Well, That Much Was Obvious

Well, That Much Was Obvious

This week I was obsessed with watching a Let’s Play of the new game Detroit: Become Human. It takes place in the near future when very human androids are normal. Tensions between humans and androids begins to build as more and more androids become “deviant”, meaning they have essentially gained free will.

The Youtuber added his own commentary (which is half of the fun of watching a Let’s Play in the first place so I’m all for it). There were a lot of parallels between the androids’ plight and the Civil Rights movement… obviously. I’m not sure how the game designers would have NOT done that. It was a revolution, androids with free will asking for the right to live among humans. But every time there was a symbol or a quote that sparked even the hint of a deeper thought, the Youtuber would act like this was some incredible knowledge that he was lucky to notice.

Honestly, the symbolism in that game is about as subtle as a brick to the face. I really enjoyed watching it and I’ve enjoyed seeing how differently the game can turn out, but I was completely uninterested in the reiteration of extremely obvious plot points.

That got me thinking about how often someone reiterates information or simply states the obvious, as if you didn’t know.

It can happen at work when someone tells you how to do your job that you’ve been doing for a couple years now. It can happen on the road when your passenger tells you about a stop sign that you are literally already slowing down for. It can happen when you’re doing yard work and your friend is telling you the process for pulling up weeds when it is not rocket science and you can pull up a stupid weed without a fifteen minute explanation.

It can, and does, happen all the time and everywhere. Other people do it to you and you do it to other people. I’ve for sure been on both sides.

Here’s the thing though, you don’t know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. Maybe they know the information, maybe they don’t. You can’t know until they demonstrate the knowledge in some tangible way or tell you that they know. And by the time they have to tell you, it’s probably in a very exasperated, “I KNOOOW!”

For the Youtuber, I had to remind myself that he did not go to school to learn the ins and outs of storytelling. He is not bored of picking up on not-so-subtle symbolism. He has lived a completely different life (in a completely different country, no less). He has not experienced the same things I have. He is sharing HIS thoughts and HIS opinions and HIS insights. Just because they are not insights to me, doesn’t invalidate his experience with the game.

My manager repeating to me how to perform a very basic task at my job is not her telling me I am an idiot. Maybe it’s been a while since this task has been done. Maybe she had to give herself a refresher on it and wants to do the same for me before I have to ask.

Maybe your friend has learned a new technique for pulling weeds. Maybe they have never seen you do yard work and they don’t want you to feel stupid for having to ask, so they’re just throwing information out upfront. Maybe the passenger in your car has run stop signs in the past and doesn’t want you to get a ticket. Maybe that stop sign is easy to miss and they’re trying to not die.

Unless someone has done it repeatedly over time, I’d say let it slide. It’s easy to get annoyed. But most people are not repeating information to anger or upset you. They don’t think you’re a moron who needs to be micromanaged. Mostly, they’re just trying to be helpful. Remember, they can’t know you know until you show or tell them. Try not to make everything more difficult by getting mad about it.

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Snapshot of My Life #5

Oh hey look there goes Cornelia, being mean to herself because she thinks she hasn’t accomplished anything in the last year. What a failure of a human being. Now look, she’s begging for sympathy at the very start of the post. Typical.

My last official snapshot was in August of last year. Lots has happened since then but at the same time I really feel like I haven’t done anything. It’s hard to put together a snapshot post without feeling like a bit of a failure. Even when I know I’ve done some good things and have had a lot of really good days, I internally minimize it because they don’t seem important anymore.

I want to do more with my life. I mean, ideally I don’t WANT to live with my parents for the rest of time but practically, it makes sense. I can keep the job I love and be near some good friends I’ve made and work on writing/blogging at my own pace. But then again, I’m also just another statistic in the “failure to launch” category of young adults.

Well let’s see, am I any closer to doing something substantial with my life?

Yeah. A bit, anyway.

I bought a car for myself. I have payments on it (to my parents *shocker*) but it’s mine. I have a solid job that I enjoy, with coworkers I like. I have been working on my Wattpad account and have a couple followers there. Today I actually went through and finally linked all my social media to this blog so now everything will update across the board. I started a couple accounts on writer websites so I’m hoping to keep up a bit on those so I can reach out and maybe grow my blog. The friend of mine who is selling my paintings just told me that one of them actually sold. So that’s pretty fabulous. I think that’s $9 I made of that.

So there are a few things that I definitely have going for me.

I beat myself up about life updates. My life isn’t bad. I just feel like I should be a millionaire living in a mansion on a private island in the Bahamas with my 27 rescue cats by now. Is that really so unrealistic???

In all seriousness, I’m going to try to keep myself grounded. I have great parents keeping me afloat, good friends to hang out with, and overall not a bad life at all. Sometimes I wish I were more involved in organizations or the community but I really like having my free time to myself. I suppose, overall this life update doesn’t feel particularly updated. Not a whole lot has changed besides getting my car. That’s a big development but it’s just one thing as opposed to something that’s going to change my entire outlook on life.

Looking ahead, I’m hoping to sell another painting or two and then just keep up on my writing, try to reach out more to other writers, work on my Bible memorization. Live my life.

 

Toxic People: Family

Toxic People: Family

Many people like to think they’re good at cutting off toxic, fake people but they’re not. They let the person linger. They let the person continue to bother them and be around them. It’s hard to cut people out of your life. Sometimes you’ve known them for so long that you keep convincing yourself they’re not that bad. Sometimes these people are family. Sometimes they’re doing something for you that’s hard to replace (like a last second babysitter or they get you free food from wherever they work). And sometimes there’s no good reason. You just don’t want to let go. You think you can manage okay with them still in your life.

I don’t have to cut people out of my life very often. I think the biggest reason I generally avoid this dilemma altogether is I don’t let a lot of people into my life, so I don’t typically have a long list of toxic people I consider close. Also, most of my family lives in other states so even if one of them became toxic or estranged, it’s not as though I would have to start shopping in a different town to avoid them.

Usually, the hardest people to cut out are family, especially if there are children involved. Personally, if one of my siblings had a baby and then they became estranged from me in some way, I can’t say I would cry about it. I would be mad and frustrated that I felt I needed to cut off a sibling (and by extension their kid) but at the same time, it’s their kid. Also, kids grow up and maybe one day I can reconnect with them. I probably hold this view because I don’t like dealing with very young kids (they’re fine but I’m no babysitter) and all my married siblings live far away and I will likely only see any nieces or nephews a couple times a year anyway.

**As an aside, I would love to be part of any niece’s/nephew’s lives but at this point in time it’s extremely unlikely that I’ll have enough contact to be that. I’ve already contented myself with the knowledge that I am far more likely to be the one who reaches out when the kid is older, early teens maybe, and connect at that point.**

I sympathize with those who have to cut out toxic family members who were once very close friends. It can be heartbreaking to see that your own blood has become manipulative and narcissistic. The only family I’ve ever cut off is an aunt who lives far away anyway. She had started spending more time with my family and we realized how fake she is. She’s good at manipulating people into thinking they’re the problem not matter how much it’s actually her fault. She puts up a sweet, loving front but if you offend her honor she’ll hold it against you the rest of your life. It wasn’t fun to cut her out of my life but I don’t regret it. At the same time, it didn’t affect me all that much. I rarely saw her before and I never see her now. Not really a loss.

But that gave me a little taste of what others could go through when dealing with family like that. It just solidifies in my mind that I am so much better off alone than with people who are judgmental, manipulative, inconsistent, and unapologetic. I talked about this a little in the past, about a bad friendship I had as a kid. This is along the same lines except it applies to more than just friends.

You don’t owe anyone your affection or your secrets or close space in your life. You can hold yourself back from being close to a toxic family member. Be polite, courteous, and even loyal. Those things don’t mean they get to know every detail of your life or your secrets (which they will inevitably use against you). If another family member is sharing your personal life with the toxic person then they don’t get to know your life either. You can be private and keep them at arm’s length and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. They don’t have to be invited to every little thing. They don’t need to be part of every conversation. When they try to poison other’s minds about you, don’t let it get to you. They can’t control you so they’re trying to control how others see you. Don’t bother addressing it with them, you’ll only end up in a fight. They’ll feed on drama and anger. Let it fester in them, not you.

The people who matter will stand by you. The family who care will remain. Let the rest fall away, they’re not worth it. You don’t choose your blood but you do choose who stays in your life, related or not.

Follow Through

Last week I wrote about volunteering for your own ideas. If you’re in a group and you come up with something for the group to do and you push that idea, then you need to do something about it. You can’t expect others to do everything based on your thoughts in one meeting.

This week is a follow up on that, appropriately titled “Follow Through” I suppose. Because once you have people willing to do things you have to make sure they do them.

I’m not a fan of micromanaging. I don’t like being micromanaged and I don’t like micromanaging other people. It gets really frustrating on either side of that spectrum. I don’t want someone breathing down the back of my neck about every tiny little thing that needs to be accomplished. I am capable of doing what needs to be done. In the same vein, I like to trust others to get done with things as well. If I need a message given, something moved, pieces organized, or a room prepared for an event, I expect that if you volunteer then you will do it when it needs to be done.

BUT OH HOW WRONG I CAN BE.

Even when people actually volunteer it can be like pulling teeth to get them to follow through. Once I asked if someone could make a poster. I asked at least a week in advance so whoever did it would have plenty time. The girl who volunteered waited, until the night before we needed it, to tell me she wouldn’t have time to make it. So I had to stay up late to make the stupid poster (I had to be up at 5am the next day for work) and I was really mad about it. I had texted her reminders and had told her several times that if, for any reason, she felt she wouldn’t have time to finish that I could do it. I gave her SO MANY opportunities to make everything more convenient and she didn’t take a single one. She had a bad track record of not following through, which is why I had texted her so much (that and I REALLY didn’t want to make the poster myself).

She actually got mad at me a couple times because I did micromanage to some extent. I didn’t really care. I couldn’t trust her to get things done but she kept volunteering for things. So it was either I had to do everything or I had to bother her about doing things.

I know last week I said that a good portion of a leader’s job is to deflect good ideas that won’t happen but this whole micromanaging thing is also an insanely big portion as well. Be nice to people in charge. If they nag you about things, it’s usually not because they want to. They’ve been burned in the past. They probably had to stay up til 3am the day before a very important event because the people they were relying on to make table decorations totally flaked at the last second. It’s stupid. There’s no excuse for volunteering to do something, waiting until the last minute, then backing out. DON’T DO THAT. You will destroy all trust in you. You will not be taken seriously from then on and every time you ask to help you will be met with hesitation and scrutiny and micromanagement.

Don’t be that person. Do what you say you will do and everything will run smoothly and everyone involved will be happy.

Your Idea, Your Job Too

Your Idea, Your Job Too

I was the treasurer for English Club at my college which entailed much more than just taking care of the money. Our club was small and had been recently revived so my job became a kind of catch-all (makes sense since almost everything needs money and I had to okay all the expenses). I learned a lot of valuable lessons. One of those lessons is that people really like to share wonderfully complicated ideas that they have no intention of implementing themselves but fully expect SOMEONE to implement.

At any given meeting where we talked about fundraising someone would inevitably come up with a great idea for us. They would push it very hard, saying how fabulous it was. Others would get in on it, sharing how perfect it would be and that it would make so much money. So we would slowly start working out the details of how to do it. When we had some kind of plan, the officers of the club (president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary) would ask who wanted to help. That’s always when the other shoe would drop. The same people who seemed so in love with the idea would want nothing to do with it once it came time to actually commit.

They would hem and haw about classes and work and how they just didn’t have the expertise to sit at a table and make change. I think that 90% of what the person in charge does is just deflect good ideas that no one wants to do. This is one of the most frustrating things about being in charge of people. You want to brainstorm and ask them for their opinions but also you know that they don’t want to do them. They just want to come up with the idea then sit back and watch it happen from the sidelines. It’s especially maddening when, after refusing to help in any way, the person gets upset that their idea wasn’t used when it was “such a good plan”. Yeah, maybe it was a good idea. But even good ideas need manpower behind them and sorry but I’m also pretty busy running the basic group functions and living my life while you just show up every fourth Thursday of the month when there’s a full moon and complain no one tells you anything that’s going on.

Here’s an idea for everyone: don’t push ideas you don’t want to do. It seems simple but as someone who’s been in leadership of groups, let me tell you, it’s never that easy. People like grand, spectacular plans. People like simple, down to earth plans that are actually really complicated when you start putting things together. No fundraiser or event is as simple as it sounds. Ever. There is always a lot of red tape and boring/tedious tasks to do.

You can’t just leave it to the leader to get everything done. They have their own life, just like you do. If you can’t do something, that’s fine. No one is going to be able to do everything all the time. But if you come up with an idea or push someone else’s to the point of the group doing it, then be ready to be an actual part of that idea.

My Friend Grace

I often get to the middle of the week and think “I have nothing to write about on my blog”. Then I get to Friday and often think “I still have nothing to write about this week. I need help asap.” So I will then often ask friends what I should write about.

I want to take a moment here and say to anyone thinking about starting a blog, you need to be committed. Not committed to a sanitarium, (well, maybe) but committed to creating content. It can be a struggle to come up with just a few hundred words that complete a coherent thought every week. I know that daily bloggers and vloggers exist and I gotta say, I will never be one of them.

So I ask friends for topics. Sometimes I use those ideas and sometimes I go a completely different direction. Either way, I appreciate their advice. This week, on Friday, with Saturday approaching very quickly and no more work-free days in sight, I asked my friend Grace what I should write about and she said I should write about her. Haha, funny. That’s what everyone says when you ask for a topic because it’s just a good joke. But it made me think, “Why not?” This is my blog and I can do whatever I want.

Let me introduce you to my friend, Grace.

I borderline hated her when we first met. She came to English Club one week and I secretly hoped she would never return. I had only been attending English Club for a short time myself, so I was really in no position to judge new arrivals.

Why didn’t I like her? I don’t have anything specific. She was relatively quiet. She made jokes that no one got (very dry sense of humor). On her second meeting she brought books to contribute to our silent auction. So it wasn’t as though she wasn’t trying to be helpful and polite to a group she barely knew. But I didn’t like her. I didn’t like her stupid jokes. I didn’t like that she knew so many literary references. I wanted her gone as soon as possible.

BUT SHE KEPT COMING TO THE CLUB MEETINGS.

Which really irked me. I didn’t want her there even though, at the time, I had no real reason to dislike her.

We’re friends now, though, so what exactly happened? I realized I had no way out of seeing her and decided to give her a really good chance. I had to for my own sanity. It was either learn to be okay with her presence or drop out of the club (and I really did enjoy club. I was getting very into it). So the choice was clear.

That’s all I really set out to do: tolerate her. I had already decided I didn’t want to be friends but I had to be polite and I had to deal with her on a regular basis. I was consciously being as adult as I could be.

I made an effort to get to know her and she’s really awesome. She’s super funny (her humor can be out there but her style is so unique and relateable **Sorry I’m bad at describing humor! She’s really funny!**). She’s really smart and literary. She has a blog that’s more interesting and thought-provoking than mine. She’s a great person to hang out with and I admire her honesty and integrity. She’s very opinionated (we don’t always agree) but also open to meaningful discussions.

I feel like all of that isn’t enough to describe her. She’s one of the few real friends I made in college and of those few, she’s one of the only ones who has kept real, close contact with me. (I certainly talk to many people from college and I still consider some of them close friends, despite distance and time spent apart, when we talk it feels like no time has passed between us.) We chat on a weekly basis which says a lot because there aren’t a lot of people who make that effort.

I’m really glad that Grace is in my life and that we can chat and hang out when possible! I look forward to many more years of laughter and good times!

Definitely check out her blog though, seriously. I really liked her most recent post about dystopian utopia, very interesting and well thought out!

https://adequategrace.wordpress.com/

Two Years!

This weekend is the 2 year anniversary of this blog and it doesn’t feel real! It’s been a long time since the very first “Snapshot of My Life“. My very first post was written not long after I graduated from college and that feels like it was about ten million years ago. In that post I talked about what I was doing and what my plans were about life and moving out of my parents’ house etc. Good stuff.

It’s weird because that first post shows how much I was DOING. I was trying much harder to get published and make money off my writing than I am now. I was working on my ebook, which is published and not making me any money, and I had sent out a poem and a story to try for publication. So that’s cool. I was still looking for writing jobs then and I’m not really looking for those anymore.

Something that really strikes me is that when I first started this blog I talked a lot about writing and getting published and self-publishing and making money off micro-jobs and all these little things. I’ve changed a lot in the last two years. My goals, especially, are different these days. But maybe I need to recapture that a little bit. I feel like my first post was optimistic. I felt like I could really make it on my own with my writing. Not sure if I became more realistic or just less optimistic. I did sign up for Wattpad and have been posting (not regularly, but I’ve been working on it).

I would like to get back into that writing optimism. I think I’ll start sifting through my writing folders and try to figure out if I could self-publish again. The last website I used to self-publish is now out of business so if you know any good ebook site I would really appreciate your suggestions!

I want to thank you, my reader, for being here. It’s been an interesting two years and I’m looking forward to many more! It boggles my mind to think that this blog is continuing to grow in readership (twice as many followers as last year)! I appreciate each of you and am glad you’ve chosen to make me part of your life in this small way!

What more is there to say now? Two years of sharing life, advice, friendship, grief, and joy. Buckle up because I’m not planning on slowing down just yet. Welcome to year three of The Honest Millennial. It’s gonna be a wild ride.