Random Thoughts #44 - the "retribution" edition

Greetings and welcome to another set of Random Thoughts from yours truly, back on its normal day. Once again I have a lot to get to so let's do so, shall we? Enjoy.

 -  Before I begin, many of you have probably noticed that things have been sorta rough for me the past few weeks. I know there's several people I need to thank for their patience, understanding, friendship, and help, but first and foremost I want to specifically acknowledge and thank my friends Ernest and Pastor Cory for helping me get through the roughest of it. It means a lot that they stood by me and I'm extremely proud that they are my friends. To quote Wayne and Garth from Wayne's World: I'm not worthy!!! I'm not worthy!!! I'm not worthy!!!

 -  Speaking of the last few weeks, for a while after I wrote the blog two weeks ago, I had this nagging, unsettled feeling. I didn't understand at first why I had it...only that I had one. It wasn't anything I could pinpoint until I came across an old article I wrote near the end of my first go-round in college. Upon finding this, I figured out why I felt so unsettled. It was the realization that this was not the first time I had written something I stood by that became controversial and created issues with people around me. It was something that did factor into why I left college all those years ago and did not come back full-time until 2004.

It started with a couple items I had read at the beginning of spring in 1995 in the OSU newspaper The Lantern, more specifically an article and a personal editorial. Both were written about circumstances regarding a friend of mine at the time who was leaving her position in undergraduate student government (USG). She stated that she left for personal reasons, but the impression I got was that the USG people treated her like crap and she was being forced out and socially being excommunicated from them. That impression was cemented through the aforementioned editorial in which one of the USG members, a representative of the Newark campus, made comments about her departure that reflected a "you-were-never-one-of-us" attitude and took shots at her personally that were uncalled for. I was really put off by that and felt I had to say something, so one night I started typing up a response of my own to the editorial and sent it in to the Lantern not expecting it to be printed. One day I open up the paper and there it was, with very little editing done (only one sentence taken out). I was surprised and shocked and was hoping that my friend wouldn't be hurt by what I did, but she was really happy that I stood up for her especially after all the crap she was taking.

My editorial, however, was not liked by everybody. Several of my co-workers at my campus job were also members of USG, and they took offense with what I wrote, especially since it looked to them that I went after their friend. I pointed out to them where I was coming from and how this guy should have been more careful with what he said. I thought that would be the end of it, but I got a shock right before my birthday. I was going to check on whether I could get my birthday off when I came across a staff meeting that I was not privy to, likely on purpose. All the managers and several USG-related co-workers were at this meeting, which I just stood outside of without giving away that I was there. They were rather loud and animated about what I wrote and not happy about it. Now, there were a couple of managers that said 'let it go', but most of the people at the meeting apparently couldn't, saying things like it was too personal for them, that they might quit, and things about me personally that sounded like how that editorial went after my friend. It wasn't pretty, to say the least, but one thing really got to me....many of them actually said that they wanted to "get DJ back" and "do something about DJ", almost cheering each other on to do so. I couldn't believe I was actually hearing this, especially since I worked with some of these people for years, and that it was now something else to worry and be paranoid about besides school and keeping a job. I went home after taking that all in, but to hear that stuff...at the time, I never imagined that anybody in a professional capacity would ever do what they were talking about, discuss such a thing in an official-like meeting, or outright talk about turning their back to me or anybody else.

I probably should have quit after that, but at the time, to be quite blunt, I wasn't all there. I was emotionally immature, had no idea of what a "boundary" was, and I did not have the confidence at the time to actually quit, so I stayed on until the end of the organization two months later. However, I gave them the cold shoulder in a way that undermined them and attempted to make them feel as bad as I felt about them. I was hurting and I wanted them to hurt because they wanted to hurt me (hence why I called this entry the 'retribution' edition). It must have worked because at the end of my time in the organization I read an evaluation of me that stated that if the organization wasn't ending they would have fired me, which in some twisted way I wanted but at the same time I didn't (probably because I needed the money). It also led me to leave school altogether because at the time I didn't feel like I belonged there.

There are some parallels to what I've been dealing with recently, but there are some stark differences. One, I try to avoid backstabbing jackasses like a lot of those co-workers turned out to be (as you can tell, I still have some sore feelings about them). Two, I'm definitely not the same person I was then. I've grown up, matured an awful lot, got my emotions in check, and I've come a long way since that time with no small thanks to therapy, my family, and my friends. I will say that based on that experience I still have trust issues regarding the workplace in general, which is probably holding me back a lot...I'll get over that sometime. Three, to actually see that I did troubling or even bad things to my co-workers...to know that I am capable of doing such things...is humbling and something that I keep vigilant recognition of, even when I believe with all my heart I'm doing the right thing. I hate it when I hurt and hate it when people around me are hurting. I think people who know me already get that I don't try to intentionally hurt or harm others and try to make things right when possible. However, I do have the right, as a human being and as a U.S. citizen through the First Amendment, to honestly speak my mind on my feelings or concepts I bring up and to not be belittled or made to suffer just because someone has a disagreement with me...that should go for anybody.

The big lesson I learned from that and other similar painful experiences is that without healing hurt can bring about more hurt and pain can bring about more pain. I've seen a lot of this in my life, with it happening to me, from me, and around me. Sometimes it can be avoided, sometimes it can't, but I believe we should all work toward healing wounds and not make them worse. Now, would I have written that article all those years ago if I knew what was going to happen? In a heartbeat I would. It was the right thing for me to do, then and now. However, if I were the person then that I am now, I would have handled my co-workers and possibly my life differently, because in attempting to hurt them I was just hurting myself. A couple years ago I found the editorial I wrote at the OSU Journalism building (it wasn't online, so I had to look for it) and made copies of it. I keep the article not just because of what I wrote, which I'm really proud of, but to remind me that not everyone is gonna like what I think or say or write and to be mindful of that.

 -  Over the past week we've lost some pretty well-known celebrities like Farrah Fawcett, Ed McMahon, and now I hear about Billy Mays (the loud commercial guy who yells "BILLY MAYS HERE WITH (la-dee-da-dee-da and all that junk)!!!). However, one person passed away last week that I think every person who knew of him was influenced by him in some way. That person is "The King of Pop" Michael Jackson. He was a pioneer in music, breaking sales records with his album "Thriller", revolutionizing music videos, and dancing his way into people's hearts. I don't know of any one of my friends that dances or goes to dance clubs that was not influenced by him in some way. His music and dancing was such an inspiration to and influence on me in my dance style. My friends and I who do the Booty Call even do a couple of moves that reflected his influence on us (the 'lean' from Smooth Criminal and the famous pointing motion he and his brothers did in concert). Despite the circumstances surrounding his life and passing, I think my friends and anybody who reads this will agree with me that he was loved and he will be missed by all of us. Rest in peace, Michael Jackson.

 -  Like I said last week, I've been making some small changes, some due to recent events and some that have just been a long time coming. I'm already starting to see the payoff on some of those changes and I'm waiting on more of a payoff to come soon on the rest of them.

 -  Another big shock from last week regards the Cleveland Cavaliers. Shaquille O'Neal was traded to the team for a couple players, a draft pick from next year, and cash. Shaq is been one of my favorite players in the NBA and to see him on my home team delights me to no end. A lot of people may see the negatives in this, but I believe he fits in with the playing style of the Cavs (he didn't with the Suns) and his personality compliments the team very well. He and LeBron James might be a powerful combination come next season. I'm looking forward to next season more than I have probably since the Price-Daugherty-Nance era in the 80's.

 -  A plug for my church once again: www.crossroadswcc.org. Go check it out.

 -  The mayoral recall election in Akron has come and gone, and Don Plusquellic is still the mayor there. I'm not fond of the man and wish he were gone, and I hoped the recall would help get him out but it didn't. It may not have been a good idea to have a recall and maybe the organizers should have waited for the regular elections, but at least they tried.

 -  I've got a pretty busy week coming up with stuff to do and places to go, mainly due to the July 4th holiday weekend. Should be interesting.

 -  For those of you who use Firefox...the upgrade to version 3.5 is arriving on Tuesday, so make sure your extensions still work or need an upgrade.

 -  Songs on repeat: "PYT", "Human Nature", and "You Rocked My World" by Michael Jackson, in honor and reverance of the icon now passed. A lot of people liked his more famous stuff but these were my favorites specifically.

 -  SLP to the following: Dave, Holly, Ernest, Pastor Cory, Adrian, Tommy D, Brandon, Patrick, Griff, and to my Aunts Susie, Sandi, and Uncle Bill (from Facebook...welcome to social networking).

It has been a very eventful week and the summer has only just started. Until next time...take care and God Bless.