Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The importance of being earnest

And Sue.  Gotta be Sue.  Hey people.  First things first-- it's me and Dan's 18th Anniversary of being married today (28 of being together-- We lived together for 10 years first, just to, you know, make sure.)  Here's my gift.  We don't usually *do* gifts, but when I was lusting after a necklace recently he suggested I just go get a bunch of goodies and make an even better one for myself.  I sort of made it my gift to justify the extravagance. 

What we have isn't about special occasions though, or gifts, it's about how when I feel like nothing, he hugs me and tells me to him I am something, and how we laugh together almost every day, and I never feel completely alone.  We know how lucky we are, and that makes us enjoy it all even more.

earnest 1 |ˈərnist|
resulting from or showing sincere and intense conviction

This is what it says in the dictionary.  This week I wrestled with the ~intense~ part a bit.  I've been trying to not talk much about this stuff, but screw it-- it's been a big part of my recent life and I guess sharing some of my inner workings with you guys is part of my ~earnestness~. 

Almost 2 weeks ago me and ~cooltrailbossRich~ had a meeting with a bunch of guys over the recent devastation at the trail.  Bottom line-- the power company contracted a tree company, partially owned (at least partially) by another power company (it seems to me the whole network of various power companies and the tree contractors they all use is kind of incestuously entangled) to ~clear~ brush and trees from their easement which runs through the park where my trail is.  It was over-cut, exceeding the easement in many spots.   That is a fact-- anyone can check and see that this is so.

 *In my opinion*, some of the over-cutting looks as if it was profit motivated.  I drew this conclusion by examining which trees were removed, where they were taken from, and the fact that in places attempts were made to conceal that they had been removed--- trees from quite far in the woods, WAY outside the easement, were removed, and the stumps and traces of activity were then covered with brush.  Call me crazy, but who takes pains to conceal what they have done usually?--- People doing something wrong, right?

All of this-- the damage, and the fact that it just seemed wrong to me--- like someone was trying to get away with something--- pissed me off.  Not just me-- tons of people are upset, but I, being earnest (described by some involved who'd just as soon this all just *go away* as ~eyeroll~ "passionate")
have been a bit like a dog with a bone about this and pushed it pretty far, with the approval and help of cooltrailbossRich of course.

Apparently though, at our meeting, the one where I felt like a dog on a leash because I so wanted to more aggressively question the tree company men, (who I guess I can't PROVE were lying, but did come up with about 3 or 4 implausible conflicting stories before lapsing into total silence) I guess my emotional level was a bit high for the men's comfort.  I was super frustrated, and thought for sure those guys were lying right to our faces, and I guess I displayed that.  That makes men think you are less credible.  Even the men who should have been on our side-- from Parks & Rec.

Here's me after a recent day of trailwork.  This is by far not the worst I've looked after working at the trail.  Me and the others on the crew have done incredible amounts of work for this place.  I've been at sessions where we actually became delirious from our personal tanks running so low, and being so overheated.  We've worked past the point of exhaustion many many times. 
I've never been involved with a group of volunteers before, so maybe this is just normal, but to see so many people pouring their sweat and energy into this place purely because they love it and want to support it has really opened my eyes.  

This ~passionate~ thing really threw me for a loop last week, because I've always known guys don't respond well to high emotion, or volumes of words.  I myself have always been uncomfortable by people, usually women, who display a lot of emotion.  I have looked down my nose at that, and always thought of myself as pretty contained.  It was hard for me to accept how the others perceived me, but fuck it.  Yes-- I was and am really pissed about this on a number of levels.

Awareness is a good thing.  I'll know more about myself now.  I guess as long as my intentions are good, and I'm fighting for what I really believe is right, and am listening to what other people I respect think, I'll have to just accept that emotion is part of the package for me, part of my intensity, which can be used for good.  I'm trying to not judge that as a negative trait, just see it as a fact.

I rode with Dan yesterday.  My rides and this trail always become metaphorical for me.  I did much better than I have in a long time yesterday, making tons of climbs for the first time in months.

My lessons have been not to accept that anything is impossible, but recognize which things are not worth it to me to attempt right now--- a few descents have been taken off my list.  They freak me out too much in their present state, scare me, and that erodes the fun for me. 

One of the things that has proven most useful for me, is learning how to stand still-- balancing on the bike without any forward progress for a few seconds, so I can regroup and power up some nasty climbs without having to bail-out and put a foot down.

Also-- recognizing which scary things it is better for me to force myself to overcome.  Sometimes I DO have to push myself outside my comfort zone, for my own personal growth:

Riding the trail is all about that balance between climbing and descending, strategizing it all-- learning all the different skills, mental and physical.  Challenges, joy, acceptance, fear, failure, determination, and success.  It's all there to learn from and about.

The end of the story hasn't been written yet about the trees and the trail and the over-cutting.  We are waiting for the power company & the city to come up with some kind of restitution agreement which we're told will take about 2 weeks more.  Meanwhile I'm trying to get over my anger at the whole situation-- the damage, the unfairness of being dismissed as ~eyeroll~ "passionate", and the idea that there will always be people around who will try to get away with whatever they can.

If nothing else, a lot of people have been put on notice that this little patch of woods has a lot of eyes on it, and a lot of people who are pretty damned ~earnest~ about protecting it. 


Maery Rose said...

And we're glad you are the Sue, gotta be Sue. I've had that experience of being written off because of my "passion". And the more I feel I'm being blown off and disregarded, the louder and more obnoxious I become, sometimes saying things just for the shock factor, which only makes me look like more of a nut. I don't want to lose my voice and the feelings that go behind it but I know I sometimes go too far and to my own detriment. I don't want to go all "it's tough to be a woman", but I think it's sometimes harder to be taken seriously and heard, which does set us off on the emotional side. Pretty frustrating.

I sure hope there is some hurt that goes along with the judgement on the trees. So sad and disgusting what they did. The power companies seem to believe they can do anything and get by with it because who's going to say anything? A message that they can't do that would be good and even if it's not enough, you did your best and big applause for that.

pseudosu said...

Thanks Maery,
Yes, it's tempting to go to the "If i were a man, would I be so brushed aside?" place-- but in all fairness, I think I would be. I really strongly believe what I believe, but I have no proof of their lies-- like an actual paper trail (yet), and also I have no actual title or position that makes me someone anyone HAS to listen to or deal with.

I think it was good for the people involved to see there are people like me involved, who are as invested and angry about this as we are, but it makes strategic sense I'm being cut out at this point, even if I'm frustrated about the softer stance some involved appear to be taking. It's def NOT over yet. Hopefully the decision makers will see this situation is best resolved as quickly as possible.

strugglingwriter said...

I don't know. I'd rather have somebody with passion on my side rather than one that's too timid to speak up any day.

Also, these guys NEED to feel a little uncomfortable about what they did.

pseudosu said...

Thanks Struggling-- I agree! I don't feel a bit bad for the *poor tree guys*. I'd have liked to go at them much harder, actually. As for the city guys, it would be nice if they'd ~grow some~, but, I am sadly NOT in charge of the entire world just yet. ;)