A Further Point of Reference
If you are reading me there is a reason. Could be you like what I write. Could be you don’t. I don’t know. And I won’t say that I don’t care because that isn’t true.
What is true however is that if you are going to read me then you need to understand something about me.
I am an extremely passionate personality. And that passion can, and does, express itself in dramatic ways. What that means is that when I am genuinely happy I can be giddy and generous and hugely demonstrative. When I am genuinely hurt I can spiral into a deep depression that absolutely no one can get me out of.
And when I get angry I will express it in no uncertain terms. I will push all that anger out at top volume. Mainly because long ago I learned that once I was done with it than I would be totally done with it and it wouldn’t weigh me down anymore. And that right there is my biggest problem. I own it. I’ve made that mistake in the past. I’ll make it again in the future. So be it.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize it for the massive flaw that it is, or that I don’t take responsibility for it. I’ll do whatever I have to in order to make things right that I have made wrong. Because when you are like me, that is what you do. I’ve done it in the past. I’ll continue to do it for the rest of my life. So be it.
In conversation tonight I made the observation that the problem is not that my compass is broken, just that I don’t have a good control over my “proportional response.” That is about as accurate an assessment as I can give.
And I know that in the eyes of many people that makes me the bad guy. For years I have heard the mutterings of “arrogant asshole” and worse. Okay, well, I can’t do much about that without changing myself at such a fundamental level that I wouldn’t be me anymore. Sorry to say that, but it is what it is.
None of which is an excuse. Just an explanation. A snapshot of the person who writes these words you are reading, both good and bad.
Now, once again, let me be clear. As clear as I know how to be –
I do not for one moment believe that the people who were hurt in this situation should be the focus of any of this. They are working on their thing as they need to and that is what needs to happen. If I have given anyone the impression that they should be the focus of this then that is my responsibility and I’m asking you now to please give them the space they need to do what they need to do.
If you need to give me my comeuppance for making things worse with my previous post, so be it. I’ll take that. I’ve already explained myself but I recognize full well that those words were very much in the heat of the moment. I will also say that my own personal rules are that if I make a public blunder then I’ll make a public apology in exactly the same forum. That’s what all of this is.
So to those of you whose lives were made much more complicated by my words (you know who you are) I am sincerely sorry for that. You need to know that everything I have said has been born out of my truest emotions and my deepest need to protect the people I care about as well as the people they care about. The whole family. The whole picture. Being a protector is a characteristic that has defined me for my entire life. Sometimes I’m even good at it. Take all of that for what it is worth.
As to the rest….
I do think that the problem lays on the people who broke the rules, but they don’t deserve to be anything more than scolded. And that is what I mean by the problem I have with my “proportional response”. When I wrote what I wrote my anger was coming out but I wanted nothing more than for that to be a scolding and to reflect the depth of the pain that was caused. To bring to light a problem that exists that has vexed myself and others over the years in the integrity of our councils. The difference being that this time there were serious and real consequences that were caused by a breach of a simple rule that should not have been broken.
Fear causes fight or flight responses. I have a lot more fight than I do flight. When something big gets dropped on me that makes me fear for someone then I respond. And that is what gets me in to trouble. We all become protective of people we care about. When those people are hurt so deeply we want to respond not just to heal them, but to punish those who hurt them. The greatest mistake I have made is that I let my anger rule my words with regards to this.
So in that light I apologize as well. Yes, I am angry about what happened, but no one deserves the level of anger that came out of me. If I had been doing what I should have been doing all along then I would have responded more “proportionally”. I don’t know that they will ever see this. But everyone else who reads my words will at least understand why, and that is good enough for me. I hope it will be good enough for them as well.
The truth is that we should not care about the who. What we should care about is that it happens at all and that somewhere along the line some of us have lost the thread of what our responsibilities are as Peers sitting in a council. We have the power to do a great deal of harm. We have the power to do a great deal of good.
Sitting in a council means that we, collectively, have at our disposal the best possible self correcting system of judgement that we can make. When one of us goes outside of how that system works it undermines the very power a council actually has. It weakens us all.
And sometimes it hurts the very people we are supposed to be trying to foster along on a very important path.
There are several conversations that need to take place. Some of them will take place with me. Some of them will take place without me. I am, in fact, quite sure that people who are my friends won’t want to talk with me for awhile about this or much of anything else. It’s a familiar pattern. I am quite certain that I have created a great deal of animosity in my direction. I’ll accept that too. That is being said, by the way, with no sense of self pity. It is nothing more than an observation about how some people work and how social dynamics work. I may not always have the best social skills but I do have a pretty damn deep understanding of them. Might be part of why I act the way I do. I’ll have to think about that.
In the end, you need to take away one important thing from what I am writing here; that I am deeply sorry for the over reaction of my previous post and the difficulties it may have caused people I care about. I hope that I have explained myself. If I haven’t, or you feel you need to know more, I’m not hard to find.