people being people

There is a fascinating essay on the site everything2.com, titled Online Community Dynamics. I keep thinking about it. It inspires today’s poem.

people being people

people being people
they are often scared
huddle
in groups
it’s safest if a leader
identifies an enemy
so that everyone can come together
in hate

the leader
tells the group
who to hate
and why
whether it is true or not

I started out writing
under the title
mean stupid people

but that isn’t right
and anyhow I’d rather find a way
to forgive
again
and again
and again

so I started again
with the title
people being people

maybe we will mature as a species
some day

who do you hate?

now look in the mirror
and ask

who have you forgiven
today?

broken

I wrote this poem in 2014. Sometimes you know things without knowing them. Or you know them before you are ready to know them and so…. you forget.

broken

I think you said
“Break her.”

And you told them how.

You told them my weaknesses
and my strengths.

You told them that I twisted your words.

You said, “You twist my words.”
K said, “You twist my words.”
S said, “You twist my words.”
Ko said, “You twist my words.”

and on everything2
they, too, twist my words.

Twist
twisted
fisted.

When the outer is charming and perfect
the damage is inside.

I wear my spikes on the outside.


No one, to date, has been allowed more then
visitation rights
inside.

No one except
you
and my children
and all children.

Only they are allowed inside.

Twist
twisted
fisted.

I am broken.

But I was always broken and knew it.

I hope that no one cut their hands
when they tried to smash me.

Pretty on the outside
deadly on the inside.

Yet I think a spark in you said,
“Break her.”

What you didn’t tell them
is that I don’t bother to lie
because no one listens anyhow
no one ever listened
and so I can always tell the truth
until they stop listening.

because they don’t believe me

but you knew

I tell the truth

And I was already broken.

8/22/14

And this should connect to this: https://drkottaway.com/2014/11/

The introverted thinker walks away

We go to our first parent teacher conference for our daughter. Kindergarten.

“Your daughter is unusual.” says the teacher.

“Mmmm.” I say.

“She is unusual on the playground. At recess. She will play with the other girls. But not if they are mean to someone. Not if they start ganging up. And it doesn’t matter who it is. She will walk away and play by herself.”

“Good.” I say.

“The other kids are realizing that she won’t tolerate any mean talk or ganging up.”

We make appropriate appreciative parental noises.

“She is influencing them. She doesn’t argue, she doesn’t say anything, she just walks away.”

The Introverted Thinker on high school fights

I just watched Taylor Swift’s Mean and it makes me think of what the Introverted Thinker says about high school fights. I asked if she sees a lot of bullying.

“Oh, mom, mostly it’s not bullying. Mostly it’s misunderstanding.”

She said that mostly the fights are mistakes. “Mom, one girl isn’t really thinking and she says something as she’s leaving. She is not even trying to hurt the other person. But she says something that is not thoughtful or can be taken wrong.

Then the other girl thinks about it and gets all upset. She talks to her friends and then snubs the first girl. The first girl doesn’t remember the comment and has no idea that it has hurt anyone. She doesn’t know what the fight is about, so she feels attacked out of the blue by the second girl and her friends.

It’s silly and it’s usually a misunderstanding. The first girl made a dumb or thoughtless or confusing comment. It gets taken wrong and then it all escalates from there.”

It is hard to go back to a person who made a comment that feels really hurtful and ask: what did you mean when you said this? There is bullying and meanness as well. But my daughter thinks that it’s mostly not deliberate or thoughtless cruelty: mostly it’s thoughtless comments.

Taylor Swift Mean
More Introverted Thinker and Extroverted Feeler stories here.