Struggles with Trust-Building

Yesterday was a good celebration of my father’s birthday and the Lunar New Year, though apparently I upset him by bringing an unannounced guest. Nevertheless, an enjoyable evening.

Past = Present

I am reliving the “scarcity of trust” that had me constantly on edge, during my previous “surveillance years” (primarily 2000 to 2005). As my mother had written about me during that time, “[L.] was literally afraid of her own shadow.” This was due to Big Brother’s swift and punitive responses to my various writings and outreach efforts. Long story.

I’m not diplomatic or tactful, at the best of times (hence, the subtitle of this blog). I say or write whatever I feel. But the past 19 years have been a growing process of learning to appreciate the implications of my self-expression and social politics.

The irony is, I analyze things fairly accurately – after they’ve happened; yet, I’m not a ‘deft politician’ by any measure. This is confusing to people.

As Big Brother (and now, co-opted others) should know well by now, I OFTEN bend over backwards to tell people the absolute truth of what I did, or said, or meant – to little avail.

And when TRUST BREAKS DOWN, or never existed in the first place – everyone is easily offended and reads far too much into every little action or word from others. That may be fine and good for ‘skilled political types’, but I am certainly not one.

‘Politicians’ know how to manage people and situations, from start to finish; some can even see way ahead into the distant future about how to conduct themselves in the here and now. I am not really built that way.

If people have not learned anything from my living under a microscope, my evolution as a ‘political survivor’ under pernicious surveillance and harassment has been haphazard, at best. I’m a frequent bungler, who puts my foot in my mouth, and constantly forgets things.

And yet, through heightened and escalating tensions, it becomes a “Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t” reality.

For example: If I pick Item A, it means something; if I don’t pick Item A, it still means the same thing.

One can get totally twisted into knots over picking the “right colour” of assorted chocolates, for example (inside story).

Such tiny details can be seen as subtle-yet-deliberate ‘slights’ – assorted-coloured wrapped chocolates at the dinner, or multi-flavoured Almond Rocas at home. Or, like getting 2 of the healthiest, cheese-free sandwiches (egg salad and tuna salad). Frankly, ‘co-opted others’ might notice by now that my food choices are pretty limited, having been subsisting on mostly “frozen foods” and “bottled water”, since the beginning of December 2019.

Whatever. Think what you will.

I have never considered myself or my ethnic group superior to anyone else’s, ever, in my entire life. And unlike many, I am willing to honestly critique my ancestral culture. Also, I am aware of both my “privileges” and “oppressions”.

That doesn’t mean I don’t get arrogant or frustrated, considering my basic humanity, dignity, freedom, autonomy, and pride in self have been steadily deprived, oppressed, and threatened, since November 2019. This does create a lot of political jousting, when ‘social power’ is perceived to be scarce.

Capitalism can sometimes operate similarly: manufacturing scarcity.

Also, I was always a follower, and never a leader. And caring, in my own little ways. But yes, a fighter for people or causes on the fringes. Plus, a true believer in everyone’s inherent freedom and right to think, speak, contribute, and/or stand and be recognized.

Sadly, under technological monopolies and ubiquitous surveillance technologies, basic rights and freedoms are being perniciously undermined and suppressed – even upon threat of death.

Being A Good Sport

As Big Brother has made great use of, I would often tell people about my soccer-playing days (they have likewise used this as a means to reach out to people – as per Tom Steyer’s incredibly well-crafted speaking points at a recent Democratic Debate). Anyway, more pointless media analysis.

Contrary to people’s current perceptions of my one-up-manship reactions and responses, which are often not deliberate, and are largely the result of prolonged stress and trauma, and many betrayals – rather than being my natural personality.

For example, LONG BEFORE THE “SURVEILLANCE YEARS” (2000 to 2005) – I played in an Adult Women’s Soccer League in my 20’s, and our championship-winning team held an informal “Sportsmanship Vote”; despite my being one of the worst players on the team, I received 2 votes out of 12. I was totally surprised, yet appreciative.

When I played in my university’s house league soccer, I found myself on a team with Teacher’s College students. At the end of the season, they were astonished to learn that I wasn’t a Teacher, like them, because I always strove to encourage EVERYONE, as often as I could. I’m not a ‘natural’ at it; it takes effort. But I do it because I truly know it brings out the best in people, and it is how I myself would like to be treated.

Fostering Equity

My previous post, “Don’t Believe the Hype,” could seem like I am foregrounding myself and my ethnic group, first and foremost (and also, in another post on “Integrity”). But frankly, I tend to write according to whatever ‘flows’, and my random starting points ‘bubble up’ from reflections on my life and experiences. Especially since I am writing from a state of semi-crisis, right now. And editing has always been a HUGE CHALLENGE.

I will be posting a past paper I wrote from 2002 – before the worst period of my traumatic surveillance and harassment (2003 to 2005), and my eventual nervous breakdown, and 10 years of at-times traumatizing hospitalizations. Hopefully, it better captures my ideals for holistic, inclusive, democratic, and equitable learning / communications / organizational facilitation.

I may not embody those values and ideals myself, but I eagerly seek environments or facilitation techniques that help bring about mutually-respectful dialogue and action.

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