Friday, February 25, 2011

Operation Zen

I have what you might call a strained relationship with my boyfriend’s brother. To say we’ve ever truly gotten along, famously or otherwise, is a stretch. We have talked. We have shared some laughs, and a handful of good times, but we’ve also shared considerably more arguments, harsh words, and differences in the 10 years we’ve known each other. More than I can count, really. Truth be told, he and I are about as glaringly different as two human beings could be. Him, being a right-wing conservative, suit-and-tie-and-expensive-watch-wearing, male-grooming-products-using, meat-and-potatoes sports fanatic who sees disaster and poverty in the world as indication that “we’re winning”, and me, the probably-too-outspoken, real foodist, pot-smoking, secondary-education-snubbing pseudo-hippie who believes money is the devil and that the world would be a better place if we abandoned the society we’ve built and lived in straw huts with chickens and pigs as pets. Yeah. As you can probably guess, we haven’t seen eye-to-eye on many things. Ever. In fact, the only opinions we’ve ever shared are those on religion, and a love of salmon.

Over the years, our relationship has gone from light-hearted debate, to full-on heated arguments complete with threats and insults, to our current state of arctic deep freeze. It seems we’ve both reached a place where we have no urge to argue with one another… but it’s not as if a fresh, new “clean slate” kind of attitude has come in to replace the old. We just ignore each other for the most part, exchanging occasional nods and barely-audible “hey”s and “sup”s in passing. Add to this the fact that his girlfriend for the past 3 years, who shares all his viewpoints, and who I made the mistake of horribly offending by sharing an innocent link about the dangers of the Atkins diet (a diet her mother is/was on. Big mistake.), seems to absolutely despise me and rarely acknowledges my presence, and the lines of communication and therefore any opportunity to repair things are basically welded shut. To be fair, the girlfriend’s not a very outgoing, talkative person in general (sober, at least), that I’ve noticed, so it’s possible I’m reading too far into her behaviour… but honestly, I doubt it. I’ve certainly shown some not-so-friendly sides of myself in front of her that I greatly regret -- sides of myself that I don’t even like -- so I wouldn’t be surprised at all if she just genuinely dislikes me. The worst part about this is that the brother (we’ll call him “R”)’s behaviour towards me is very much affected when she’s around (when she’s not, I seem to actually exist and we even occasionally share WORDS. Even SMILES. Crazy. When she is, though… ice age.), which is one of the reasons I’m convinced she’s really not my biggest fan.

All this being true, however, still did not prepare me for what occurred last night…

The guy deleted me from his facebook.

HOLY SMOKES. I couldn’t freaking believe it.

I know, I know, it’s “juuust facebook!”, but fuck that. Don’t give me that bullshit. We allllll know what message he’s trying to send: “GTFOO my life! I don’t want to see you, I don’t care about you. I don’t want to look at your pictures or read your statuses or know anything about you.” …And I’m readin’ ya loud and clear, bud.

    Part of me really wants to believe that my exile from his “friends” is due to my constant posting of videos, links, notes and statuses of a subject and nature that he undoubtedly finds ridiculous. Take this post, which was made yesterday, THE DAY he deleted me (or at least the day I noticed), titled: Scientific Proof that Galactic Energies have Triggered Worldwide Consciousness Expansion. 

    Just picturing his reaction to the title of this article/video (he’d never read/watch it) makes me giggle :P But that’s all it is to me: Funny. I find our differences amusing, even fascinating, albeit frustrating at times. I disagree with almost every piece of his core belief system, yet I can’t bring myself to entirely dislike him. I wouldn't tolerate anyone like him under normal circumstances, but, call me crazy, I assumed we were operating under a mutual understanding that, barring any unforeseen circumstances, we’d likely be somewhere in each other’s lives for a long time to come. It’s not as if I pictured the four of us going on couples’ cruises together or anything, but I’d hoped we could at least be civil, for Dan’s sake, and the sake of the rest of the family and our future children.

…And that’s precisely the stance I plan to maintain. I don’t have any foolish hopes for our future relationship. I understand that we will never be friends, and that’s fine. They’re not our type of people, nor are we theirs. I also understand that I’ve more than done my part in tearing down any relationship that may have existed up until this point. I do. I will not, however, continue to contribute to a spiteful, distant and cold future. I won’t do that to Dan, or to his parents, or to our kids, or to myself. I’m going to try to make things right, and salvage whatever level of civility is possible here, even if I have to drag them both (or all three) kicking and screaming. Basically, my plan is this:
1. Keep my opinions to myself. Do not rock the boat or say anything that may cause them to dislike me any more.
2. Maintain a state of unshakeable zen-ness in their presence. If something is said under the breath, or rude or challenging comments are made, I will not respond in kind.
3. Continue to be friendly and make an effort to engage each of them in conversation. Joke. Compliment. Be a pleasure.
4. Also practice this with Dan’s parents, because even though they will likely not delete me from their facebooks, the potential for relationship sabotage is still very real if I can’t muzzle myself from time to time, and because of their non-confrontational nature, they may never make their true feelings known, which is even scarier to me. And obviously the relationship with Dan’s parents is more important than his brother.  

Anyways, I just realized the staggering magnitude of this post, so I’m deeefinitely gonna wrap this up now. Haha. I don’t really expect anyone to read this. I just decided to use the blog as a journal of sorts to get all my thoughts and plans out in a tangible, re-readable way. Thank you, internets! J Let operation zen… begin!

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