Tag Archives: people

We Affect Each Other


We affect each other

push and pull on each other’s emotions

if we drown we drag people down with us

if we fly others draft in our wake.


vent your frustrations into somebody’s ear

watch their smile disappear


laugh until they can’t help laughing too

love until they are loving you


It gets bigger.

Sometimes you are part of something beyond yourself

sometimes you are angry for no reason

and the people on the street match your mood

sometimes you overhear conversations

or see a trend on social media

which inexplicably echo your private feelings.


Is it the moon?

Herd instinct?



When I didn’t have feelings

I watched it happen

distantly curious.

Now that I’ve found my heart

I am swayed with the populace

flowing where they flow.

Ardently curious

and still no answer.














To make a friend


How exactly do you


a friend?

Out of the thin air

Out of the faceless crowds

You pick someone

Then come

Delicate first efforts

Some texts, some calls, some online discourse

Soon you can get a little closer

No sudden movements

Don’t scare them off

Feed them frequently

Small gifts

Eventually they trust you enough

To let you into their house

Hug them whenever you want

Get drunk together

Go for nothing drives

Drop by uninvited.

You don’t make a friend.

You tame one.














Fixing people


I wish we could fix people.

I wish wishes could fix people

And support

And kindness

And presents

And hugs.

I wish we could say the perfect thing.

I wish we could help

Really help.


But often the best we can do

Is stand by their sides


Be kind

Give presents


Try to say the right things



And watch them

Fall apart














Different ways that strangers treat me

When I drive home on a normal day, people don’t notice me much. Everybody is reasonably respectful. But when I put my sunglasses on and hide my eyes, people get a lot more impatient with me. They pass me quickly, try to zoom ahead of me at stop signs, etc. I’m sure this has everything to do with the glasses and is in no way a reflection of my driving skills…

In the winter, if I wear my crocheted white owl hat with the cute tufted ears on top, people are really nice to me. They bag my groceries with extra care, talk to me like a friend, and look at me fondly. My adorable owl hat makes me an adorable owl hat person. I have learned that adorable owl hat people are very approachable and are already friends with everyone.

If I feel tired and weak, people look more nervous and keep more distance. I’m pale and get really dark lines under my eyes when I feel tired, so I think I can look pretty bad. Some people give me space, some people have a more supportive and protective air and try to cheer me up with careful, gentle jokes.

When I feel really sick and grouchy and have to go out and pump gas in my swishy pants, when all I want to do is crawl under a rock and die and I hate everyone, this is when guys seem most attracted to me. This has led me to the conclusion that there are lots of men out there who want a woman who will kick their ass.

These are huge differences in treatment, based on very small changes such as my mood or a single article of clothing. If you’re walking down the street, how differently do you treat each person who passes? Do you smile at one and not the other, mutter excuse me to one and avoid eye contact with the other? Why?

Once I read an essay or something (I’m sorry to have forgotten the details) by an African-American man. He noticed people getting tense if he walked down a lonely street near them. His solution to this was to start whistling Vivaldi. He said he could see their backs immediately loosen up. Hardened criminals don’t give their position away by whistling cheerful, cultured tunes!

I wonder how much of our personalities, clothing choices, etc are made to get other people to look at you the right way.

I wonder what we would each be if there was no peer pressure. I tell you what, I probably wouldn’t shower.



…who am I kidding. This drawing is my reality.

Who We Respect

Who is your hero? Who do you really respect? Family, friends, historical figures, celebrities, bloggers… me…

What quality is it about that person that you love? I guess most people I admire, is for their kindness and compassion.

When I think of people I respect, I imagine their qualities as miles beyond my own capacity.  There is no way I can match Audrey’s kindness, or dad’s generosity, or Jessica’s ability to draw someone out.

But this is the thing that I’ve noticed. Our heroes are who we are. The things that we love most about our heroes and try to emulate, are the things that we already are.

I feel very small when I try to imagine myself as extra generous, or kind, or approachable. I may not feel that I have achieved their level, but to an outsider it must be clear.

How can I back this up? Get this: people will compliment others on the things they want to be (and probably don’t realize that they already are). When they genuinely compliment someone, they probably already have that quality in spades. That is how they are able to recognize it in another.

For example, my sister Audrey will mention, with some despair, that she wishes she could be as kind and considerate to everyone as I am. But she always thinks to do the dishes and sweep the floor so our parents don’t have to, she is always the first to notice if someone says something cruel, she is the one that animals love. And she says she admires MY kindness, what a laugh, right?

Jessica has complimented me as being a self-assured, eye-catching woman who doesn’t give a shit. Of course, she is this very thing. She turns heads, she has no problem telling people off if they need it, and she is more empowered by her gender than restricted by it.

Dad always seems impressed at my communication skills, how I can spot a flaw in an argument. He thought I would make a good lawyer. Guess who I’ve never won an argument with.

Of course, there are moments when Audrey gets snippy, or Jessica has a crisis in confidence, or words fail Dad. I also have chinks in what I suppose to be my strengths. Nobody is perfect.

I think, when it comes to our personal values, we have higher standards for our own behavior. I am always trying to watch my tongue, because I have hurt people’s feelings before with unthinking, rough remarks. But maybe I am actually very good at not hurting people’s feelings. Maybe I just have such high standards for myself that when I mess up, I am devastated and feel I should redouble my efforts.

Just food for thought. You might not be as inadequate as you feel.

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