Have you ever tried to kick yourself in the rear?
Seriously, have you? Stand up, stretch your leg and twist it around your torso, and kick. (You may have to look over your shoulder to see if your foot is headed in the general direction of your posterior. Oh, and you may have to have the flexibility of a two-year-old and the ability to swivel your hip in its socket like a malfunctioning Barbie doll.) The alternate method is to lift your leg backwards, bend your knee and beat your heel. (Also requires looking over your shoulder.)
The easy way? Write a blog post.
I have a strong sense of justice and an equally strong sense of wanting to stomp out injustice; most of my posts reflect this, I think. Given the state of our world, I have plenty of writing material: people refuse to help a woman being gang raped, church members ignoring visitors and overlooking the emotionally needy within their community, people alienating other people through obnoxious behavior.
In the recent past, I’ve written nice–though overly long–essays about these problems, intending to gently prod my readers into action, to change their outlook, to encourage them to become better people. Then my words kicked aside my self-righteous attitude and did a karate chop on my backside. “That’s you, Laura,” the words said. “You’re a part of this problem, too. You want to change the world? Start with yourself, honey.”
Case in point: I wrote a post called “Unfriended in church,” about how Christians often “unfriend” people. (See my 11/9/09 post.) A friendship can be broken in many different ways: an argument, a grudge, a gradual drifting apart. Then I wrote:
But if the friendship wasn’t ever there—if I never knew you as my friend—never sought your friendship and you dropped out of sight—that’s a different kind of loss. What could have been? I’ve unfriended you by never being your friend.
Shortly after this, I was at a party. I was . . .
- frazzled (writing the blog post took longer than I expected, causing me to be late to the party);
- slightly cranky (my stomach growled like a ravenous beast, demanding food);
- tempted to take refuge in the corner of a plush sofa by the fireplace rather than stay at the bar making small talk (small talk equals big stress in my book).
Obviously, I’m not a social butterfly or a night owl or any other species that enjoys large gatherings.
There was an unfamiliar woman standing slightly apart from the huddles of chattering party goers. It was obvious she didn’t know very many people there. Honestly, I didn’t want to bother getting to know someone new. The sofa beckoned to me. The throw pillows whispered, “Sit down. Relax. You deserve a break today.”
I’ve unfriended you by never being your friend.
A not-so-subtle pain spread through my body as I remembered the words I had written earlier. My backside ached more than when I did that crazy Muscle & Fitness for Her glutes workout. I stumbled forward as gracefully as a tortoise on tranquilizers, plodded over to where the woman stood, and made a new friend.
My own writing had kicked my rear.
Here’s the moral of the tale: be careful what you write, especially if you intend to reprimand someone else. The butt you kick may be your own.
How about you? Ever had something similar happen to you?