just enjoy giving you some things to think about! 🙂

Related Posts:

Am I Part of the Problem?
How not to be a Bitch
It Takes One to Know One


The Saga of the Hair Catastrophe

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A couple of months ago, I had a slight accident involving hair dye. Although I am a natural blonde — I know, they all say that! — I do dye my hair sometimes to cover the, ahem, grey hairs that I am not ready to see yet. And just to lighten it a little! Well, I had some time and had a frosting kit of some sort and decided to try something new this time — I wanted to lighten my roots a little. You see, my hair grows really fast, so roots can be a problem. I had used this kit a couple of months before, and now my grey-blonde roots were beginning to show.

Oh, if only I had left things alone! Anyhow, I mixed a batch of the dye, applied it where I thought I needed it — about a 3″ stripe on top of my head (to cover one-and-a-half inches of roots on either side of my main part). I made a note of the time and then promptly lost track of it. I washed dishes and watched a couple of episodes of Corner Gas on YouTube. All of a sudden, I saw the time and knew it had been too long. I went to the bathroom and noticed immediately that the dye goop looked really dry. Oh well, I thought, and I proceeded to rinse it out using the tub faucet. After I was done, I stood up and got the tiniest glimpse of myself in the mirror, out of the corner of my eye, and nearly had a heart attack.

My roots were white! Well, white-blonde, and it was BAD! I shrieked, tore off my clothes, leaped into the shower and frantically started shampooing my hair! My heart was pounding so hard — harder than when I go on fire calls, I am not kidding!! I tried to calm myself down, saying that it wouldn’t be that bad, it was going to be okay, but honestly, it looked so fried, I was afraid that my hair might fall out! Luckily, it didn’t, but all the extra shampooing didn’t make my roots any darker.

After I got out of the shower, heart still pounding, I took a closer look at the damage. It was NOT good. The hair was dyed to the colour of the lead singer of Roxette… oh man. I had plans to go over to see some friends, but I actually called and cancelled (even though I had really been looking forward to it). It was really bad. I thought about taking a picture, because I knew I would end up blogging about it some day. I didn’t actually take the picture, but in a way, I wish I had.

Now what to do? I needed to darken this hair, and fast! Nothing was open — it was probably getting close to midnight by this point — so I googled “natural brown hair dyes.” I was pretty sure I could use coffee, and yup, I was right. I was still in a bit of a panic, so rather than make a fresh strong cup, I went to the coffee maker and dumped the morning’s grounds right on my head! I added a little liquid coffee and put a (coincidentally) brown washcloth on my head to sort of hold the coffee there. And waited. This was going to take some time.

I don’t remember how I passed the time — on my computer, just surfing the web, I think — before I checked the coffee-dye progress. Not much difference. But, I could sort of see a darkish spot where a particularly thick chunk of grounds had been, so I knew there was hope. I repeated the process, rubbing the grounds in a bit more, and cleaned up the huge mess I was making with coffee grounds everywhere in the bathroom.

At some point in the night, despite the cutaneous caffeine dosage, I got too tired to stay up any longer, so I rinsed the coffee out as best I could and went to bed. In the morning, I found some nasty instant coffee and mixed up a batch of barely-liquid coffee — just a tiny bit to make it dissolve — and dabbed it on my hair. It was like brown paint, so I was pretty sure it would work well. I drove to High Level that way, with the coffee drying and hopefully tinting my ridiculous roots to a darker shade. Any darker shade.

I worked, sort of. And if I put my hair in a pony tail straight back, it didn’t look too horrendous. And if I kept a baseball cap on. For a few days, I continued to dab coffee concoctions on my head. Aye-ya-yiy! It was tinting my hair, slowly, with a slight reddish-brown twinge. After much debate, I decided to try using a light brown root touch-up kit. I was so nervous about doing it — would it fry my hair even more? Would it make it better and not worse? — and I only left it on for about 5 minutes. It didn’t do much. A couple of weeks later, I re-did the brown and left it on longer and it worked better. I don’t ever want to dye my hair again!

So now, my long blonde hair kind of goes, from the top down, grey-blonde for about a half inch (roots again!), reddish brownish blonde for about an inch and half, then warm blonde (my usual colour) then gradually lighter yet (from a frosting kit from over a year ago). Madness. I used to love that my hair was all-natural! Not anymore. Back in the day (pre-colouring of any kind), I even got a compliment from a hairdresser on what a nice colour my hair was! Not anymore. And I’ve had some interesting thoughts about it all.

I guess it doesn’t look too bad…. 🙂

Why do I care so much what I look like? I didn’t think I cared much at all, but apparently I do. I don’t wear make-up and I’m not fussy about what I wear, but my hair is different. What did it matter if I had grey hair? I don’t know, but it did. I have never obsessed about my hair colour like I did after that mistake! I had to part my hair on the opposite side, which Darren told me is a sign in the military world that you are doing something under duress (like if a hostage has to make a video statement, he will part his hair on the opposite side from his usual style). Well, I felt like I was under duress. But I mean, what did it really matter? Lots of my friends dye their hair and I never think badly of them (mind you, they do a nice job of it). What I worried about most was that it would be obvious, look silly and everyone would know that A) I dye my own hair (no professional would do that!!) and B) that I’m not a 100% natural blonde. Those were my primary concerns, when I boiled it down.

My natural tendency whenever I have a new realization is to ask why. Why did those things matter? I always revert to the question of “why.” This time, though, I have a new idea: who cares about why? And I don’t even have to change it. Instead, I will just focus on what I want and ignore the present conditions (which is very important for manifesting new things, I have discovered). It’s like Rev. Patrick says — instead of asking “how’s it going,” which essentially asks someone to recount their past to you, we should ask “where ya going?” This gets them looking to the future and what they want from now on. I like it. I think I’m going to start doing that. After all, I decided a while back that I really am a good writer, that writing comes easily and I have lots of good ideas, and look at me now! I am blogging like crazy (23 posts on 4 blogs since July 1) and most of the time, my writing doesn’t even need much editing. Sometimes, I blast out a new post from an idea I just had in less than 15 minutes. Wow, I amaze myself!

So I don’t know if there is a moral to this story. If there was one, perhaps it would be something like “don’t ever lose track of time when dyeing your hair” or “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Perhaps the best one of all would be “you are beautiful and you don’t need anything from a drug store to improve on your beauty.” I like that one best.

Not the Captain

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I’m back after a week on the York boat, this time as a simple crew member instead of Captain. What a difference it was to not have to make every decision and feel the weight of responsibility for everything that happens on the boat. I felt so much more relaxed than I did last year and it really was like a vacation. Jae was the captain, and it was interesting to see him act almost exactly as I did last year – a bit like looking in a mirror. I could see him considering the best place to come ashore, the best way to set up the oars to be bridges to shore, the best route in the river, looking for the best current and making a hundred other decisions about things that happen over the course of the day.

You know, it was stressful to be Captain. Responsibility weighs heavy on the person in charge. But if no one was ever willing to take that on, who would lead? I suppose the people with the most ambition or the most nefarious plans would be happy to take it on, and they would probably not even feel the responsibility of making good decisions, leading the group to the best possible outcome and with the most safety. I am really glad that Jae was willing to take this responsibility on when I couldn’t, and I know it was a heavy burden and a lot of work!

In a similar way, we can sometimes be unwilling to take responsibility for what goes on in our own lives. We can easily fall into the trap of thinking that things happen because of fate, or the government, or for no reason at all, rather than admitting that we have made the bed we lie in, and if it’s lumpy and uncomfortable, we have no one else to blame. The responsibility for our lives doesn’t have to be a heavy weight – we can consider it a great honour, a puzzle or interesting challenge, or game — it’s fun to think of creating our designer life! And it is easier to stay lighthearted if you take it in small portions – one day at a time, or even just the morning drive, the morning at work, the afternoon, and the evening. What would you like your day to look like? Smooth flowing traffic? Interesting work? Productive times and good interactions with coworkers? You can think about what you would like, and when you believe it is possible, it’s a good deal more likely to occur. If you can focus on it so intensely that it’s all you see, and there isn’t any way for it to possibly be different, then it is as good as done – it’s only a matter of time!

Anyways, just a few ponderings for now! Pictures from the York boat trip will have to wait while I find the cable to my camera… Go have some adventures!