Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Cuttin' a mother-$#@^a OFF!

How quick are you to cut a friend, associate, or family member off? Where do you draw the line?

I'm still a work in-progress when it comes to finding the balance between what I don't personally endorse and what I absolutely will not tolerate in others. As an example:

"Nigga" is not a part of my working vocabulary and, when I first meet someone, if it's a big part of theirs, I figure that illustrates the limited potential of our friendship. However, I've got an existing friend and some family members who use the word quite liberally. I don't just cut them the hell off, though I've considered it, but I do limit my exposure to them. If I had kids, I'd limit their exposure, as well.

So, there's an example of something I don't endorse, but can live with (begrudgingly).

Drawing the line.
What I won't tolerate is someone calling me "nigger." I usually cut'em off or casually comment that there are no niggers in this room, then keep going. No need to make it into a huge issue, at that point.

Take a break.
I use "nigger" as a convenient example, but that's all it is - an example. Any consistent disrespect to me or mine is likely to result in a cut-off. Sometimes I'll try temporarily distancing myself from the other person, so that things can cool off and I can get a sense of whether there's hope for the relationship/friendship.

I've tried this with my father time and again, but when you've gotta keep on temporarily cutting someone off, it may be time for something more permanent. Sadly, that appears to be the case with my Pops.

Family's very important to me (as are friends, to be honest), so I don't do the cut-off thing lightly. I don't want to be disrespectful to you and I certainly don't want you to be disrespectful to me or those I care about. If, for some reason, one of those two things continues to happen, it's time for a break.

Since much of my family is spread across the United States, it's not that hard to put distance between us. Less frequent phone calls help, as well.

I'm quick to gauge the potential of any given situation. When I encounter someone, especially if we have a few things in-common, I'm almost always considering our potential to be friends. As I say, I value friendship quite a lot and find true friendship to be a rare and beautiful thing.

At the same time, though, I've learned from my younger days, that this sometimes leads to me investing too much in a hopeless situation. Back in the day, it was romantic relationships that I'd keep on life-support for too long. Once I realized I was working too hard (or all alone), it became easier to define my boundaries. The same principles apply to platonic friendships and especially weak associations.

Right and Wrong.
Though these things often revolve around how I see right and wrong, versus how someone else sees it, my decision to cut a mo' fo' off is sometimes a bit simpler than that. It's not always that I think he or she is wrong, so I must pass judgement upon them (though my strong aversion to hypocrisy WILL take me there).

Sometimes, it's simply that life is filled with enough stressful situations without me creating more of them. In other words, if I've got an on-going disagreement with someone, sometimes it doesn't really matter who's ultimately right or wrong. Whether I have a problem with you or you have a problem with me or you have a problem with me having a problem with you... What really matters if that we're not enjoying each other's company.

Logic dictates that a change must take place. Some folks seem very reluctant to make such changes. Honestly, I'm one of them, but that doesn't mean I won't cut the cord. I'll just work my ass off, first, then stop when I feel I've made enough reasonable efforts.

And that's that.

What about you?


Luke Cage said...

Damn West, you knocked this post right out the box my friend. Not bad at all. All of the points were written with just the right moxie that I would've written them. And there's something to be said about someone who writes like this and the reader finds himself nodding incessantly as I did. Kudo's brah. I couldn't have said it better. I see I'm not the only one who has issues with his dad huh?

viperteq said...

I am trying to cut the word out of my vocab, but it's been hard. Honestly, using it for so long has made it almost second nature to me. My thoughts on the word have been:

1) I wouldn't let anyone that I didn't know (whether Black or White) refer to me by the word....

2) A couple of my close friends who have been like brothers to me, we refer to each other that way, but it's been used as a term of bonding and friendship, never anger or negativity.

Still that doesn't justify the use of the word and so I find myself trying not to use it. The turning point was when i was talking to one of close co-workers, who is White. We were kidding around talking about how he's had 4 girlfriends since we've been on Summer break. During the conversation between he and I, I said, "Nigga, you silly!" as if I had been talking to one of my dudes. Neither one of us tripped on it, but after that moment, I knew that I had to cut it out. Sad I know....

West said...

Thanks, Luke.

re: viper's "Still that doesn't justify the use of the word and so I find myself trying not to use it. The turning point was when i was talking to one of close co-workers, who is White. We were kidding around talking about how he's had 4 girlfriends since we've been on Summer break. During the conversation between he and I, I said, "Nigga, you silly!" as if I had been talking to one of my dudes."

I feel you. I had one of those moments in 2nd grade (no diss).

My best friend, Peter, and I were talking about something and I said, "Nuh-uh, nigga..."

He interrupted me and said, "Nuh-uh, YOU the nigger..." or something like that.

Honestly, my mind blanks on the moment just before he must've called me that word, but I get the same lesson, either way:

I was too comfortable with the word and decided that I wouldn't be tossing it around as casually as I used to.

Dunno if I stopped "cold turkey," that day or not, but it was a moment that has stayed with me in the 24 years, since. I guess that says something.

Peter and I remained friends, by the way. Dunno how but, *shrugs*

So vipe, how quick are you to cut a mo' fo' off?

viperteq said...

Back in the day, i was this meek person that didn't want to be involved in drama or the cause of it. When a person did something that offended me, I usually just let it pass.


I'll cut a muthaph%*ka off in a heartbeat. I had to learn the hardway that I can't be so quick to just toss my friendship out there. I had to learn how to recognize that a person was worthy of my respect and comraderie. And that meant learning how to respect myself. So when someone gets out of hand, I check 'em. If they get out of hand, like dis-respect my momma out of hand, :moves finger across the throat:, they get dealt with accordingly.

I'm kinda like Busta Rhymes now: "I keep my enemies close and me 'friends' even closer..."

West said...

I've softened a bit in my old age, for some reason.

All that really means, though, is that I've grown a somewhat thicker skin and choose my battles more carefully. I may not fight'em all, but I'll usually say or do something that'll make it easier to look at myself in the mirror, the next day.

I still think the same shit is rude, more or less, but my reaction to it is a bit different.

chele said...

When I was younger I would cut someone off without hesitation for the smallest of reasons and never look back.

Now ... well, I'll put distance between myself and that person but if they come back around wanting to be cool with me again I'll probably proceed with caution.