Monday, January 21, 2013

New Year, New Ways

I am one of those people who likes new year's resolutions. I made some great ones last year. I didn't achieve all of them, but I worked on each a bit, which makes me proud. This year, I decided to renew a few of last year's resolutions - do more yoga and learn spanish - plus, I've been forming some rather unique new ones. One of the most important is that I won't beat myself up for being a good person. It sounds silly, I know, but my last post was full of detest for my "good" self, so I felt that I had to decide whether I would hate myself, change myself, or accept myself. I decided that being a good person was not something that I should be fighting. The real problem is that I need to be smarter and safer.

That leads to the second resolution: I will google people more. You might be laughing, but as I'm building a new life for myself I am letting new people into it, rapidly. If I have a tool in my hand that will give me some background about those that I am befriending then I should use it! This is a big deal to me because I am also a polite person and "googling" someone feels impolite. It even feels a little sneaky. It feels so strange, in fact, that it took me the first 20 days into the new year before I decided to do it.

Drumroll for my first google project . . . I made a new friend, a man quite a bit older than myself. I enjoy his company. He seems smart and kind. He flatters me to a ridiculous extent, which made me question whether he is flirting with me. I feel a mix of pleasure and discomfort in his presence. It bothered me to the point that he became my first google project. I sighed as I pulled up an old news article from the google list with his mug shot on it. Several years ago he killed a cyclist while drunk driving. The article pointed out that it was not his first incident of drunk driving. He went to prison for several years.

Lord almighty, a felon and possible alcoholic. Just my luck.

This brings me to my third resolution: don't hide significant things from the people who matter. Like anyone else, I have a tendency to glaze over information that I believe my family and friends will criticize. It might be a natural and normal habit, but I've decided it is immature and sometimes harmful. The people who have proven their love for me in the last few years are exactly the people I should be sharing the story of my life with and trusting them to help me form a healthier, safer existence.

My google project is a good example because, even as I read the article, I knew that I would probably still give him a chance at friendship. My instinct was to not mention any of this to my mother, who I feared would judge me as a fool for being kind to a convict. However, I was true to my resolution and told her about the story. I shared it in a black humor tone, starting with "Do you want to hear something awful?" After the story, she just looked sad and shook her head, but didn't say anything harsh. I figure I'll give her a day to soak it in and then ask her what she thinks about it tomorrow.

And if my mother suggests that I stay away from the convicted drunk driving murderer? Well, that makes sense. I'll be glad that my mother wants me safe. And I might even listen to her . . . But he did serve his time and has been "rehabilitated". He is probably sober. He might be terribly repentent and needs the world to give him a chance . . . Or he is a manipulative addict looking for a good person to be his patsy.

Well, this debate could go on a while, so I'm going to set it on the shelf for a week or so . . . In the meantime, I will just be satisfied that I am keeping to my new resolutions.

Oh yeah, Jake was sentenced to 8 years in prison for combined counts of sexual assault and attempted sexual assault on a minor by a person in a position of trust. This news is still soaking into my head and heart. I'm not exactly disappointed or upset by it. I figure I can take my time in forming my opinion and reaction on this news.