Saturday, August 04, 2012

Progress Report, Part Trois

At last! We're at the sixth and final resolution evaluation.
Yeah, the previous ones have been rather long-winded. (!)

Number 6 was to get my "contrarian" nature a little better under control.
In other words, to resist the repeated temptation to jump into every fray and say, "Yeah, but..."

I can only report that I've had mixed results on this one.
Sometimes, it seems, I just HAVE to say something. 
I'm not quite as bad as that cartoon where the person is saying they can't come to bed yet because "Someone is WRONG on the Internet"...but close.
And I was this way before the Internet ever came into the picture.

If you do a search under Jan Butler, even today, you can still see some places where I'm accused of being a writer "behaving badly," where I get abuse heaped on my head that NO ONE has the right to do to anyone else...and if you search the RWA magazine for early 2007, you'll discover that they even conveniently forgot their own rules in allowing at least one person to take potshots at me BY NAME on their pages (something that is strictly forbidden, according to the disclaimer at the end of the same column in which it happens).

All of that came, by the way, because I opined about something that RWA STARTED in the first place. 

I've been called the "conscience" of several groups because I don't take surface things as being the whole picture. EVER.
I always ask, "But what about...?" or "Do we know...?" or "What's the other side of this?"

Most of the time, I'm here to tell you, people don't WANT to have anyone asking that.
When a group gets fired up about something, generally, the LAST thing they want is the other side taken into account--no matter how valid that other side may be, and in some case, no matter how ill-informed their initial opinion appears to be.

More than once, I've blown the whistle in small ways on stuff that turned out, in retrospect, to be a bad idea...and a few people have thanked me for it.
But while you're DOING it, no one thanks you for it.
And 99% of the time, even if you're proven RIGHT, no one thanks you for it later.

And, no, it doesn't count when people write you timid little notes on the side, saying, "Yanno, I actually agree with you. You're saying what we're all thinking."
To which one can only ask, "Then why aren't you all SAYING it?"
And to which, to be blunt, the only answer is, "Because we're chickens."

Well, chickens certainly live less stressful lives than those of us who are always pointing out that emperors are naked. 
And I really, really want that less-stressful life.

I've gotten the reputation over the years of being a tough broad in some circles. <G> If you know me at all, you're laughing hysterically at this point, because "tough broad" is definitely NOT how I grew up.
But when I see something that smells fishy, I'm usually the one who says, "Where's the trout?"
For which I get pelted with a lot of anchovies...and not a whole lot of hot fudge sundaes.
(For the record, I LIKE anchovies--but they're not considered a treat in many circles. Hence, the metaphor.)

Bottom line?
I have to wake up every single morning and repeat the mantra:
"Not every fight is YOURS. In fact, most of them are NOT. So don't feel like you have to fight all of them."
If I succeed in getting myself busy enough with the writing--and if I only SKIM Facebook and most of what's on the Internet--I can actually manage to remember that.
But only for 24 hours at a time.
And the temptation--one might say a compulsion--is always there.
So I suspect this is one resolution that will never be accomplished and struck off the list as "done" completely.

I can only hope when I get to the end of my life, Jesus won't ask me, "Why didn't you fight more for what was right?" That's the nagging fear, you know. That there will be something I could have done something about, and I failed to do it.

But overall, I think I've done a lot of what is my share to right what I see wrong in the world...
and in many cases, little that I say or do is going to affect the world in the end anyway.
Sad, but true.
But it should also be liberating, and it's that liberty I'm trying to seek.

As Uncle Bobby used to say about certain troubles, "It's easier to STAY out than to try to GET out later."
For most fights that, in the end, I get abused for taking a stand on...that's wisdom worth remembering.
There's voluntary martyrdom, and then there's just being a pain in the ass.
Sometimes they're one and the same.
I don't want to be either.

So I'm going to try to remember that wisdom, and much as my "contrarian" nature and conscience will allow me to do.
There are only so many hours in the day, and I've got stories to write.


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