Man. I just played hardball. And it was so nerve-wracking…but I did it. And I got my pay for my photography up at Terhune’s more than doubled. I can’t believe what I did. But I stood up for myself and I told them they were taking advantage of me because I’m nice and I’ve never said anything like that before…but I said it. Straight to my boss and my neighbor. And hopefully she respects me for it. Man what a crazy feeling. And how long have I walked through my life letting people take advantage of me.

It’s strange how everything moves you in directions. Prepares you. And you can’t see the threads until the very end…but maybe all of this bullshit this summer dealing with people walking all over me finally brought me to the point where I could stand up for myself in a situation where it actually mattered. Where it was actually productive.

And I created this photography job for myself out of thin air. And I’m proud of myself. And I should be.

So I went to NYC yesterday. And it always gives me perspective. Shakes and rattles me up a bit. And it was very difficult. It was really one of those moments as a mother where you just feel like you have no patience left. Jamie was just screaming his head off in everywhere. Riding in a packed subway with one hand holding the bar and one hand holding this one-year-old and him just screaming in your face and trying to bite you. But I don’t chalk that up to “oh he’s crazy”. No, I feel bad because he is THAT tired. He is THAT overwhelmed. He is THAT overstimulated. We need to have compassion and recognize the difficult situations we put our children in rather than the other way around.

And I guess it’s like that with everyone. I need to keep always realizing where the other person is coming from. What they are experiencing. And stop calling each other crazy. Or labeling behavior as simply “bad.” There are so many things that go into “behavior.” Behavior is just this tiny way that humans try to throw their souls out of their body. But sometimes there are so many barriers they hit along the way that it all comes out jumbled. We have to stop labeling people’s behaviors immediately and start having more patience and compassion for each other. And the difficult thing it is to be a person.

People like to talk about how “wrong” something is…we all like to talk about right and wrong in behavior as if there is some quantifiable way to articulate that. But somethings certain people excel at while other things they might not. We need to look to each others intentions. And acknowledge everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and work with them in a sensitive way. OK. Having issues is not a problem. Having issues is a given. Let’s have compassion for each other’s issues. And look at people’s behavior in a more complex and intelligent way rather than just deeming it “right” or “wrong” based on societal constructs (and often without context). I have abandonment issues. Ok, simple. My dad left the house one day when I was 14 years old and never came back. But ok. We can work with it. Like we work with everything. We can break and we can heal but maybe we would all find more peace and more complex, understanding relationships if we didn’t just hate each other for not always, immediately responding in the “right” way. Let’s give each other patience and recognize what is happening.

Maybe we should just be patient with each other’s baggage rather than always deem it as a red flag. Kara used to sort of alarm me with how little patience she had for any “bad” behavior from guys. Feminists seem to do this a lot, it seems. Get very self-righteous about women’s struggles without realizing that this society is really brutal towards both genders. In a lot of ways I feel it sometimes more difficult to be a man in this society than a woman. At least there is a conversation being had about women. You’re not even allowed to raise a voice about repression of men and a narrow picture of what a man is without it being somehow innately offensive to women. And this is a catch 22 which I find to be really unproductive. Men are not given the tools that women are. To equip them emotionally. To learn about any sort of emotional intelligence. I honestly would say the box of what a “man” is supposed to be is significantly smaller than what society views the box of what a “woman” is supposed to be these days.

It has taken me a long time…but I really think I have finally understood that male need for space. To actually just back away. And it difficult for me because my baggage comes flaring into view and I feel like I’m being abandoned or rejected but if I had only given certain men some space at points in my life…I think a lot of things would be very different. Maybe I would still be with certain people…and ultimately that wouldn’t have been right for my life…but still I wish I could have learned this lesson sooner. You talk to your girlfriends and they say fuck that, that asshole, blah blah blah, tell him x y or z…but sometimes we just have to respect the delicate ecology of a man’s needs. That does NOT mean you have to put up with shit and get walked all over…but I do think that a lot of the rhetoric we engage in about relationships is largely bullshit and sometimes not very well fleshed out. I think it’s because there’s a lot of confusion…there’s this meshing of all sorts of ideas and nothing is extremely coherent.

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