Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Candidates: Part 1

Sometimes, in fact many times, I have been known to seek revenge. The desperate need for vindication and the unmistakable feeling that, yet again, someone has misinterpreted my genuine gifts of skill, support, caring and goodwill as weakness ... things to be fingered—sharply and abruptly. Abused.

There's a theme peddling furiously along the bicycle path that is my journey through life at the moment ... and it's called Self Interest. Selfishness. "Me! Me! Me! Me at all costs! ... including yours." The "Fuck your needs! What about ME!" Broadway-esque showtune in G Major, performed with almost monotonous regularity by people I always imagined might have known better.

At the many and various times my feet have slipped off the pedals, I have always slowly regained my balance ... accompanied by that familiar voice in my head, howling me down for being "so fucking nice and understanding and helpful and generous ALL THE TIME": reminding me cursorily that people really only ever really care about themselves ... that when push comes to shove, black to white, Labor to Liberal, gay to straight, and broke to flush ... people will put their needs first. Always.

So why haven't (and can't) I?

It's a complex equation. It's symptomatic of being a nice, well-meaning, genuine, caring kind of a guy. I was brought up to be. There was always plenty of everything in our home ... and apart from the occasional religion-inspired fracas, the ebb and flow of daily life throughout my childhood was practically effortless. Simple. And fair. Incredibly fair.

The further you depart from valuing and holding to fairness and equality in your life, the greater the perils you face. As systematically, people placed their own needs somewhere much higher on the hierarchy of needs than mine (or the needs of those I represented) I began to realise that there was a fatal flaw in my persona. I became, almost by default, persona non-grata. I blindingly assumed that it would all work out in the end ... that they would see the error of their ways and embrace my contribution and meaning with respect and appreciation. That they would stop using my seemingly never-ending supply of capability. My skills. My Goodwill. My Support. My Cash. And My Creativity.

The mind fuck has always been in the wash-up. On a number of occasions over recent years, the actuality of an experience has been devastated as a direct result of the actions of almost impossibly selfish and self-interested people. Their power over me has always been what they offer(ed): knowledge, experience, adventure, achievement, excitement, a contribution to our society and our culture, validation ... and the payment of a modest invoice at the end of it all. Or not.

Over the past two years I have walked away from a number of experiences completely fucked over. Ruthlessly and rigorously bruised. Insulted. Offended. And almost broke. There has been the kindness of near-perfect strangers who have helped me up and set me right. They, too, will get theirs.

Am I bitter? Quite possibly ... I will let you be the judge. But in the meantime ... there's a couple of stories I would like to share with you.

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