Friday, December 20, 2013

How to Keep Me Accountable

Years ago, I had a Christian friend who admitted that he was having a problem with using profanity.  Though I never heard him use it myself, I would suspect that him having Tourette's probably only made the issue worse; however, he did admit that having a group of friends at his college who kept each other accountable was a major help in keeping his language in check.  I may not have the same living situation, but I can still hope my friends can keep me accountable; if I say I will do something, but don't do it, they should be the ones letting me know.

Still, there is just one question: How? A friend recently commented, "I'm happy to hold you accountable. What would you like me to do?" Probably others have been asking the same question, which is likely why I have only been notified that I was doing something I had previously said I wouldn't do a scant few times.  So, I'm here to tell you what I would like you all to do in that regard.

First off: Remember what I said I was going to do...and hold me to it.  I don't expect you to remember every word I put on this blog--honestly, there are some online statements I've made I don't even want to recall myself!--but I do hope that you will remember the main points, and, if you think I've said or done something in violation of a previous statement, say something! That doesn't mean you have to call me out publicly; frankly, unless I flagrantly make a mockery of someone I personally know, making a public statement--online or elsewhere--that chews me out is simply an overreaction.  I should know; I've had it happen before, and it seriously hurt.  Telling me privately would be the best way.  Even if you think I've violated my own statements when I haven't, I'll investigate it and kindly reply.  That also means you will have to pay attention to what I post online...but you already do that, or you wouldn't be reading this!

Second off: When we talk, if I tell you I'm planning on doing something--or have done something--that isn't in keeping with my word...let me know.  Many of you know of a certain former female friend who I was obsessed with for quite a while.  What you may not know is: Prior to that, I had heard of other individuals whose obsessions with real-life acquaintances led to them facing charges...and I said, "I would never do that!" It wasn't until my case of it had blown over that I realized I had done something I'd said I would never do.  Then again, that wasn't the only time; it's happened before...and it's happened since.  I'll be honest: One of my problems is that I tend to say whatever it takes to get what I want...without actually intending to follow through on my word.  Back in 1999, one of my neighborhood friends got in a Super Smash Bros. duel with his brother to determine who the true champion of their household was.  To encourage him to win, I told him that, if he won, he could go online and print any Pok√©mon he wanted from my computer.  He did win...but I was still shocked when he actually held me to what I said.  Years later, I had to promise that I wouldn't complain if and when my parents decided to get a dog in order to go to an American Idol concert.  I agreed to all that...but, when I heard we actually would be getting one soon, I became so mad that me and my father got into an argument in public, and, when I vented to a friend about my situation, she reportedly told my mother, "[Siobhan] is very angry!"  In both cases, I was just speaking words to get what I wanted; I had no plans to actually do as I said.  I'm tired of that; I don't want to be a manipulator or a deceiver.  If a man is only as good as his word...then, my word needs to be great!

My final point before my conclusion: Don't make excuses for me not doing as I say. When I was in school, I had teachers at times who would give me high grades on projects that were paltry compared to the ones my classmates did.  It was especially that way in my high school Spanish class; I often turned in projects that I hastily slapped together in Print Shop or AppleWorks...and got close to the same grades as other kids who worked much harder on theirs! Yes, I may have had a "condition," but the only reason I did such rush jobs was because I "needed" my TV and Nintendo GameCube time, not because I couldn't work any harder! The same is true of me doing as I say: Unless there's some sort of extraneous circumstance--and I'm not the one who should be the judge of that--I should keep my word, regardless of what anyone else does or says.  It's true that it might take me a while to make a new habit, which is why a gentle reminder that I'm not doing as I said would be a big help.

Now, for my conclusion: One thing I absolutely don't want anyone to do is to do everything for me.  Of course, when learning a new skill--driving, graphic design, performing, etc.--one does need to heed the words of those who are more experienced within whatever area(s); still, if all I do is sit and watch someone else do something, I haven't really learned anything.  I know that most of you reading this are much well-versed in everything--well, okay, everything but kiddie entertainment!--than I am.  I want you to guide me, and I'm willing to accept assistance...but, if you do too much, what have I learned? It's as Confucius once said: "I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."

Any comments?

Friday, December 6, 2013

My Resolution(s) for the Rest of the Year...and Next Year...and Beyond!

I'm going to try and keep this short, as I have less than an hour before my Internet curfew of 8:00: For far too long, I have been all about talk and not much about action.  On this blog alone, I have rehashed the same stories to make the same points, without actually doing anything to put them into practice.  Seriously, how many times have I said, "From now on, I will _____," and proceed to stop doing whatever after only a few days? Frankly, I'm tired of the talking, and I'm ready to take some action.  So, here's what I'm going to do from now on, and I expect you, as my friends, to keep me accountable.

1) No more endless defenses of how unique or different I am.  I could sit here and tell you about how us originals are thought of as freaks by many people, and use the example of a high school classmate I only knew of--that is, I never spoke a word to her--as an example of how different "different" can be.  I could sit here and tell you that I know that my different tendencies have caused me to lose some friends, but that I couldn't care less what they think, and don't even want to hear what they have to say.  I could quote Bible verses and use them against unnamed individuals who have apparently made comments about my tastes that I didn't appreciate.  I'm not, though, because you've heard it all before.  Seriously, I've wasted too much time doing all that, and it hasn't gotten me anywhere; all I've done is exasperated myself and told you what you already knew.  Instead of talking about how different I am, I'm just going to be that way.  That doesn't mean that I'm going to stop my typical posts--song lyrics, weekly "hauls," entertainment moments, movie/book reviews--etc.; it just means that I'm not going to endlessly defend what I'm doing.  If someone does make a disparaging comment--and we all know that someone, somewhere will--then that is on him/her, and it's nothing more than a sign of his/her insecurity and immaturity.  Getting upset and venting my frustrations is nothing more than playing into such a person's hands; the only right way to reply is to not say anything to such individual, but to keep doing whatever it is whoever doesn't want me to do.  It's just like when my grandmother got her driver's license; when my grandfather said, "You're never going to get it!", she set out to prove him wrong.  It's the same with me; when someone tells me I shouldn't be reading, watching, or listening to whatever because I'm too old or it's too "girly," I should just do it anyway, not waste my time addressing such ridiculous comments.  In my review of the horrible movie The Clique, I began my thoughts by saying, "I'm not even sure if I should dignify this movie by reviewing it."  It's the same with unfortunate individuals' comments; they really don't even deserve a response.

2) No more wondering why I don't have what others have.  Throughout my life, I have tended to have an, "I want, I want, I want!" mentality.  Even when I didn't know someone else who had something, simply seeing it in a catalog or on a commercial made me want it fervently.  Thankfully, my mom was smart enough to know that I didn't really want everything I thought I wanted, and didn't waste her money on silly little trifles for which I had no need.  Though I rarely look at catalogs or watch commercials on TV anymore--and, even when I do, I seldom want what it I see--it's still a problem because of what I see on Facebook.  Oftentimes, I see people writing and/or posting pictures about their outing to a fancy movie theater, concert, or party, and wonder: Why wasn't I invited? Why don't I ever get to do that? It's the same with relationships at times; I see someone talking about their impending wedding, and I ask myself: Okay, so...when is my wedding? With all this talk about being different, and not doing or having what "everybody else" does...shouldn't that apply to social outings and my relationship status as well?

3) No more wasting time when I don't get exactly what I want, when I want.  Some years ago, I lamented to my coeval friends at church that my mom punished me by making me "write a hundred sentences."  They all replied at once, "That's it?!!", and one even commented, "Shoot, man; I'd just write the hundred sentences and get it over with!"  Unfortunately, it seems like, when things don't go exactly my way, I tend to pout and get upset.  What I should do is find something else to do; seriously, pleading with someone to do what I want him/her to do when he/she has already said no doesn't do anyone any good.  The same applies to other time-wasting habits, such as poking around online or pacing and talking to myself.  In all honesty, I should have plenty to do; I didn't purchase all those books and DVDs for them to just sit around and collect dust!

I will end by saying this: Many people tend not to make New Year's resolutions, if only because they know they won't keep them.  I'm reminded of a columnist in my local paper who once said he got a kick out of visiting a nearby walking trail on the first of January and watching all the people who "resolved" to run a mile a day...only to come back a few months later and see that the vast majority have given up!  I used to be the same way, but, in reality, it was only because I didn't want to change my ways; I was convinced that I was fine the way I was.  Unfortunately, none of us are; we've been flawed individuals since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit.  Frankly, I think part of the problem with New Year's resolutions is that, when people make them, they bite off more than they can chew, so to speak.  Of course those people who want to run a mile or two every day give up; they need to start small!  If they started by walking half a mile, and worked their way up over the course of the year, they'd be better off! For some people, though, making a change takes longer than a year.  It may take thirteen months, or it may take a decade.  I say that because the resolution(s) above probably smack of my resolution for this year.  Though I'd say I'm doing better with using my time wisely, I still have some work to do; however, that doesn't upset me.  I realize that these things take time, and am proud that I have at least made some progress on that front.