It's always someone else.

Posted by Sherry Roit on Wednesday, December 8, 2010 Under: General
I'm sitting here drinking tea, thinking about an event that happened about two weeks ago. (And cursing my computer, but that's another story.)

I committed a random act of compassion about two weeks ago. Perhaps saved a life, if I want to be lofty. Definitely did the sensible thing.

That's it right there: sensible.

I've been trying to come up with a word for what I witnessed, that is, one of the illnesses that plagues society, but I've not had success, yet. There just isn't one word to sum it up.

Allow me to back up, to set the scene.

I was out for my morning run, though at this point in our story, I had slowed to a walk to rest heavy muscles for a few moments. Walking up the sidewalk, yards away, I see a couple just out of their condo, and think aw, an early morning walk together, how nice. As I watch, they begin to look troubled, especially the woman. I begin to wonder if they're having a quiet argument. Being a writer, my brain spins off on its own stories about these two. In the meantime, I realize there's a lot of commotion above my head. Several seagulls are circling in the sky a few feet away, over the street. I think, that's an awful lot of seagulls inland this morning. And I hear crows. Several of them. At first I think they're just agitating the gulls, which crows are often wont to do. But no; there's something in the street. From the distance, I think a crow is picking at a large white bag.

Then I realize the bag has independent, conscious movement.

It's a gull. It's injured, lying in the median, flopping in the street. That's what the woman ahead is staring at, and probably why she was looking so distressed, probably begging her husband to do something, and admonishing him when he didn't.

I reach them, and she tells me it was hit by a car. I'm immediately irritated with the driver of the car. You don't hit a bird the size of a gull and not know it. I think, the driver could at least have called someone. The two people on the sidewalk with me are just standing there staring at the bird, whose wing is, if I may be blunt, completely fucked up. As I look, I swear it's close to having been twisted OFF. He is pushing with his head, trying to right himself, to move away from the crows and random car. I look at the couple and say, "I don't have a phone on me. Call animal control, at least."

They look at me like this is the most brilliant thing they've NEVER heard of. Like thank god, someone has a clue, and they whip out iPhones. Meanwhile, I'm thinking...duh, people. Granted, some would say I signed the bird's death warrant. That AC will destroy it. I don't think Seattle's AC is quite that quick to do such things, however; anything is better than seeing the poor thing suffer and be squashed in the street. It's very, very early on a Sunday; I knew of no vet to call.

As they Google, I assume, the number, I look out into the street and cringe, because a car is coming and the bird is flopping and I just know it's going to get hit again, and I think: someone should do something right NOW.

Well for fuck's sake: I'm someone!

I walked out into the street after the car blessedly missed the bird, calculating how I'm going to pick it up without further injuring its wing, as that wing is pointing straight up and I can see the bone. I approach slowly, as the bird is freaked out. A lucky hop of the bird and his wings go down; I grab him (carefully) as another car is approaching. They slow, stop, when they see me. I carry the bird back to the safety of the grass by the sidewalk. It's gone rather limp, calm in my hands, as I understand injured birds sometimes do. Play dead for the predator. I lay him at that couple's feet, and stroke it. The bird rights itself, and settles. I know then, that he can live. It's not beyond hope. The couple is standing there amazed. The woman looks at me and says:

"That was so brave."

I bite back my immediate reply (ies). What the fuck was so brave about that?
It's a bird, and a rather empty street, Sunday morning.
It was the right thing to do.

You weren't doing a damned thing.

I remind them to call. They go back to their phones. I'll never know for certain what happened after that. I was on a tight schedule. I had to work that day. I still had a mile to get back home and get ready for work. But at least I know the poor bird didn't suffer in the street, didn't become a pancake. And I know that maybe, hopefully(!), I caused those people to stop and think about a thing or two, because I know it made me think about a few things, as clearly, I'm writing about it.

I thought a lot about how it's so easy to stand there and think somebody do something. How often people stand there and wait for someone ELSE to take over.  I can't stand it, and yet I found myself thinking it that morning, too, and when I mentally slapped myself out of it, I thought about other times I must've stood there and waited for someone to do something. But not that morning. Not ever again, I hope. That's what I don't have a word for; how easy it is for people to stand there and wait for someone else to do something, some of them filming it for youtube, or twittering, or too apathetic, or just plain scared for whatever reason. There was a man attacked on a bus a few months ago, some of you may have read about it. It was like this bird. People talked about how horrible it was, but NO ONE DID ANYTHING. There were SEVERAL people on the bus when this old  man was jumped, but NO ONE DID ANYTHING.

Except film it, that is.

So...listen, I understand if you think you might be in a situation where you could be killed, too. Where you could be hurt. But ask yourself; how many times have you thought that someone should do something, all the while forgetting that YOU ARE SOMEONE. Even if it's just to help a person pick up their dropped groceries. YOU ARE SOMEONE. Even if it's just to call for help.

YOU. ARE. SOMEONE.

Now...this next may seem unrelated, but it does spin off this being someone theme. Something that's plagued humanity far too much (in my eyes) for the last several years, is not taking responsibility for one's own actions. All the sue-happy shit, all the victim playing, and make no mistake, that's what it is. I know; it's so easy to play victim. I know it is, because I did it in my earlier years, up through my twenties. There are instances where plenty of people would tell me to this day, I was the victim, and they'd not be completely mistaken. Abusive boyfriend? Yes, makes me a victim. But you see, around 1995, I did some heavy soul searching, some assessing of my life, and discovered that even with that boyfriend, I had some personal responsibility. This doesn't mean that he wasn't wrong. It doesn't mean that I beat myself up over it, and called myself stupid. It means I assessed the steps and the logic of how I ended up there and what I did or didn't do to end it sooner, and such.

That's an extreme case, I know. But think of all the little things we blame on someone else, thus placing ourselves in the victim role. Think of all the people you've heard whinging about not having a choice, about how so and so "made them..." fill in the blank.

No one MAKES you anything. They may do you wrong, and you may have an immediate, emotional reaction, yes. But how you proceed after that, is YOUR choice. If you remain angry for days and days, that is YOUR CHOICE. What you do about it, is YOUR choice. There is always a choice. The other choices may be less attractive, may be hard, but they are there. So decide which one you're making and then live with it, and stop blaming it on everyone else.

You'll find it's very empowering.

Hey, I'm not saying I'm perfect at this. Part of the reason I'm writing about it, is here and there, lately, I find myself trying to be a victim, again. But I'm not. I am only if I allow myself to be.

Empowering, precious. So empowering, to take responsibility. Even claiming my part in allowing myself to be in the position I was with that abusive boyfriend. Far from making me feel like a horrible person, far from victimizing myself more after the fact, I was empowered by the knowledge that I had choices. Empowered by the positive things I found during this soul searching, as well. Because for every choice that might have been "wrong", there were others I could be proud of. Such as the fact that it didn't go on that long because I DID get out. I did make some good choices. That learning something, perhaps, was part of the point. To be in another woman's shoes, when I used to wonder why they stayed. I understand better, now. I can sympathize, now. I also know the signs, now, and maybe, just maybe, I could give some advice on getting out.

Realizing you are in charge of your life is scary, I know. It takes work, I know. It means you have to work. It means you can't take the easy way out in blaming other people. Being that honest with yourself, as I was, is scary. It's difficult. It's easy to bash yourself. But it's not about bashing yourself and letting everyone else off the hook. It's about reclaiming your power. Your integrity. Your strength. Your control. Reclaiming your resources, your wisdom, your chutzpah!

Does anyone really like to be so out of control? Because the victim role doesn't give you control, you realize. No sir, it doesn't. I don't care who tells you it does, or pretends like it does. It might make them feel the center of attention, might make them feel like they're in charge, but that's a not so pretty lie. That only works in BDSM, if done right. But we're not talking about safe, consensual sex games, right now. Key word being consensual. For what I'm talking about, there's always one (and sometimes both) person(s) in the dark as to what their role is.

Hate your job, think your boss makes you crazy? Get a new job. It might not happen quickly, might take some extra effort, but it's in YOUR power. Don't want to, it's too much work right now? Then suck it up, buttercup. Make the best of what you've got. Stop playing victim. Hate where you live? Move. Yup, again, it might take some work, but it's up to you. And so on, and so forth.

I realize I've wound up streaming a bit here, perhaps, but sometimes it has to be done. If you read this far— thank you. If it makes you think— fantastic.

Now go be someone. And man-up, buttercups. Though I forgive you if you sometimes do a little blaming/whining. We all do. It's human. Sometimes we don't want to hear that we have a choice. We don't want our medicine. Sometimes we just need to feel. I understand that. Just don't forget to man-up when it counts. ;)

In : General 


Tags: life  roles 
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It's always someone else.

Posted by Sherry Roit on Wednesday, December 8, 2010 Under: General
I'm sitting here drinking tea, thinking about an event that happened about two weeks ago. (And cursing my computer, but that's another story.)

I committed a random act of compassion about two weeks ago. Perhaps saved a life, if I want to be lofty. Definitely did the sensible thing.

That's it right there: sensible.

I've been trying to come up with a word for what I witnessed, that is, one of the illnesses that plagues society, but I've not had success, yet. There just isn't one word to sum it up.

Allow me to back up, to set the scene.

I was out for my morning run, though at this point in our story, I had slowed to a walk to rest heavy muscles for a few moments. Walking up the sidewalk, yards away, I see a couple just out of their condo, and think aw, an early morning walk together, how nice. As I watch, they begin to look troubled, especially the woman. I begin to wonder if they're having a quiet argument. Being a writer, my brain spins off on its own stories about these two. In the meantime, I realize there's a lot of commotion above my head. Several seagulls are circling in the sky a few feet away, over the street. I think, that's an awful lot of seagulls inland this morning. And I hear crows. Several of them. At first I think they're just agitating the gulls, which crows are often wont to do. But no; there's something in the street. From the distance, I think a crow is picking at a large white bag.

Then I realize the bag has independent, conscious movement.

It's a gull. It's injured, lying in the median, flopping in the street. That's what the woman ahead is staring at, and probably why she was looking so distressed, probably begging her husband to do something, and admonishing him when he didn't.

I reach them, and she tells me it was hit by a car. I'm immediately irritated with the driver of the car. You don't hit a bird the size of a gull and not know it. I think, the driver could at least have called someone. The two people on the sidewalk with me are just standing there staring at the bird, whose wing is, if I may be blunt, completely fucked up. As I look, I swear it's close to having been twisted OFF. He is pushing with his head, trying to right himself, to move away from the crows and random car. I look at the couple and say, "I don't have a phone on me. Call animal control, at least."

They look at me like this is the most brilliant thing they've NEVER heard of. Like thank god, someone has a clue, and they whip out iPhones. Meanwhile, I'm thinking...duh, people. Granted, some would say I signed the bird's death warrant. That AC will destroy it. I don't think Seattle's AC is quite that quick to do such things, however; anything is better than seeing the poor thing suffer and be squashed in the street. It's very, very early on a Sunday; I knew of no vet to call.

As they Google, I assume, the number, I look out into the street and cringe, because a car is coming and the bird is flopping and I just know it's going to get hit again, and I think: someone should do something right NOW.

Well for fuck's sake: I'm someone!

I walked out into the street after the car blessedly missed the bird, calculating how I'm going to pick it up without further injuring its wing, as that wing is pointing straight up and I can see the bone. I approach slowly, as the bird is freaked out. A lucky hop of the bird and his wings go down; I grab him (carefully) as another car is approaching. They slow, stop, when they see me. I carry the bird back to the safety of the grass by the sidewalk. It's gone rather limp, calm in my hands, as I understand injured birds sometimes do. Play dead for the predator. I lay him at that couple's feet, and stroke it. The bird rights itself, and settles. I know then, that he can live. It's not beyond hope. The couple is standing there amazed. The woman looks at me and says:

"That was so brave."

I bite back my immediate reply (ies). What the fuck was so brave about that?
It's a bird, and a rather empty street, Sunday morning.
It was the right thing to do.

You weren't doing a damned thing.

I remind them to call. They go back to their phones. I'll never know for certain what happened after that. I was on a tight schedule. I had to work that day. I still had a mile to get back home and get ready for work. But at least I know the poor bird didn't suffer in the street, didn't become a pancake. And I know that maybe, hopefully(!), I caused those people to stop and think about a thing or two, because I know it made me think about a few things, as clearly, I'm writing about it.

I thought a lot about how it's so easy to stand there and think somebody do something. How often people stand there and wait for someone ELSE to take over.  I can't stand it, and yet I found myself thinking it that morning, too, and when I mentally slapped myself out of it, I thought about other times I must've stood there and waited for someone to do something. But not that morning. Not ever again, I hope. That's what I don't have a word for; how easy it is for people to stand there and wait for someone else to do something, some of them filming it for youtube, or twittering, or too apathetic, or just plain scared for whatever reason. There was a man attacked on a bus a few months ago, some of you may have read about it. It was like this bird. People talked about how horrible it was, but NO ONE DID ANYTHING. There were SEVERAL people on the bus when this old  man was jumped, but NO ONE DID ANYTHING.

Except film it, that is.

So...listen, I understand if you think you might be in a situation where you could be killed, too. Where you could be hurt. But ask yourself; how many times have you thought that someone should do something, all the while forgetting that YOU ARE SOMEONE. Even if it's just to help a person pick up their dropped groceries. YOU ARE SOMEONE. Even if it's just to call for help.

YOU. ARE. SOMEONE.

Now...this next may seem unrelated, but it does spin off this being someone theme. Something that's plagued humanity far too much (in my eyes) for the last several years, is not taking responsibility for one's own actions. All the sue-happy shit, all the victim playing, and make no mistake, that's what it is. I know; it's so easy to play victim. I know it is, because I did it in my earlier years, up through my twenties. There are instances where plenty of people would tell me to this day, I was the victim, and they'd not be completely mistaken. Abusive boyfriend? Yes, makes me a victim. But you see, around 1995, I did some heavy soul searching, some assessing of my life, and discovered that even with that boyfriend, I had some personal responsibility. This doesn't mean that he wasn't wrong. It doesn't mean that I beat myself up over it, and called myself stupid. It means I assessed the steps and the logic of how I ended up there and what I did or didn't do to end it sooner, and such.

That's an extreme case, I know. But think of all the little things we blame on someone else, thus placing ourselves in the victim role. Think of all the people you've heard whinging about not having a choice, about how so and so "made them..." fill in the blank.

No one MAKES you anything. They may do you wrong, and you may have an immediate, emotional reaction, yes. But how you proceed after that, is YOUR choice. If you remain angry for days and days, that is YOUR CHOICE. What you do about it, is YOUR choice. There is always a choice. The other choices may be less attractive, may be hard, but they are there. So decide which one you're making and then live with it, and stop blaming it on everyone else.

You'll find it's very empowering.

Hey, I'm not saying I'm perfect at this. Part of the reason I'm writing about it, is here and there, lately, I find myself trying to be a victim, again. But I'm not. I am only if I allow myself to be.

Empowering, precious. So empowering, to take responsibility. Even claiming my part in allowing myself to be in the position I was with that abusive boyfriend. Far from making me feel like a horrible person, far from victimizing myself more after the fact, I was empowered by the knowledge that I had choices. Empowered by the positive things I found during this soul searching, as well. Because for every choice that might have been "wrong", there were others I could be proud of. Such as the fact that it didn't go on that long because I DID get out. I did make some good choices. That learning something, perhaps, was part of the point. To be in another woman's shoes, when I used to wonder why they stayed. I understand better, now. I can sympathize, now. I also know the signs, now, and maybe, just maybe, I could give some advice on getting out.

Realizing you are in charge of your life is scary, I know. It takes work, I know. It means you have to work. It means you can't take the easy way out in blaming other people. Being that honest with yourself, as I was, is scary. It's difficult. It's easy to bash yourself. But it's not about bashing yourself and letting everyone else off the hook. It's about reclaiming your power. Your integrity. Your strength. Your control. Reclaiming your resources, your wisdom, your chutzpah!

Does anyone really like to be so out of control? Because the victim role doesn't give you control, you realize. No sir, it doesn't. I don't care who tells you it does, or pretends like it does. It might make them feel the center of attention, might make them feel like they're in charge, but that's a not so pretty lie. That only works in BDSM, if done right. But we're not talking about safe, consensual sex games, right now. Key word being consensual. For what I'm talking about, there's always one (and sometimes both) person(s) in the dark as to what their role is.

Hate your job, think your boss makes you crazy? Get a new job. It might not happen quickly, might take some extra effort, but it's in YOUR power. Don't want to, it's too much work right now? Then suck it up, buttercup. Make the best of what you've got. Stop playing victim. Hate where you live? Move. Yup, again, it might take some work, but it's up to you. And so on, and so forth.

I realize I've wound up streaming a bit here, perhaps, but sometimes it has to be done. If you read this far— thank you. If it makes you think— fantastic.

Now go be someone. And man-up, buttercups. Though I forgive you if you sometimes do a little blaming/whining. We all do. It's human. Sometimes we don't want to hear that we have a choice. We don't want our medicine. Sometimes we just need to feel. I understand that. Just don't forget to man-up when it counts. ;)

In : General 


Tags: life  roles 
blog comments powered by Disqus
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