Do you want the good news or the bad news?
“You never live an inch without involvement and hurting people and fucking yourself everlastingly.”
― James Agee
“I hope I haven’t ruined your Saturday…”
Did he really mean it or did he mean the opposite?
It’s hard to tell with some people when they say things like that. Do they truly hope that they haven’t ruined your day as they say they do or do they actually hope they have ruined your day because then they will leave a lasting memory in your mind about them.
You won’t be forgetting them and their effect on your life any time soon.
We do tend to have better recall when something goes wrong, when bad news is delivered (and who delivered it), when things don’t work out the way we wanted them to. We rarely forget our the appointments we’ve had with disappointment, especially when our expectations were high and we fell, landing hard, hurting ourselves, breaking bones, hearts, acquiring bruises, scars, and never got over it.
We’re very attached to our traumas.
We remember the bad people we’ve met more than the good ones, spend more time thinking about them, obsessing over their villainy. Their poison courses through our veins until it becomes our poison.
Good people are everywhere, but it’s the bad people we notice more sharply than the good ones. We like the good ones, we do notice them, but the bad ones throw shade on the good, eclipsing them as our dislike tends to affect us more than our like, perhaps because it robs us of pleasure replacing it with pain.
You pay attention to your ability to breathe more when you can’t do it than when you can and do it regularly. You appreciate your unblocked nose more when it is blocked.
“He always felt different once he was across the river. This was the real, old, deep country, now. Home country. The cabins looked different to him, a little older and poorer and simpler, a little more homelike; the trees and rocks seemed to come differently out of the ground; the air smelled different.”
― James Agee
The person who said those words to me… I think he meant them.
I think he’s used to being disliked for being the bearer of bad news to people who hire him to do exactly that but don’t want what they paid for. They say they want to face the truth, they may put their money where their mouth is to prove it… but then, when it comes time to face the truth, they don’t want to hear it, they want a version of the truth which is their idea of what the truth should be, which may not be the truth at all.
If you can fit the truth into this narrow margin they set for you then they’ll take it and be proud of themselves for being truth seekers and accepters, but if it crosses the lines they’ve drawn, if you colour over their lines (even if the colours are pretty and brighten their black and white), then they’ll get annoyed at you for giving them what they said they wanted.
Tell me the truth even if it hurts – the truth is supposed to set you free not imprison you!
His job is to deliver bad news, the worst case scenario.
I bet he would like not to do that but that’s his job… so he needs to like doing it. That’s why you hire him – he’s not afraid to find out the truth and share that with you, because that’s what you hired him to do. But then you don’t like him for it because he didn’t tell you what you wanted to hear.
He made my day.
I wasn’t sure how to tell him that as I’m uncertain if he would have believed me. He kept thinking, based on what he said, that I wanted things to be picture perfect… I do like perfect pictures, but I don’t want to live in them.
I felt relieved that he’d come and done his job.
Sure, I wish he’d said everything was fine and dandy, that things were better than I thought they were, but I knew things were problematic and my fears were growing exponentially… he curbed that growth by bringing reality to bear upon the negative side of fantasy. His worst case scenario met mine and… tamed it, brought it down from the heights it was climbing to a plateau and said – look at the view from here, it’s still quite high but it won’t give you the sort of vertigo you were experiencing while imagining without practical facts
(if I did his job I’d probably start off the session with – RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! – then after awhile I’d say – actually you’ve got a year before you need to do that… wait, that year is more like five years… – I’d never get hired if I did his job)
“You’ve got to bear it in mind that nobody who ever lived is specially privileged; the axe can fall at any moment, on any neck, without any warning or any regard for justice.”
― James Agee
He also said something else today which struck me as being bizarrely awesome – he praised me for being destructive, for tearing plaster and plasterboard off walls to expose what lay behind and beneath them.
I occasionally get praised for doing creative things, which is always a lovely surprise, but I really can’t recall if I’ve ever been praised for doing destructive things (other than by the weird part of me who loves it when I do that sort of thing).
My destruction made his job easier, made him able to truly get a measure of what was going on behind the scenes – the facade wasn’t obstructing his readings and thus he could calculate the worst case scenario more precisely. It was also apparently the sort of thing you need to do with this kind of problem. Who knew that one day I would do the proper thing to do!?!
He hummed all the way through his work, which I found rather pleasing. Humming to yourself while you work could mean several things. In his case all of those things could fit. He could have been nervous and trying to comfort himself, but I view it as someone who is concentrating upon and rather likes what they are doing which means they’ll do it well… even if it doesn’t bode well for you.
He’s one of those people who will tell it like it is, what you do afterwards is up to you.
He won’t tell you that you look good if he doesn’t think you look good. He won’t say things are fine if they’re not.
He may not tell you what you want to hear but… you should not have hired him if you didn’t want to know what the situation was actually like in reality.
I prefer to see and know what the is… is.
The good news about someone willing to tell you the bad news is that you can trust them when they give you good news. They’re not telling you what you want to hear so you’ll like them, they’re not saying what they think will get them likes, popularity, and good reviews.
If they say you look good then you look good. If they say things are fine then they’re fine.
Of course there are those who love to give you bad news even when it isn’t true, they’ll tell you that you look bad when you look good because… they’re a bit shit, they have the shits and poop all over everyone and everything and feel better for it… or not.
They’re alarmists and ring the alarm to watch others panic… watching others panic alleviates the panic they feel inside.
Just as there are those who have to cover everything they say and do with sugar because they’re desperate to please and… it’s sweet but that sweetness will rot your teeth and your ability to trust them.
“You must be in tune with the times and prepared to break with tradition.”
― James Agee
It’s been an interesting day…
thanks to a meeting with an interesting person…
the impact of a moment in time can ripple this way and that… and should never be underestimated even when it is easy to do that and someone offers you the chance to do it.
We face ourselves in both the good news and the bad news,
when we expect it and when we least expect it,
sometimes in the words someone says to us may be about us and our story or they may be more about them and their story… or they may be about all of our stories, about all of us.
Today has given me a lot to ponder and wonder about.
Did you spot the face in the pic?