Supplies: Wet Blanket Matadors

a mushroom in Northeast Minneapolis. Remember, mushrooms are usually poisonous.

Wet blanket matadors are the people that will concoct any excuse at all for you to not pursue creativity.

Have I met them?

So many, so often that I have a hard time remembering them all. They blur together after awhile. Sometimes the specifics will come to me. Sometimes they won’t.

The matadors I have met – that selected me for their bull – tend to follow the same trends:

1. Insist something will fail and therefore we should not even try and see if it works.

2. Stepping on toes: attempting to claim a problem we know is coming is something I can’t handle, even though it’s my job to handle it. / Also comes in the form of “well, people will get their feelings hurt.” The situations that this is brought up in is not one where those involved have reason to take much personally at all. The majority won’t.

Favorite versions of this from my past:

  • “You’re too young for that.” – childhood
  • “Well, you’re only a freshman/sophomore…” [always used by the same girl. Apparently I was not to participate in student life until she was graduated and couldn’t see it, or something. My disgust with her still runs deep.]

3. “Aren’t you afraid?”

4. People that want to convince me that I will induce the Apocalypse if I write about the things I write about. They really want to convince me that I don’t know what I’m talking about, or at the very least I should defer to their knowledge and eventually defer my entire personality to their will.

Almost every crazymaker/negative relationship I have ever had has this element to it.

5. People that decide – and announce – my reasons for doing or saying x, without ever actually speaking to me and determining that what they are saying are in fact my reasons for speaking and acting. i.e. speaking for me when I haven’t asked to be represented.

*someone in religious leadership did this once. It forever invalidated her as my priestess; a core skill of priesthood is listening and setting aside assumptions.

*my mother was very fond of filling in why I did things without asking me at all. It all came through her very narrow minded filter; because she did things for the worst possible reasons I had to be doing what I did for the most self-serving of reasons. Except nothing I did had anything to do at all with her worldview. I live on Earth. I don’t know where the fuck she lives.

Example: My dating a black guy (once, for about six months) was a “political act” because I was “pro black power.” This, along with my “preference” for black men was something she reported to everyone in my extended family who would listen. That was, apparently, everyone.

Actually, I dated him because he made me laugh and he had fantastic muscles. There was nothing more to it than that.

The next guy that made me laugh and had a nice butt was white. I can’t legitimately say I’m not racist – there’s bound to be something I’m assuming that I shouldn’t be – but at least I’m past the point where I animalize an entire group of humans. All this taught me that it’s not just my mother. Everyone on her side of the family is just horrible.

General rule: don’t tell other people how I expect to be treated without asking me first. You probably have no idea, or you ignore a lot of evidence and actual spoken words to the contrary.

6. Tell me my sane and human behavior is inappropriate.

I had a boss, on her last day as my boss, call me in her office to tell me that I needed to make sure I kept my feelings to myself more. This happened after a coworker forgot a rather massive job that was due in 48 hours; typically it was a 3 week job. The coworker had known for roughly 14 days. I expressed my frustration in a meeting.

The next boss took me aside and complained that she couldn’t always get a read on how I felt about things.

I am not one of those people that uses my every emotion as an excuse to demand everyone shove their emotions aside to make room for mine. I’d been pushed pretty far – that first boss’s stab was deliberate, vindictive and untrue. She had essentially been demoted for having a nervous breakdown in the middle of a staff meeting. Even though I knew that (I was there) crazypants still did some damage.

The things I’ve listed are what logic, inquiry and active listening are for. People with good intentions – that just don’t want you to mix sodium with something that will make it explode – use those basic skills of asking why, referring to facts and actually finding the facts.  The people that try to shut me down are actually telling me that I might change something, or to their minds worse – succeed. I’m learning to watch for Wet Blanket matadors charging at me. If they are trying to stab me and knock me down, I’m onto something.

And I know to lose their numbers.