on learning to bend

i am a rigid person.  i hold fast to my opinions, and am difficult to persuade otherwise.  my tenacity is one of my strongest assets, but there is a certain brusqueness that seems to be coupled with my unyielding nature.  it’s a package deal (a hereditary gift).  it’s not that i don’t care – i am a deeply compassionate person – but a certain warmth in communication gets sacrificed in my pursuit of simply getting shit done. it’s one of those things i can recognize i’m doing, but i can’t seem to change the behavior.  i grew up in the midwest and consciously worked to drop my midwestern accent upon moving to the northwest for college.  but my true roots betrayed me every time i spoke on the phone with family or friends from back home.  i could immediately detect the long vowels of my hometown slipping back into my speech, but i was powerless to stop them.  now that i’ve long since lost my ability to employ my old midwestern accent even if i try, i can see the sadness in my active eradication of something that was central to my upbringing, simply out of a misguided embarrassment.

whereas in the case of erasing my accent i was trying to rid myself of evidence of my small-town roots – an innocuous though regrettable endeavor – my brusque behavior is one that i believe is actually impairing my happiness, and the happiness of those around me.  it’s like i bring one of those little storm clouds around with me everywhere i go and end up sharing a bit of it with everyone around me, against their will.  some call me pessimistic, negative, whatever it is – but the less-than-positive energy i exude is just something i can’t accept anymore.  i’m trying to learn to bend and yield – to maintain the positive aspects of my realistic and practical nature, but learn to communicate more warmly, in a manner congruent with my values.

i suppose this blog is sort of a public declaration of this commitment, in an attempt to hold myself accountable.  my hope is that focusing my energy in a more creative way, occupying myself with things that make me happy, rather than dwelling on the things that stress me out, will start to simply increase my level of positivity.  therefore, my intentions for this blog are to chronicle any projects i undertake, give me incentive to create more, and share my endeavors with friends and family.  there is no question that i will also post just random links and things that i’m thinking about or cool things people around me are doing or things in this world that simply outrage me.  i can do whatever i want!  but anyway – those are my overarching intentions.  please feel free to comment!


7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Jumperfornicky said,

    I really admire your honest declaration to the world. I hope one day to have the same strength to open up and share who I am.

    P.s. I am always happy around you

  2. 2

    julia b said,


    This is good stuff! Thanks for sharing so openly and honestly. You are a great writer and i look forward to seeing what you uncover for yourself and the world through this on-line exploration.

  3. 3

    Dad said,

    As the one responsible for your heriditary inclinations and the environment for your learned behavior I am very hopeful that you can work your way towards true happiness.

    It will be a struggle as you already know, but pain is a powerful disincentive just as happiness is a the greatest incentive, the yin and yang that will help to move you to a happier state. I know you can do this.

  4. 4

    mswob82 said,

    thanks for the responses.

    julia: your comment made me remember how luna taught you that bending and remaining flexible is actually a survival mechanism in storms – remaining rigid is sort of a death sentence. i guess that story stuck with me!

    dad: the hereditary gift is the package deal, not just the brusqueness- it’s the strength and conviction, too. thank you.

    and tati: thanks for the sweet message! hanging out with you makes me happy, too!

  5. 5

    Tony said,

    I am not going to say I know “exactly” what you are feeling, but lately I have felt very similar feelings. It had gotten to the point where I was being rude to others at work, my ideas were the only good ones, and if they didn’t like it, well, that didn’t matter. My friends were starting to be “busy” when I would have free time and people would call me an asshole in a joking manner eventhough I knew they meant it.
    Things just seemed to be spiraling downward for me. I knew that isn’t who I was in the past, nor who I could be or wanted to be now, or in the future. I thought of all the hobbies I used to busy myself with that made me happy and realized that I had stopped doing all of them at one point or another. Life had become work, work, work, and a constant struggle to pay bill after bill. I didn’t matter to myself anymore, and I needed a big fat slap in the face.
    Since then, I have started getting back into the gym, doing gardening, listen to more music, etc. I even started volunteering at the LGBT Community Center in Eau Claire and have met many new people and am going to be teaching some classes. Things really are starting to change for the better!
    Anyway, my point is that life is whatever you want it to be. Sometimes it is difficult to get through any given day, and there will ALWAYS be days like those. What matters is that we can recognize those days and make a strong effort to handle those days the best we can. I have no specific religion, but I do believe in some “higher power”. Anytime there is something that is bringing me down that I know I can’t do anything about at that time, I simply say, “I’m giving this to you, (higher power name here)” and it really seems to bring peace to me. Kinda silly?

    Sorry so long-winded,

  6. 6

    Marika said,

    Bending makes me think yoga. I wonder if some little doors would open for you in certain poses, doors that would allow you to walk spaghetti arms-style, loose flexible bendy into what you are talking about. Metaphorically. When I think flexible tension, inner and outer,I think yoga.

    I admire you here, like others do. That’s my two cents. I am having a harder time with your Obama post but will try to engage more flexibility, less rigidity, in little Swob fashion.


  7. 7

    Kasha said,

    I love the blog. I really appreciate your perspective and this extra window makes me like you even more. blogging has been a great creative and reflective outlet for me, and somewhat of a measure of accountability for the projects i’m working on. i hope this process opens new spaces for you as well. i’ll be following it.

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