People before Things

I’ve been thinking about this saying we always used to bring up when my kids were little and I spent a lot of time with women who chose a pared-down lifestyle so they could stay home while their kids were young.

It was important for us to let our children know we valued them more than fancy homes, cars, clothing, etc. I still feel that way.

Altar for a person I care about

To me, my family and friends are my greatest treasures (along with my horse and dog children). I value them way more than my house, my swimming pool, my turquoise jewelry, or she sheds. I guess I thought most people were that way. But no, I’m finding out otherwise.

Dog I care about more than any things she might break with her tail!

A Personal Story of the Problem with Things

Here’s what’s been blowing my mind recently. Remember the book club I was in with my neighbors at the Bobcat house? To me, the books were secondary to the people in the group, who always treated each other kindly and accepted each other for who they were, as different as everyone was.

Now, I never lived there full time like Anita did, so I only saw a couple of minor judgmental things said about some of the women. I mostly heard stories of fun gatherings, music, and laughter. Anita was included and I was usually invited.

Then, a “thing” got in the way, combined with misunderstandings and lack of communication. That’s always a deadly combination. Apparently a lost item of clothing was more important than friendships. This hit me like a ton of bricks. People thought Anita had stolen a denim jacket and given it to me. When I wore it to the last book club I attended, someone tried to take it, and acted like they didn’t believe it was mine.

They sold these in many boutiques, apparently

I ended up feeling guilty, like I’d done something wrong, but had no idea what. When Anita and I were pointedly not invited to the next two book clubs, I realized my “friends” had put their need to blame Anita (and me, by association) for a lost object above their years of friendship. Wow. And no one would talk to us about it. I did ask for someone to tell me what was going on. Crickets.

Of course none of our actual friends wanted to get involved. Who could blame them? They have to live there. They need to be cordial! And they only hear one side of the story, about how important the jacket was and how awful we must be to take it and “rub it in their faces.” And I, myself, knew I’d only heard one side of the story (and little of that, since it wasn’t a topic of conversation in Cameron, where we were dealing with getting a house finished). I figured I’d never know what other issues there were, and just wrote it off.

But it was really bothering Anita. She is my friend. I place her before things. So, I went to the store where I bought my jacket and got the receipt. They keep a record of everything there! I wanted to be sure everyone knew I owned my jacket, since it was so important to the group in Austin. I didn’t tell only the people who seemed to be so angry, because I wouldn’t put it past them to not share the info in order to maintain their version of events. people do that to protect themselves.

Courtney came through.

I’m under no illusion that proving I paid for my own clothing made any difference. From the earful I got from someone I’d really valued as a friend before, it became clear that Anita and I were back to being the unpopular kids, just like back in high school. All sorts of things had been misinterpreted and negative motives assigned to words and actions. Heck, I’d hate us if I’d done all the things I found out Anita and I’d supposedly said or done.

In high school I’d have tried and tried to get back in with the cool girls. Today I am just sad to lose friendships over things. It reminds me of what Lee keeps telling me, which is I can get myself into emotional trouble when I assume people mean well and like me for who I am.

Still. I actually still care about my former friends and have fond memories of them. I can see their point of view given their perception. I empathize with the people from that group who remain my friends. I’m so sorry I put them in an awkward situation over an inexpensive piece of clothing. Their friendship is more important than any things. I like them, just as they are.

My hope is that there are people who can forgive me of my less than ideal jokes, accept my cluelessness about situations I’m not a part of, and can deal with my oddness. If you are one of them, I’ll return the grace to you.

Life is too short to waste on judgment. I’m surprised this stuff has festered in me for so long. Time to forgive, forget, and let go.

When Is a Conspiracy Theory Not a Theory?

You may have read my post earlier in the week, about what to do as we move forward. In it, I talked about an article I’d read about some of the less credible conspiracy theories that are going on around the world right now. In response, my friend Marian asked me: “Your blog brings up this question for me. How were you able to determine that the conspiracies were false?”

loch ness
Where IS that Loch Ness monster, anyway? Photo by @dancing_on_rainbows_ via Twenty20.
drawing of V Putin
Only free Putin image I found. Image from @dancing_on_rainbows_ via Twenty20

Well, isn’t THAT a good question? Maybe something’s only a conspiracy theory to those who think there’s no way it could be true (based on no firm evidence), and that same thing could be just a theory to people who think it’s plausible (with the same amount of firm evidence). Take, for example, the theory that Vladimir Putin has a series of body doubles who pretend to be him on some occasions. The evidence for it is that he keeps looking younger and younger in photos. The people who discount it point out that one of his nicknames is Man of Botox (or something like that). So, either he’s conspiring to trick people, or he’s just a fan of cosmetic surgery. Who knows?

Of course, there are much darker, scarier and less provable conspiracies, like QAnon (not linking to that!), who killed JFK, whether there are dead aliens in Area 51, if the moon landing was a hoax, etc. Here’s a handy list of some popular ones. Some seem silly, some seem plausible, and some may forever be theories. It’s the “conspiracy” part that concerns me. I’m fine not knowing stuff. I don’t know a lot of stuff, and one of my firmest beliefs is that there are many things we humans haven’t figured out yet that might make confusing things more comprehensible.

area 51
I can’t believe I didn’t drop in when I was in the area. Image by @lovnjeeps via Twenty20.

A conspiracy implies that there are forces out there hiding things from others, or even that certain in-groups are privy to information that is hidden on purpose from everyone else. At least QAnon is nice enough to leave breadcrumbs for their minions, right? Neither the Illuminati nor the Liberal Media Conspiracy have sent me their clues, though, and I am bummed.

Turning back to Marian’s question, I think it’s easier to prove something is a conspiracy than it is to prove the theory’s veracity. I think we’re just not going to know until they trot out that alien, or whatever. That’s fine. People can choose not to believe things they don’t have good evidence for, or they can choose to do so, if it makes them happy.

It may not matter one bit. It’s what people DO.

The important thing is that we differentiate false claims with evidence to prove their falsehood from unproven theories. That seems to be a real issue in the US right now, where you say something enough times that it’s declared true, or lies don’t matter if you say them with enough conviction.

What I’m trying to get at here, as I type as I think, is that conspiracy theories that aren’t harming anyone really aren’t a problem. When enough people believe there are conspiracies going on, even with no evidence, and they take action that harms others…that’s why I’m worried. I’m afraid I see that as a possibility in the near future. Just because you can’t prove a conspiracy theory is right or wrong doesn’t mean it can’t be very dangerous.

We’ll see. Did this make any sense at all? Do you have any comments to steer me toward making more sense? I’m open!

BottomsUpOrange

All Things Crochet!

Crissi McDonald

Heartline Horse Training

sara annon

seeking the middle path

Tonya's Tall Tales

My life with horses, bunnies, chickens, ducks, and cows.

rfljenksy - Practicing Simplicity

Legendary Whining and Dining World Tour.

The Backyard Horse Blog

All about keeping horses at home

Hazel's Animal Adventures

My life on the ranch.

Katie Zapfel

Children's book author. Mom blogger.

365 Knit Socks

I knit a lot of socks

recoveringpornaddictcom.wordpress.com/

Coach, author and educator

The daily addict

The daily life of an addict in recovery

Just Vee

A regular gal who likes to stop and smell the flowers.

Happy Heidi's Happenings

My life in the country.

BrownesPups

A family of dog lovers, owners & breeders since 2015

The Adventures of a Mountain Coward

panic-stricken mountain adventuring!

Something Over Tea

Scribbles from my notebook

The Renegade Press

Tales from the mouth of a wolf

Heccateisis's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

The Upstate Gardener

The Upstate Gardening blog with Gardening Information, Recipies, Home Improvement Ideas, and Crafts Projects to make your life more beautiful and healthy.

Nature And Photography

Bring Nature Into Life

AT PATHO

no streetlights, just star light

Words and Stitches

woolgathering at its best

The Grief Reality

Normalising the conversation about Grief.

iRoseStudios.com

Art Studio Dumfriesshire

The Creative Pixie

eat up some crafty goodness with this creative mama

Writings of a Furious Woman

My thoughts, sentiments, and scribbles on womanhood

Paws Bark

Dogs Leave Paw Print in your Heart

Yeshua's Child Art

Art that Expresses the Heart

Chicken Coop Plans

Build Your Chicken a Home

Writing about...Writing

Some coffee, a keyboard and my soul! My first true friends!

Leaf And Twig

Where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry.

Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Cathartic Tendencies

motivational posts, rants, and stories!

TotallyTexasGifts.com

Featuring Fine Arts & Crafts created and sold by Texans

Seasons As My Teacher

Truth Written In The Wind

claudiajustsaying

Aging & Attitude

The Tragedy Kween

A boisterous introvert illustrating her way through life.