Sunday, August 14, 2016

What does it all mean?

I always react viscerally when someone is rude to me. Today someone was rude to me.

I was taken aback with the first instance but as I was taught years ago "if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing". I said nothing. I bit my tongue. There was so much to say, but I bit my tongue.

When the same person was rude to me again, this time in front of others, I bit back. I wasn't rude, but I demanded that this person not be rude to me.

I do not deserve rudeness from anyone. In recent years I have been treated abominably by quite a few people. For my wellbeing I have chosen to remove myself from situations that other people obviously considered normal, but I did not.

Let's not even go back to childhood when I was bullied at school for having a father who was an Anglican minister. I may as well have had four heads and 16 fingers, I was such a strange creature, apparently. And when I went to my daughter's school this past week to help some Year 8s with their magazines, I read stories about bullying and exclusion and people feeling invisible and I told this most amazing Year 8 student who wrote those stories that nothing has changed in 40 years and I told her she would make it because she is strong. And I could see that she believed me and I'm glad she did because I meant it.

Rudeness and bullying are perpetrated by inadequate, insecure people. They want to bring everyone down to their level. I could never fathom the bullies at work and their modus operandi. How, I would rail to the others, could "Person X" wake up in the morning and think this is an acceptable way to treat another human being. Obviously for them it was. A colleague described one of the bullies recently as a "survivor". Cockroaches are survivors, I responded.

Life isn't about winning and losing. The Olympic Games are about winning and losing and how competitors react to race day is mostly an imperfect science. Good luck to those who have spent years training to compete, thank you to the taxpayers of Australia for funding their dreams. The rest of us have to fund our own dreams. But we all have a life to live,

The motto of the Olympics is Citius, Altius, Fortius (from Latin, Faster, Higher, Stronger).

If you want a modern take on this Michelle Obama said the quote of the year when she addressed the Democratic National Convention: "When They Go Low, We Go High."

I find myself repeating that quote every few days.

Last night I had dinner with a friend. A former colleague had died four months into his retirement. This man was a great friend and support for my friend. We sat and talked about a whole lot of stuff and in the end said: What does it all mean?

By "all" we mean the fussing and the bullying and the jockeying for power and the treating people badly and the bullshit and the sadness and the meanness and the goodness and the friendships and the love. All the love. All the everything that makes the human existence. What are we here for?

In the end we are stardust. Returned to the stars. Dead.