UPDATE: the Council of Meanies

Oy, what activity levels we’ve had here at Casa el Dumpo since I wrote about The Doom Event. Let’s get the Confessions out of the way first.

Confession: the club I wrote about (the ones who voted me out, tra la) is a weight loss group for people who want to lose at least 45 pounds and maintain it forever. I had lost about 30 pounds earlier this year (around March/April and into May/June), but then I backslid. I don’t want to get all deep into the “some people simply cannot eat as much as other people can and still maintain the same weight” or “there are differences in metabolic rates” deal right now, but you probably know that weight bounces back on a lot faster than it comes off. I’ve had quite a bit to deal with over the past few months, and frankly I think spending a lot of time cooking and thinking about food is *B*O*R*I*N*G, so we’ve done the convenience thing and probably haven’t been good little elves. Medifast was a bit restrictive when I had a higher activity level and I simply fell off the salads-only wagon. *Still*, I haven’t gone around trying to fatten people up or undermining THEIR diets, so I figured, y’know.

But anyway, so they do have a leg to stand on. In some sense.

I got a call the morning after (cue Maureen McGovern song) from one of the group members whom I know a little better than the others (I still really only know her slightly, outside of the group.) She called to tell me that the group’s three main movers-and-shakers (and currently big losers–interpret that as you will) had pow-wowed about me and had decided that I needed a “wake-up call.” Some of you perhaps know the philosophy/reasoning behind “disfellowshipping,” which takes place in the Amish community and in some church denominations as well. When someone is disfellowshipped, he or she is basically thrown out of the church or community and everyone pretends there’s no such critter (in Amish communities, the next step is “shunning,” which has to be pretty hard on everyone.) The intention as stated is to “wake up” the sinner or backslider and force him/her to see his or her sins and faults so that he/she can fix them. I personally am not so sure that it has any such effect, EVER, but maybe on stronger personalities it does. Whatever. Anyway, that is the explanation for the organized bye-bye from the group.

They figured I’d throw myself on their mercy or something, I guess. They were surprised and got all offended when Hubster booted their butts out. But how was he to know, when no one said, “All you have to do to be welcomed back is commit to belief in our ways 4-ever, take this Doctor’s 1200 Calorie Diet Plan Sheet as your new Scripture, and never eat anything bigger than your head, ever again.” And I’m still not sure that it would have made any difference if they HAD spluttered out something. Their approach didn’t work on me.

I wouldn’t recommend the toughlove approach in MOST situations. There are better ways . . . and that approach brings out the Inquisitor/Torturer in almost every personality. Not pretty to watch. But that’s just me.

I have a sneaking suspicion that the three biggies (or smallies–depending on your point of view) simply saw this as a way to cut me down to size, er, make me be more impressed with them and their Accomplishment. And I am impressed, really I am. It’s just that . . . well, it’s very nice for them to be healthier and wear small sizes and play sports they couldn’t play before, but it’s not EVERYTHING about a person. They’re still the same person on the INSIDE as they were before. I can be happy for them without feeling that they’re “better people” than I am, or than any other person. We’re all the same amount of “worthy.” God loves a homeless guy, a criminal, a fat slob, and Robert Redford exactly the same. (Insert your own Universal Soul as appropriate.) Maybe they sensed an Attitude in me. It wouldn’t surprise me. I am notorious for jealousy, envy, and indignation over someone “less talented” who wins over the obviously “more talented,” as regular readers of this screed already know. So . . . perhaps this is what they sensed. I didn’t mean to let any of that show, if it’s there, but all have sinned and fall short. So.

Anyway. Just didn’t want you to worry that I had been laid low by a lack of credentials to join the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. I’m afraid to do any research on that, for fear we’ll find nothing but horse thieves and dirty old reprobates in the ol’ family oak.

Even considering how entertaining old reprobates can be, under the right circumstances.
* * *
On a related note, let me recommend the “So Be It” method of disconnecting in order to have a happy and serene holiday. Perhaps I should explain.

I’ve found that it doesn’t pay to court people to love you or care about you. You can expend endless energy and wear yourself out doing nice things to show THEM that YOU care, or going out of your way to meet them more than halfway, and you still won’t get a response that is more than “eh.” THIS IS NOT BECAUSE YOU ARE UNWORTHY. For whatever reason, this person doesn’t have the spark. He’s just not that into you. (Even if he’s your dad, your brother, your uncle, your cousin, your boyfriend, etc.)

Okay, SOME of them really love you and are just taking you for granted. You’re easy–they know YOU will take the initiative. If you stopped, they’d [eventually] notice, and they’d probably contact you. But that’s only SOME of them. It’s painful to hear this, but it’s probably true.

This is a hard lesson to learn, and I find myself learning it (teaching it to myself the hard way) over and over. But maybe I finally understand.

These people generally know where to find you (me) (whoever). If they wanted to get in touch, or gave a rodenhiney, they could. But they don’t. They never think about you when you’re not present. Sure, when you call they’re sincerely pleased, and they’re happy to hear from you. But after you hang up, you will evaporate from their headspace until the next time YOU initiate contact (or they run into you.) There’s nothing wrong with that, I suppose . . . but if YOU want more out of the relationship, you’re always going to be disappointed. You can’t go around heartbroken about it, though. That allows this other person to hurt you even more.

I can’t help it that these people exist (and make up about half of the population, it seems). Hey, perhaps *I* am one of those people as seen from Person A’s perspective! (Although I can’t think of anyone who’s like that towards us . . . who calls first and who always gets neglected. To my eternal dismay, we did treat my Aunt Yvonne like that to some extent, taking her for granted and just assuming she’d always be there and would never be offended that we “forgot” her until the last minute or whatnot . . . and now she’s gone, and hell, I miss her. A lot.) It’s part of life, I guess.

But anyhow, if you are that person who is always searching for people from your past or who forever tries to get The Whole Family or The Entire Gang together, you may need to re-evaluate how much of your time to spend on that. Maybe if you just settled for the ones who actually reciprocate, you’d be a lot less tired. Maybe not happier, per se, but . . . less worn out from tryin’.

I’m just sayin’.

I hope I can remember to take this advice for the rest of the holiday season.


Author: shalanna

Shalanna: rhymes with "Madonna" and "I wanna," and is not a soundalike with "Hosanna" or "Sha-Na-Na." Aging hippie with long hair, husband, elderly mother, and yappy Pomeranian. I've been writing since I could hold a crayon. I started with fiction, which Mama said was "lying." “Don’t tell stories,” she would admonish, in Southern vernacular. “That's all in your imagination!” When grownups said this, they were not approving. So, shamed, I stopped telling stories for a few years--rather, I stopped letting anyone read them. I'm married to a fellow computer nerd who doesn't really like hearing about writing, but who reads sf/fantasy and understands the creative drive. I'm actually a nonconformist/hippie still wearing bluejeans and drop earrings and the Alice-in-Wonderland hair with headbands and sandals. Favorite flavor is chocolate/orange, favorite color is either Dreamsicle orange (cantaloupe) or bubble-gum pink, favorite musical is either Bye Bye Birdie, Rocky Horror, or The Producers . . . wait, I also love The Music Man. Is this getting way too specific and irrelevant yet? Obvious why I don't sell a ton of flash fiction, isn't it? To define oneself, I always say, it is good to make a list. How about a booklist? Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth, Cheaper by the Dozen C.S.Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (all the Narnia books) J.R.R.Tolkien,The Hobbit/LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy Gail Godwin, The Odd Woman F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby J. D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye (before dismissing it, actually read it) George Orwell, 1984 Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle Donna Tartt, The Secret History Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn James Allen, As A Man Thinketh Mark Winegardner, Elvis Presley Boulevard James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum Winnie-the-Pooh/House at Pooh Corner, A. A. Milne Peter Pan, J. M. Barrie The KJV and NIV Bible (each translation has its glories)

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