What I Think About at Lunch

Originally posted Mar. 7th

For some reason, I start out with the premise that I can learn Arabic just by hanging out with the Saudi boys on campus. It’s not that hard- they say everything with their hands and their eyebrows. Or at least, it’s not that hard until I realize that several minutes have gone by and I haven’t understood anything. Ali can switch between Arabic and English pretty handily. Yossef cannot. I often say things slower and louder, as if I am visiting Saudi Arabia as a tourist.

Do not let Yossef fool you, though. He knows more English than he lets on. Apparently, English words make a lot more sense when there’s a lot of Arabic around it. For instance, Yossef does not know the words “dog” or “sandwich.” But get him on the phone and all of the sudden, he knows things like “double major.”

I kidded him today that we should just switch to Arabic. I said, “salaam alaikum.” He said “Akbar.” I said, “you have now reached the end of my Arabic.” Everyone laughed except Yossef, who looked on quizzically. When it was translated for him, he nearly fell off a park bench.

These boys are one of the best parts of my day. The fact that they accept me for who I am and just let me hang out with them is a miracle. I don’t know that they realize I am a gay person (hell, I’m not even sure if they know I’m female), and I’m not going to tell them. It might ruin what we have… and what we have is a dorky white female trying to learn about their culture because I’ve watched “Little Mosque on the Prairie.”

Yossef and I have more in common than the rest of the boys, which is sad because I don’t know how to talk to him. In Saudi, he works in the king’s palace as tech support, which Ali told me because Yossef wanted to know where I worked as well. These friendships are easy and unencumbered, because I’m not really part of the crew. I’m the lady that knows English. Yossef says that it’s fun to practice. It will be more fun for me when I don’t have to have Ali translate because Yossef’s verb agreement is upside down and backwards.

I call them “boys” even though they are married or betrothed. This is because there is a school on campus called “Pacific International Academy,” which is a preparatory school before college to give them a leg up on language. They’re young, almost painfully so to be so encumbered with life- the balance between their lives in Saudi and their lives in Portland is difficult. Salim’s mother doesn’t drive, and he takes her everywhere. More than once I have heard Salim talking her off the ceiling because she is losing her mind over her baby being so far away and unable to take her to the market. I told him to watch the video “Why Saudi Women Shouldn’t Drive” to make him feel better. He responded by pulling out his phone, looking up the video, and snorting Mountain Dew through his nose and across the room.

They are also mischievous in their own right. The first time I met Yossef, I told him that I liked his shoes. Ali translated that into “she likes the way your wife dresses you.” Then it was my turn for soda to come out of my nose.

Being with them is a mind worm. I wonder what will happen to them when they leave PIA. I wonder if they will stay here long enough to finish a degree. I wonder if Salim’s mother will chill out long enough to let her baby fly, because he is so attached to her that there is no way he won’t go back *eventually.* I worry that they’re getting enough out of school to really make a difference in their English… not because *I* want them to learn it, but because it’s so important to them.

So that’s what goes through my mind as the lunch sun beats down on us and Yossef is leaning in the grass, singing ancient Arabic tunes to a drum beat no one else hears.

 

Platform

Yesterday was red letter for “Stories,” and I couldn’t have done it without help from my friends. Kristie Berthelotte shared my piece on marriage, and within one day, 47 people had read it. For someone who just started a blog, that’s incredible. It’s more attention than I deserve, and I am grateful.

But part of the reason I’m grateful is that those 47 people gave me a platform to say what I wanted to say, and took it all in.

In her last episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah said something poignant that I will share here:

When I started, not even I imagined that this show would have the depth and the reach that you all have given it. It has been a privilege for me to speak to you here in this studio, in this country and in 150 countries around the world on this platform that is The Oprah Winfrey Show. You let me into your homes to talk to you every day. This is what you allowed me to do, and I thank you for that. But what I want you to know as this show ends: Each one of you has your own platform. Do not let the trappings here fool you. Mine is a stage in a studio, yours is wherever you are with your own reach, however small or however large that reach is. Maybe it’s 20 people, maybe it’s 30 people, 40 people, your family, your friends, your neighbors, your classmates, your classroom, your co-workers. Wherever you are, that is your platform, your stage, your circle of influence. That is your talk show, and that is where your power lies.

That one paragraph encompasses everything I want to do with this web site. I want to use my platform to share goofy stories and bad jokes and awful colloquialisms in the hopes that I can change minds and hearts. I never forget that I have the chance to change someone’s opinion about something, and to do it in the absolutely best way I know how- writing for people to read.

Why would I say that?

Because I am just presenting my side of the story. You’ll take it away, mull it over, and decide whether I’m right or not. There’s no being put “on the spot,” no need for a reply. It’s just a way to put things out there.

You decide what you’re going to do with it.

The very beauty of a blog. If you get offended, you can click somewhere else. If you don’t, maybe something will resonate and you’ll pass it on. Either way, I am grateful for the chance to be heard.

Welcome to my platform.

Seventeen Cents

On Dec. 20, 1990, I was the only one home when our house started burning. These are my recollections, originally written for my web site in 2005.

———–

My hair was in curlers. I was wearing black pumps, black pantyhose, and a Snoopy nightgown. I was watching The New Mickey Mouse Club on television because it was keeping my mind off of the dance I was preparing for later in the evening. My mother and sister had left the house to go shopping. My dad was delivering communion to little old ladies who couldn’t make it to church. It was a typical Friday afternoon… everyone was busy, including me, even though I didn’t look like it on the outside.

There was so much to think about! Who would I dance with? I wanted it to be Topper Caraway, even though I mostly hated him. It just seemed to me that of all the sixth grade boys in the world, Topper was the least repulsive. There was always the possibility that I would meet someone from another church. What would he look like? Would he be taller than me? Wear glasses? Know all the words to a Poison song? Like Guns and Roses as much as I did?

I was jarred from my thoughts by a strong smell that I couldn’t quite place. It was sort of like something was cooking, but I knew my mom wouldn’t leave something in the oven for me to take care of without telling me first. I decided to investigate. I opened the door that separated the living room from the hallway and shrunk back in horror. Black smoke was pouring into the hallway from the ceiling.

The television was still blaring (…”cause Fred and Mowava and the Mousketeers say, ‘We gonna rock right here!’”). Time seemed to speed up so fast it was as if it was tangible, heading for a brick wall where it would shatter and define everything from that moment on. I thought about what to do next. I was only twelve. I didn’t have much life experience to draw on.

I decided to leave everything as it was. There was no mad dash to save one last thing, a question so popular in games of Scruples. Because those things are very easy to think about when you are sitting around your dining room table in pursuit of academic discussion. When the moment hits you, the moment you truly realize that your house is burning down and there is not one damn thing you can do to stop it, waves of utter and complete helplessness wash over you. There is no time to save anything. If you are lucky, you will be dressed at the time, and physically able to get out.

I ran next door to the Brabhams, hoping that someone would be home. If they thought it was unusual that I was on their doorstep in my pajamas and curlers, they didn’t say so. I asked if I could call the Fire Department. I dialed the numbers with shaking hands and gave the dispatcher my address.

It seemed like ages before a fire truck pulled up in front of the house. Perhaps it was, or perhaps it would have seemed like ages no matter what. It was all so surreal. Here I was, in my nightgown and hair curlers, watching every possession that I had ever owned disappear in clumps. I worried about my computer. I worried about the pair of British Knights that my mom had gotten for me the Christmas before. My teeth clenched. The dress that I had bought to wear that night was hanging on a curtain rod in my bedroom. I’d never get it out in time. That’s when it hit me.

I didn’t have any clothes.

It was just about then that my mom and sister drove up, terrified to see a fire truck in front of the house. My mom would recount for many years to come how she drove up into the cacophonic scene, wondering if I’d been able to escape and wailing on the inside for she could not immediately find me.

There was palpable relief in my mother’s face when she went to the neighbors’ and saw me sitting on the couch. I was glad to see them for I was tired of being alone, feeling like this fire was my responsibility to take care of, aching for a grown-up to come along and take the weight off my shoulders. The firemen were doing the real work. But I wanted to be saved of being the only person in the family with the knowing- the stomach churning, bile inducing knot of fear that says, “everything is gone.”

I could rest now. My mother was here. My mother could be the one in charge. I gave myself over to the shock, in such a trance that I don’t remember my father coming home, discussion of what we would do next, or in fact, what actually did happen next. I “woke up” a few hours later at my maternal grandparents’ house. The only thing I remember about those missing few hours was going to a store in Daingerfield called Gibson’s and buying enough clothes for the next few days… and the only reason I remember that is because I hated the clothes at Gibson’s. Wearing clothes like that, with no designer label, would get me murdered in sixth grade. I was uncool enough. In retrospect, I know that it was wonderful to have clothes at all. But that was no use to me then.

Over the next few days, once the fire had subsided, we were able to go back into the house and grab anything that didn’t look totally and completely ruined. What we didn’t know was that once something has been through a fire, even if it hasn’t actually been touched by flame, is ruined.

There is nothing that I have left from that period in my life that doesn’t still reek of smoke… a different kind of smoke. Not the comforting kind. Not Paw-paw’s pipe smoke. Not hickory flavored meat cooking smoke. It’s a dense, acrid kind of smell. One that conjurs images of pain- forest fires in which animals are overtaken… crematoriums… hell.

It was some time later that we learned, through a report, that the fire had been caused when a wire that hadn’t been capped started smoldering in the attic.

Total cost of the cap?

Seventeen cents.

Things I’ve Learned About Marriage (Even if You Don’t Want to Call it That)

Originally Posted May 2012

I was married way too young the first time around. I was 23 years old. However, I was too smart and mature to realize that I was being really, really dumb. For instance, I was in the wrong relationship, and trying desperately to make it fit. I’m not even sure that by the time we got married, my partner thought it would last, but I did, and to her credit, she put a lot of faith in my belief. I also needed immediate medical attention for my mental health, because I didn’t have insurance on my own. I think that we both thought that as I improved, so would the relationship. As Soren Kierkegaard once said, “we live life forwards, but we understand it backward.” Ultimately, the relationship did not succeed, but it was a wonderful teaching tool.

But I didn’t learn everything I needed to know, because I was in a second relationship that lived on hope for quite a bit longer than it should have. We announced that we were getting married, we found a minister to marry us, and then the things that were going wrong in our relationship went from bad to so much worse that I realized that I was committing to a lifetime of desperately trying to make it work, rather than it being the right fit. Again, the relationship ended, and again, I learned lessons that couldn’t have been learned any other way.

I didn’t like Dana when I met her. She was so loud and obnoxious that I said to my friend Diane, “WHO. IS. THAT. WOMAN. THAT. ACCENTS. EVERY. WORD?” We saw each other at church now and again, but she really didn’t appear on my radar until Easter of 2004. A few weeks earlier, I had gone through the worst breakup of my entire life, and it was still weighing on me heavily. Dana came up to me and said, “Would you like to come to my house for Easter dinner? We’re having rack of lamb.” She said later that she’d often thought of trying to get to know me, but that Easter was kind of a pity invite because I looked so horribly sad.

We didn’t become best friends overnight, but by July, we were spending almost every waking moment together outside of our jobs. That is because we were both living alone~ me because I was single, and Dana because her partner was a construction worker who left town for weeks at a time. People assumed that we were having an affair~ we weren’t. I was way too broken for that. What did happen, though, is that Dana became the person that knows me better than anyone on earth. We can have entire conversations with our eyes. By the time we kissed, we each had enough blackmail material on the other for two lifetimes, and that’s what made me see stars. She saw me for everything I am- huge flaws and all- and loved me anyway.

This list is a compilation of everything I’ve learned from the time I was 23 until now. It is my best wish that everything I’ve gone through will connect to something in your own life… particularly if you are a conservative/evangelical Christian who does not believe in gay marriage. My only goal is to share some common ground.

  1.  Be willing to say you’re wrong even when you don’t think you are, because it is far better to be happy and together than right and alone.
  2. Fighting isn’t a sign of trouble. It’s a sign that you’ve needed to talk way before it got to the fight point. Fighting isn’t a way to end the relationship, it’s a way to both be passionate about your beliefs and both get a resolution in the end. I know my voice gets louder when I think things are unfair, and so does everyone else’s. Seeing anger as a mark of passion and interest instead of feeling threatened goes a long way toward resolving a fight quickly.
  3. You and your partner are both going to have trigger words left over from childhood that make you crazy. Try not to say them. In fact, try not to intentionally push any emotional buttons. Be an adult. Use your words. Triggers are just cheap shots, which can seem like an easy victory… until it’s three days later and the wound you left hasn’t healed.
  4. If you don’t use those cheap shot triggers, and you are fairly emotionally smart about fighting, ignore the traditional advice of not going to bed angry. That’s because if the argument has been handled with care, and neither of you are wounded, it will often look better (or non-existent) after a good night’s sleep. Additionally, if the argument means a lot to you, it might appear in your dreams and work out a solution in your sub-conscience that you can present the next time you talk about the issue. Adding fatigue to fighting is just a red flag that things are about to get much, much worse.
  5. You don’t really care about the brand of toothpaste. You don’t really care whether the toilet paper goes over the top or hangs under the roll. In fact, you don’t really care about anything superficial- the real problem is something deeper, and you don’t know how to get vulnerable enough to bring it up. Quirky things about your partner are just that- quirks. If you’re *really* fighting about toothpaste, it’s time to let it go, because people don’t change. They just don’t. Trying to change someone else’s behavior is an uphill battle, and there will always be something about your partner that you don’t like. Deal. They have a list of things they don’t like about you, too.
  6. Make sure you actually have a friendship with your partner. Romantic love doesn’t seem to be ever-present. It’s a forest fire that comes in waves. Do not lose your connection altogether, because nothing is harder than starting from scratch. Plus, nothing says lovin’ like witty banter that turns into deep conversation that turns into OH MY GOD! We’ve been talking ALL NIGHT! That probably happened when you were dating- make sure it happens more than that.
  7. Before I got married, I never knew there was a right and a wrong way to fold a t-shirt. If your partner feels strongly about something, let them do it. But don’t be a jackass if they’re picky about everything and use it as an excuse not to do anything around the house. Be proactive. Say, “is it more important for you to have it done your way, or for you to release the responsibility of having to do it?”
  8. Talking about money and sex is hard, and there will never be a time when talking about either of these topics isn’t emotionally charged. Do whatever you can to strengthen your connection to each other before talking about either. Take a walk together, sit in the shower, just something that makes you want to open up to each other. If you can’t be vulnerable during a conversation about sex or money, then neither one of you is going to get anywhere, because neither of you wants to say anything that is beyond the protective walls you’ve put up around each subject.
  9. The corollary to #6 is that after you’ve opened up and have been extraordinarily vulnerable with each other, you might intentionally pick a fight. Be as aware of this as you can, because it’s not a signal that your relationship is in trouble. It’s a signal that says, “hey, I’m really emotionally crunchy after all this togetherness and I just need some time to myself.” Being aware of the natural dance of intimacy may cut off a fight at the pass. Know that after a fight, it’s probably better to retreat into separate rooms, or go out with your buddies. If they’re up for it, talk to your friends about the fight and blow off steam.
  10. A FEW WORDS ABOUT ALCOHOL If, after the fight, you want a drink, have one. But wait until the processing/blowing off steam is over. Why? Because having a beer to calm your nerves is one thing. Using alcohol to mask what’s really bothering you is another. P.S. Drinking during a fight is absolutely unacceptable. Alcohol changes your judgment, and often, your compassion. Take away those two things, and you are inevitably going to say something that you can never take back. Your partner may forgive you (or vice versa), but they’re never going to forget you said it, and it will hurt for a long time afterward. You may compound hurt without even knowing it.
  11. Do not keep score, but have a general sense of whether you feel appreciated, or you feel your partner is taking advantage of you. It is important to know these things for yourself, because while I am not an advocate of divorce, I am also not an advocate of constantly feeling like crap because you know you’re giving all you can and still not getting anything in return. When the tables are that imbalanced, seek professional help. If that doesn’t work, get the hell out. Life is too short to be that miserable for that long. Also, if it surprises you how much of the time you don’t like your partner, you’re in the wrong relationship. Why do I say that? Because even though marriage is a lot of work, it shouldn’t be like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole EVERY. DAMN. DAY.
  12. Know the person long enough to know if you’re going to spend years of frustration or not before you get married. In my own case, I threw caution to the wind. I asked Dana to marry me on our first date. BUT I NEVER WOULD HAVE DONE THAT had she not been my best friend in the world for the three and a half years before that. In being best friends, we had each paid our dues at getting to know each other. We each helped each other through some really rough stuff. I advocate that all couples do this before making any sort of official committment- because as Dana and I always say, we’re going to be together forever because there’s no way we didn’t know what contract we were signing.
  13. Know to the very core of your being that logic and emotion are two different things. Your partner may be saying something to you that is “highly illogical,” but he/she isn’t thinking that way. Thinking with your heart vs. your mind lead to different conclusions. The heart is irrational, AND THAT’S OK. Even if the lack of logic makes no damn sense, let him/her make it all the way to the end of what they have to say. All emotions are valid. If you try to put emotions into logical boxes, you’ve lost the entire point of having an argument, which is to really hear what each other needs emotionally.
  14. Don’t get too comfortable. You know you’re settling in for the long haul, so it’s easy to s l o w it down. Take heed: you’re not going to be together forever if you don’t communicate, early and often. You’re not going to stay attracted to each other if you become homebodies without new experiences to share. When those two things go, so does your attention… The end of a relationship doesn’t happen overnight. It happens slowly, over a great deal of time. The big bang is when you wake up one day and realize that you don’t really even know your partner anymore.
  15. Pay close attention to the difference between your “public persona” and the way you treat each other behind closed doors. The more closely those two things mirror each other, the more it means that the connection is genuine. NOTICE if when you’re in public, you act like the perfect couple that all your couple friends say they wish they were, and when you’re at home, no one would ever guess how bad it is. NOTICE if you are acting like everything is fine, when inside, it is CLEARLY not.
  16. THIS IS REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT: When you get married, you are saying to the entire world that, forsaking all others, your partner is the most important person in the world to you. That you are changing your ties to your first family to create this new family with your partner. Mean it. Do not ever let your partner get hung out to dry with your family, because you will never endure a more silent car ride home… and this has nothing to do with either one of your families. It’s because “you broke the cardinal rule of marriage, and put someone else before me.”
  17. Give them their moments. There’s such an urge to compete with each other. When you realize you’re doing it, bow out gracefully. Amusingly, this gets easier as I get older. Nurturing my more natural introverted personality is slowly turning me into one of those guys who yell at the damn kids to get off his lawn.

——

I am sure that there are at least fifty more, and feel free to talk about them in the comments. I just thought it was important to show that gay marriage is marriage, because I haven’t said a single thing that you wouldn’t find in a heterosexual marriage self-help book. I don’t think that there is anything unique to gay marriage, because we all struggle with the same day-to-day scheduling haggles and the same left over emotional “stuff” from childhood. We all need to make our marriages stronger, because divorce is so much harder and less rewarding than having a relationship capable enough to survive big storms.

Hits

Good God. I’ve become the blogger I didn’t want to become… again. I suppose it’s a natural thing, like going back to what you know, but I didn’t expect it to take hold this fast. I am literally a slave to my post views, as if I’m expecting to explode overnight. I’m like one of those people who constantly watches their stock portfolio, instead of concentrating on the overall picture.

I’m also constantly thinking of new things to write. I make mistakes because I’m trying to get content together. The true Catch-22 of blogging is that if you don’t pay attention to your hits, you will wind up in obscurity. That’s because every time you post, you give the Google bots a chance to find you. Other people come in and leave their contact information. You visit their web site and leave your URL. More hits.

If things go right, you’ll end up like Dooce. Dooce has been my hero since she first started blogging. The blog starts with writing about struggles with her Mormonism, her job, and her life in general. The blog started to explode nationally to the point where she was able to support a family just by posting, taking great pictures, and talking about herself.

Man that seems rude, talking about yourself.

Until you realize that you can’t write about anything else, because writing something else would never satisfy the need to communicate with your soul. It’s the need to express the things going on in your life so that your friends and readers can come along and say, “Oh my God! I felt exactly like that when…” The trick is to write well, and to open yourself up to both criticism and praise. If you don’t, then you’ll get down when the trolls attack you and your hits are exclusively created by bots and not readers.

Writing well is about taking an experience and making it universal. With some things, I just can’t do that because the situation is so weird that you can’t equate it to anything else. But with almost everything else, you end the post with an invitation to action, even if that action is as small as a smile of remembrance.

Because smiles of remembrance lead to sharing, building more than a web site. Building an online space where people can come to commiserate, laugh (often in spite of themselves), and leave comments that will interact with me, but more importantly, allow my readers to interact with each other.

If your blog can’t run independently of you, you’re not doing it right. Because these are the same people that will read you over and over again, not because you’re that great a writer, but your web site is where all their friends are.

At first, I thought Facebook was the way to go. I have a built-in audience of over 600 people there. However, with Facebook, you really don’t have the design control that you do with a real blog. At this point, it is more crucial than ever to create hits, because unless I’m missing my mark, most people get their “friend news” on Facebook and rarely venture out into other areas of the web.

That’s why Dooce is so special. She was before Facebook, and she grew this web site into such a juggernaut that she’s been a Jeopardy! question.

I can only hope that I can create that kind of safe space on my own web site, where we can get together and start talking. We’ll share and share and get through life together. Thank you for making me part of your life.

I need the hits. :P~

entropy

In a space where life is disheveled, you have to create your own structure. For someone who is ADD, this is not all that easy. I cope with it by having a writing schedule. Without fail, I am at my computer by 9:00, and I am writing… whether it’s crap or not.

Sorry you have to suffer through these posts. I know they’re kind of scattershot, and so do you, but you’re willing to read me anyway until I get this whole posting schedule thing down. Because right now, I don’t have the luxury of a back stock of entries. I can’t just tell the web site to post something incredible on a schedule, because I’m starting from scratch (and by that, I mean cron jobs, not that the computer can post for me. My computer is a moron).

It’s as if my body is saying that it doesn’t care whether I’m tired or not. There is new content to be delivered and t-shirt graphics to be fixed and the house is a mess and nothing will get done if I think of everything I have to do as one large mass.

I get overwhelmed and panicky, as if the nuclear bomb is already set and I’m just the guy standing next to it. I’m not even quick enough on my feet to be MacGruber.

My one saving grace is Google. I’m not kidding.

If you let it, Google will save your life. Their calendar app alone is worth signing up.

For truly heartfelt instructions on how to set up an .ical feed, leave a comment. I’m not typing up all that stuff for my non-nerds. 🙂

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is hard.

Forgiveness is so, so hard.

Forgiveness is hard because it has its own therapied vocabulary that, in the end, does work. But it doesn’t erase the questions around why you had to forgive in the first place. Those are the tabs that stay open in the Firefox of my mind.

Some of forgiving and being forgiven is about learning new words for it. There are three outcomes to a conflict, and they rarely change:

  1. Both people are happy
  2. Both people are miserable
  3. One person gets what they want, and the other person doesn’t

The first two are easy. The last one will keep you up at night. Both people being miserable might seem hard, but you can go to sleep knowing that both parties are in equal pain. Only one person getting what they want is damned unsatisfying.

However, if you’re the person that got what you wanted, there’s really no reason to go over and re-negotiate. Why should you? You got what you wanted! The other person may still have unanswered questions, but it’s ok. Your part is over. Go drink a margarita and celebrate your victory. Good job! You’re done.

If you are the one who didn’t get what you wanted, no margarita for you. Because you have more important things to do. You lost. You’re covered in loss soup with loss croutons on top. You have been beaten, and it hurts.

Time to pick a therapist. Mine is a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Frozen Yogurt (Today is Free Cone Day), but do what works best for you. Preferably both. Get a therapist to think about your grief, and get the ice cream to forget so that you can put down an impossibly large mind worm.

If you’re on the right track, though, the impossibly large mind worm is going to start with yourself. Taking credit for what you did wrong seems counter-intuitive, but it’s not. By admitting your side of the story, you are releasing yourself from a situation “that happened to you,” into a situation in which you have some control. You may think that someone is withholding information from you, but really, you’ve just missed the signs that have been cropping up all along. In our humanness, we have a tendency to just stop communicating because we have no idea how to say what we need to say. Often, when the truth is what’s necessary, it’s avoided and covered up to save someone’s feelings.

It’s a human trait to try not to hurt people (or, at least, I hope it is). It is also possible for passive aggression to lead to thermonuclear war. The longer you lead people on, the harder it gets to extract yourself. Waiting to tell someone the truth morphs with the lie until you believe it, too. But the other person doesn’t know that. Doesn’t see the way you pull away because they aren’t aware of the possibility… aren’t prepared for the possibility.

If there’s anything we as humans hate, it’s to be caught off guard. It makes people angry because it’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing to think of how much time you’d been doing something wrong and been denied a chance to make it better. It’s embarrassing thinking about how long this person must have been “putting up with you,” because no human wants to be an obligation. When you call someone on something they’ve been doing for a very long time, they tend to respond like a wounded animal because they didn’t know there was a problem in the first place. It’s injustice. It’s more painful than the explosion that would have happened when you were angry, because it would be over.

Carrying around a grudge against someone is like accepting their resume and never calling them back. They’re hanging on to the hope that they still might get an interview, and you’re concentrating on your anger so much that every day that resume sits on your desk, you’re adding more wood to the fire.

Passive aggression is kindling for emotional destruction. Send a response, even if that response is “I hired someone else.”