Thursday, August 20, 2009

Reflection: Pulling Your Own Red Wagon

In 2002 I helped to organize a theater company. The theater was running smoothly (everyone had come together to make a successful venture) but soon people’s egos took center stage. The jealousy and manipulation infected the theater like cancer. These individuals let their insecurities turn them into malicious, bitter people in need of a scapegoat. Unfortunately, the scapegoat of choice was me.

My plight was an accusation of trying to “take over” the theater by the producer. He thought this because of a few suggestions I made on how to improve the company. Eventually, other members of the theater sided with him and I was railroaded. The producer and the other members of the theater didn’t want to see that I was trying to help. I had substantial experience in the professional theater world and was sharing my knowledge (but they saw this as me “one-uping” them). I soon relinquished some of my duties in the theater so I would not have direct contact with these individuals. I felt very angry because I was being judged wrongly. I spoke to an associate of mine about what had happened. Her advice to me was to place people into categories and respond to them in a way that they can relate: either by adapting to their behavior or to kill them with kindness. This is how she handles certain situations. As for me, I cannot easily place people into categories and act accordingly. I would rather disassociate myself. Some people might think that I’m taken flight (like so many do when conflict arise) but I know myself, I know my own behavior, and I am taking responsibility for it. If I continue to be associated with negativity: my behavior and my outlook on life will become negative. My mother always told me everyone has their own red wagon to pull and it’s up to you on how much baggage you can haul.

If you find yourself exhibiting displaced anger, you need to ask yourself the question, “Am I taking responsibility for my behavior?” or “Am I letting someone else pull my red wagon?” It is very easy to shift our responsibilities by spinning the story and pointing our crooked finger towards some one else. But, instead of looking for a scapegoat when jealousy and insecurity show their ugly heads, we need to take ownership of our behavior and find ways to change our dispositions. We need to pull our own red wagons no matter how heavy the load is.

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About Me

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Sandra Proto debut poem at the age of twelve was entitled, The Late Great April, giving homage to the first time it snowed in April. She wrote Late Great April as an English class assignment and her teacher was so impressed by the poem that he tried to get it published. After this experience, Sandra became a "Bedroom Poet" who composed Blackberry Beauty,Light, Compositions, and many others. Blackberry Beauty (her signature poem) was featured in SaSi's Production of Identity @ Space at 24 in 2000. Sandra has performed with the funky, folky, reggae rock band Hudson’s Hope. Her poetry is featured on VAMPIRE LESBIANS and ALL I CAN SEE IS HER EYES tracks of their demo CD. Sandra is also, a fiction writer, playwright, and an essayist.

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