In Lay Terms

Random Ramblings From a Church Nerd

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Follow Up To "Am I Gay Enough?"

Well, thanks for the feedback from "Am I Gay Enough?" When I'm feeling bad, I'll go back and read those comments. They make me feel a lot better.

I was still stewing about this "am I good enough" question, when something happened. A professor at the college where I work talked to me about the tutoring services for her class. In the process of this conversation, she slammed the whole process of how I deal with matching students with tutors. She just plodded along about only having tutors who understand economics on a "deeper level." I've just tried to find someone who passed the class (usually non-majors). When I had taken enough of her time (even though she came to see me), she just abruptly walked out. I felt like shit by the end of the conversation.

I don't think she even knew that I was taking her critical comments so personally. She was just so wrapped up in her own class, that she didn't care about me or what I did. I was simply a tool for her convenience.

This got me thinking about my "am I good enough" question I was pondering. I had complained that I didn't feel gay enough or militant enough. But I realized that I feel this way around certain individuals. Like this professor, these people are often too involved in their own agenda to see me as more than either a tool or a hindrance. The people that make me feel inadequate don't care about me (ultimately). They are concerned for their own pain.

For many of the people who make me feel inadequate about being gay, I've heard someone say in their defense, "They are speaking out of a lot of pain." I have no doubt that is true. However, I also have realized that people who are speaking out of their own pain simply want to spread that pain around. There is some pain I don't want to accept, and that's where I feel this fundamental difference with these folks.

That same day, I ate lunch with J, from Grover's Corners (yes, we are not just virtual friends). We both decided that there are just some people who make you feel like shit. J has them. I have them. I bet you have them. J and I were discussing making a list of current "put-downers". I haven't started yet (I have enough else to do).

I'm somewhat comforted by the fact that the problem is not me. It's a different set of expectations about what life is and what we are called to do. I'm sure I'll still have encounters that makes me question who I am. However, I will be able to add them to my list!


Blogger Michael Dodd said...

My boss, a wonderful woman in most ways, often makes me feel inadequate, pretty much in the manner you describe. Your comments made me realize though that she is not thinking about me at all when she is doing that. Her remarks are pretty much impersonal and are not about me but about whatever is on her mind at the moment. I imagine she would be perplexed if I said she made me feel bad. It would be like "making me feel bad" because she remarked that it is raining outside. So she is not making me feel inadequate. I (UPPER CASE, bolded, emphasized) am making me feel inadequate. I don't have to do that to myself.

Thanks for the insight.

I am waiting anxiously for the putdowns, though. Not that I would ever be so foolhardy as to use one on the person who signs my paycheck!

"I'm sorry. Were you talking to me? I was distracted by that unfortunate haircut."

"Oh, forgive me. I just keep noticing that green thing stuck between your teeth."

"Thanks for your suggestion. I promise to give it all the consideration it deserves."

"Did you have garlic toast for breakfast?"

11:51 AM  
Blogger Michael Dodd said...

PS -- I think I misunderstood your reference to "put-downers." Sorry about that!

I have initiated the practice of posting the word verfication word and a definition. For this comment the word is spwvrfs: the sound a Vulcan dog makes to get attention

8:21 AM  
Blogger LutheranChik said...

I think every social set has its own emotional "nabobs of negativism" -- people who just suck the life and confidence out of you.

I have a coworker who does stuff like this all the time. The other day she called our main office; I answered the phone, she asked me to fax something for her, then added, "Would that be too much?" What I heard in that was, "You think you can haul your lazy ass out of your chair for two minutes and fax that document?" Another day I was at our satellite office, where she works, and she asked, "Why are you here? I mean, it gets crowded in this office with so many people here."

The other day she asked a coworker to help her wrap a package for a colleague's upcoming shower; the busy coworker begged off; then she finished her task and came back to see if she could help after all. Ms. Negativity said something to the effect of, "Well, I had been hoping you'd be gracious enough to do it for me, but I just wound up doing it by myself."

Lord knows I've thought uncharitable things about other people, but I'm usually able to activate the self-censor mechanism -- it just spews out of this individual. And, ironically, her victims are the ones who wind up walking around feeling guilty.

7:18 PM  

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