my personal problems are mostly described with homophones


I recently took a little bit of umbrage when my friend informed me that she can't, for all my talk, imagine me being much of a jerk. At least, to someone's face. I know, this isn't the sort of thing most people spend time fretting about. After all, being told, basically, that you're nice isn't an insult. Plus, I seem to do a pretty bang up job of making people mad at me, so the "compliment" seems disingenuous at best. Plus, there's the whole issue of my being nice without its elusive complement of goodness.

I think it struck me so much, though, because there are two things I've been trying to deal with recently in my life. The first is my knack for compartmentalizing various aspects. Giving this one a room over here, shoving that one in a box, being person A at location Y and person B at site Z, etc. Which, I'm clearly not solving very rapidly, as I'll going to just ignore it to move on to the other. The second is my complaisance.*

Part of me thinks this is a virtue. It's a good thing to be willing to bend, to be flexible, to allow room for the needs and desires of others. It's a positive, not being difficult or put out when things don't go your way. Another part of me, though, the slightly more cynical part (read, most of me), is worried that I'm setting myself up for a pretty spectacular failure. Or maybe I'm already there, which would explain a lot of the collapsing in the interpersonal arena I've seen of late.

There's times and places where one should stick up for themselves, should be willing to put their desires and feelings first. It's self-preservation at its most basic level. And, apparently, I lack the drive for that.** Fortunately, most situations my pleasing nature has landed me in have diffused and defused without an inordinate amount of suffering. And, I'd like to think that when it becomes more than just a slick, sick feeling my stomach, I'd be willing to post boundaries and stop trying to please anybody else but me.

Ideally, I suppose, there'd be a balance. But I'm no good at half-measures. I'm an all-or-nothing kind of guy. Or rather, I haven't the foggiest of how one goes about making oneself less tied to the fickle whims of others with still interacting with anybody. It's so much easier, also, to just become the person that someone else is looking for. There are few things messier than finding out something about someone that makes you wonder if you should hate them for it. So, see, my not being myself means I'm saving all you that unpleasantness. Isn't that thoughtful of me? Don't you love that about me? (See, I can't help myself!)

I still need to process all this and decides where my lines should be drawn. It's a pretty major overhaul I'm considering right here. And I'm not sure the benefits outweigh the costs. But, (to crib some clichés) at the end of the day, I'll never know till I try, right? So, if I suddenly seem to be fighting really bizarre territorial and alpha dog battles with you, now you'll have a guess as to why. I probably don't mean most of it. Except when I do. The new me, I suppose, is just going to be a bit more difficult to get along with. Please advise.

*True story: I've been a bit addicted to the use of the word complaisant recently. I've replaced my usual "I'm easy" with a casual "I'm complaisant" when asked opinions. Part of it is sort of a litmus test to see if the person I'm writing to knows that I don't actually mean complacent. Most people have failed. It's like Derrida's différence v. différance, but much less clever. And, y'know, in English.

**Not too surprising, given the fact that, come the Apocalypse, I'm turning my face the wall and dying. I'm no mink, what with their exceeding tenacity of life.


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