Ladies and gentlemen, butches and femmes, delicious blog-reading visitors of all shapes, sizes, origins and orientations: We have come full-circle.
Positivity was the first Usual Error workshop I posted publicly about, and today it is the most recent workshop I have attended—twice!! I have gone through two cycles of Usual Error presentations, give or take a few that I missed in the first round. The first set happened at the Resource Connection; the second set happened at the Human Potential Center. The ones I missed the first time around turned out to be awesome, and the ones I got to attend twice had grown and improved by my second time! It’s really obvious how organic and essential this material is, especially now that Kyeli, Sera and Pace have finished the first draft of the book. Which, I might add, Marty will be illustrating. I mean, how cool is that!?
I won’t repost my notes from the first Positivity workshop, because they’re already here! But I will post the additional notes I took this second time, because some of them are particularly fabulous—and I’m proud of how easily they came to me. I really, really love this stuff.
First things first: LOTS of people came to this workshop. It was wonderful! We sat in a huge circle and relaxed happily in the yummy Human Potential Center atmosphere.
Choice phrases of the afternoon:
- Pace described the amygdala as the “Oh-Shit Center”. The Oh-Shit Center is balanced out by saying “That makes me happy!” (When it’s true, of course.)
- We bond socially by coming together to overcome adversity, so having problems is good! How else can we grow and learn?
- “It’s sooooo muddy here!” (That one was just me.) The “Awesomesa”. The wonderful word that is “oubliette”. Is “oubliette” a she? Also, there were a bunch of Cure jokes I didn’t get. Er.
The Triad’s depth of feeling charges the entire workshop with positivity. Kyeli expresses concepts on a level that I can utterly relate to, really believing strongly in the changes she has the power to make. And Sera, while soft spoken, explains her ideas in incredibly simple, honest statements—warm, truthful, heart-filled! Pace’s indescribable enthusiasm is absolutely infectious and dude, so exciting to share and experience. The Usual Error content is one thing. But what these three ladies bring to it in their individual (and collective!) perspectives and personalities is another. This changes everything.
We talked about words. I can’t do this. I can’t make it Friday night. I have talked about this extensively before. Using these words has absolutely trapped me in the negativity of my schedule when in fact I am in complete control of ME and what I decide to do. It’s an incredible thing to realize and take hold of. Sera demonstrated the difference between doing a thing and moving past it, using Conor to illustrate board-breaking in martial arts. Conor was awesome. Standing there in the center, holding the bases of his palms together so hard his arms trembled, dutifully standing still and holding strong for the experiment! And I love this illustration. If you aim for the board, you are stopped. If you aim past the board… you go through.
Then we talked about some other things. “I’m no good at…” “I’m just not very…” Bah! In so many cases, the unconscious already knows the thing, knows how to do it right. If you give your unconscious the opening to provide that information to your conscious self, you can suddenly—miraculously—be or do that thing! And of course, the opposite will hold true, too. This also seems pertinent in cases of “That’s not like you…!”
What we tell ourselves and others has a profound effect on who we all are. Expecting the best from others may make your social experiences better in many ways!
And then there was teasing.
Why do people do this? The teasing I tend to get from my extended family (and often my mother as well) is not okay. I’m going to talk about this for awhile, and I want you to understand that I love my family—even the members thereof that I don’t really see or talk to. Even in misunderstandings, I know they love me back. But this analysis of communication is really important to me. And if one of them were to read it and understand what I’m talking about, and later connect with me just to better understand how we can communicate… that would be awesome. But this particular subject upsets me. So I’m about to get a little bit upset. So… especially if you’re one of those family members… try to get my meaning on this. Because I would really, really like that connection.
The teasing I get from Marty… is mostly okay. Marty and I have come to know one another deeply and well, and the teasing we do generally reflects that. He has earned my trust in that respect. But my family hasn’t.
My father and I connect well—he doesn’t really come into this discussion at all. The rest of my family is another story. It bums me out to talk about this, because I’d love for the case to be otherwise. The fact is that I haven’t spent that much time, cumulatively, with the rest of my family. And the teasing that happens there often oversteps reasonable boundaries by quite a bit. Interestingly enough, it seems to be mostly the male members of my mother’s side of the family… but not exclusively.
For some reason—and the Triad backed this up with the things they suggested—it does not feel like oversensitivity on my part. It does feel hurtful. It does not feel simply playful. But to be playful—is that why they do it? We have gotten so uncomfortable genuinely communicating with one another that we resort to this 24/7 “playfulness”? I have so little time with my family, we can’t even spend that small amount of time really connecting? Oh, I don’t know.
I didn’t agree so much before with the Usual Error’s take on teasing, but now I feel differently. Let us speculate hypothetically on a situation where a cousin I barely know teases my boyfriend in a way that… bothers me. Seems to have a point, but bothers me. If my cousin at that time says, Megan, I don’t know you well, but I feel protective of you, and care about your well-being—that’s why I am teasing your boyfriend—well, maybe that’s why he does it. And maybe that’s okay. I can be understanding. I can chill.
But maybe he just wants to get his jabs in. Maybe he’s been jabbed so often, you know? This teasing thing. Sure, it’s one thing if it’s just teasing—especially teasing that doesn’t piss me off or make me upset. But… what if it does? What if he’s not, without him even really understanding it? What if it steps right on over the line?
This workshop, I went around and around in my head, wondering.
It’s bad enough if his teasing is just a… a shield. For honesty that makes him uncomfortable. But it’s so much worse if he jabs and uses honesty as an excuse. And more than that, it’s even worse if he does that to his children—then his children will jab for the sake of jabbing, using honesty as an excuse, passing along those habits and reactions to their children, passing along that discomfort with communication…
Back on down the line, is it ever actually rooted in positivity? Who starts the jabbing to begin with, just feeling a bit uncomfy with expressing real feelings? Maybe! Maybe some of it! And this idea, this is only acceptable because no one has compassionate communication skills. Where does it begin? Because—in this hypothetical situation—it has perpetuated a cycle where my cousin can (hypothetically) pretend he’s protecting me while transferring old nastiness that he doesn’t even know is nasty, previously directed at him by someone who didn’t even know it was nasty… onto someone I really DO know, really do care about deeply!
No wonder it’s hard for me to connect with my family!
If you know how to communicate, if you DO communicate… teasing REALLY IS fairly marginal. No big deal! But if you DON’T—if you don’t even KNOW HOW —Bad. Lots and lots of bad.
Are you getting this? This is a big deal to me. Tell me if you’re getting this. I’m going to move on. And, I mean, there’s not a whole lot to move on to. You’ll notice that this part, this teasing part, this was the big revelatory stretch for me. But we still do have Endings, which Tanya mentions relates to the recency effect. Remind me to look that up in Wikipedia. We talk about the hippocampus, which makes memory stick. Pace explains the hippocampus to Kyeli in terms of DRAM, which cracks me up! And then there is something about remembering the unusual set, and NLP, and a few other things…
It’s all good. Even with those alarming realizations thrown into the middle, it’s all really, really good. And that’s all I’ve got. Man, this is long. But worth it!