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22 March 2014

(A?)musing de Bergerac; artistic, idealistic and ailing: Trust All, But None Complete

(A?)musing de Bergerac; artistic, idealistic and ailing: Trust All, But None Complete: A lot of conversations about trust lately. Recently, more than ever I've become a repository for the confidences of my tribe; my chosen ...

Trust All, But None Complete

A lot of conversations about trust lately. Recently, more than ever I've become a repository for the confidences of my tribe; my chosen family. Each began with the reaffirmation of 'privilege':

"You know this is stays between us, right?"

"Of course."

"I know you know, I just needed know--"

"Absolutely. I understand."

This ritual observed, the cloak of secrecy spread, the heart opens and words flow.

Of late, I'm full of all of this stuff; my mind and heart working the knotty thread of their concerns and problems. It's strange how life works. In the past six weeks, topic of trust has been raised no less than five times.

I believe in people and look for the best in them. Everyone should work to find their passion, happiness, growth and I'm a total fangirl of individuality. Yes, it's true, no one is perfect. Why should mere imperfection turn me from someone completely? Imperfections are the cracks in the glass which turn a person into a mosaic; flawed by beauty, casting fractured, multi-colored light. What's not to love?

Most people have good intentions and desire to change for the better. Most issues between individuals are solveable. There's rarely a 'good guy' or 'bad guy'; but a situation in which the pair involved is overcome by incompatible weaknesses.

People mistake my optimism for gullibility. Taking great pains to inform me not everyone can be trusted, not everyone is good.



My usual reply is,'I don't trust anyone'. There's a Bible principle I strive to live up to; that God's people ought to be 'cautious as serpents, yet innocent as doves'.

But total trust? No. I trust people in areas which they are trustworthy. If for example, I have a friend who is a wonderful person in a million wonderful ways but is a terrible driver; I may bare my soul to her. However, I will not lend her my car. I hope.

Some seem to walk the earth, with the toxic, seeping wounds of betrayed martyrs. The Order of Poor Claire's as WHITE OLEANDER describes them. Their lives littered with broken relationships and hurts which they cannot release, forgive or even see clearly. Former friends who have, lied to them, on them, betrayed confidences, failed to pay back money; etc.

"I trusted them!"; is the universal complaint, followed by irrelevant qualifiers meant to explain that trust. Trust quantified by number of years known, number of things truster has done for 'betrayer', degree of closeness to the family. Whatever.

There are times when trust is foolish. There are places where trust is unkind. And there are ways in which trust is merely laziness in disguise. No single person is trustworthy in every arena of life. These untrustworthy spots usually lie along the fault lines of our imperfections. We must know where these lines are in our loved ones and not burden them with trust in those areas.

Remember, the act of 'betrayal' hurts both 'betrayer' and 'betrayed'. The 'betrayed' is left wounded; the 'betrayer', broken and left (often alone)to mend the hole as best they can, filling it with either guilt or denial. They also feel a vague sense of resentment toward the betrayed, pushing the 'betrayer' deeper into guilt or denial.

I'm not saying I've never been burned by a friend. And it has hurt. And yes I got mad. Staying mad is not an option, not if I acknowledge my own responsibility in trusting unfairly. For me, the process of trust is a bit like taking a slow walk on thin ice. Testing each step, I learn where the ice is weakest and strongest, making my way toward trusting responsibly. I've been rewarded by decades long friendships; light on drama. The privilege of having my tribe is an amazing blessing. Growing with them over the years is a gift beyond compare. Trusting in their strengths, continues to make me a better person.

I'm not saying we ought to be friends with anyone as long as we've figured out their untrustworthy bits. For instance, if you're a blurter (like me), you might do well to avoid the determined gossip. I tend to be my-life-is an-open-book-ish, so usually, it's no big deal. Every once in a while though, I'll have told a friend something and like a day or an hour later thought,'hmm...maybe I don't want the whole world knowing that about me'. With most of the tribe, what I say goes no further or else they can discern public from private domain...even when I can't.

One member of the tribe is a bit of a Chatty Cathy. But if I come back and ask that said blurt remain entre nous, she'll either 'say sure no problem' or tell me who she might have told during the time my mouth's governor was resetting in my brain. One lady, whose application was under review for tribal induction remains in friend status; with a real possibility of being downgraded to acquaintance.

I permitted chemistry and flattery (a lethal combination) to send me sailing across the ice until I was knee deep in more than one icy puddle. She turns out to be a purveyor of information and a bit of a liar and hypocrite to boot. The information purveying, I can excuse, as it wasn't clearly marked private. The hypocrisy; well, let the first of those totally non-hypocritical cast the first stone. The lying draws my line in the sand 'this fur and no fuh-ther'. I then proceed to mark the line with signage of the 'No Tresspassing' variety.

We Americans tend to fling ourselves into friendships. Baring bosoms and family secrets to people whose greatest recommendation is a superficial liking and proximity (school, carpool, work). When the person's character is revealed as less than ideal, the fling is flung. Leaving feelings of betrayal and hurt blighting what might have been the start of a 'beautiful friendship'.

Our tendancy toward 'instant intimacy' is the tarnished side of our pretty penny. The other side is our 'a stranger is just a friend we haven't met yet', sensibility. There is something innocent and idealistic in our wish to approve of everyone, but even to this old cynic's heart...lovely.

Even so, for the heart's trust all. But none complete.

18 October 2013

What A Fledgling Film Producer Has Learned So Far...

Disclaimer: I'm learning and don't know what I don't know. However, these articles are intended to share the lessons that have helped me gain some momentum in this 'business we call show'. Your mileage may differ.

1.  Failure is your friend. 

When I look back on that epiphanic night I decided to make a movie; I had one thought: To fail spectacularly. 

All of my life, I've been one step forward, a step and a half back. One one hand, my sense of adventure of curiosity and if-all-else-fails-read-the-directions mentality drove me to plan a trip to Europe thirteen years ago. 

Having discovered the wonders of the world wide web a few months earlier, I was determined to plan the trip completely online. And it worked. From Eurail passes to packing lists, myself and three others executed our Web planned journey over the course of four months. 

However! I've always chickened out a little. Fear of failure dogged me so that I never really played for keeps. Also, there was a kind of implicit familial contract: Don't do anything too crazy (become a writer, become actor or anything too out there)or else. The or else was never spelled out. But whenever, if I needed a little loan, to do my laundry or whatever; they were there for me. 

And then I got sick. You see, a major clause in that family contract was: Don't you dare get sick. It was in the small print. But when my body began to fail me,it loomed very large. 

On that transcendental night, the familial contract lay shredded on the floor. It was incredibly painful, unbearably so; until realization dawned. I was free. 

Laying awake in a borrowed bed, I asked myself what if failure was an option? What if it didn't matter what my family thought? If I acted in a way that left it all out on the stage; what would that look like? What if I gave myself permission to fail...and fail spectacularly?

I'd make a movie!
I began consuming any indie filmmaker article I could find online. And then I took stock. What have I got that can help me now? My last effort, my artist support project, Bakery of the Poets slipped into a quiet coma a six months earlier. 
Some of the contacts created during that attempt have been invaluable to my efforts as a screenwriter and producer. Try evaluating your failed goal in an imaginary chop shop. You'll find the sum of its parts more valuable to your life than the whole. Each failure adds value to the next attempt. 

So, you're having trouble raising money? It's okay. Talking to people about your project allows you to fine-tune your approach. It also gets your name out there and raises awareness about your movie. 

You get where I'm going with this. Failure is your friend. We learn from it. New gifts and talents are revealed in the attempt. Pitfalls into which we stumble, help us to map our course. We pick up people along the way, who get excited about what we're doing and want to help. 

Failure feels like an old, not very good friend. But it's just the opposite. Every time it comes around in a new shape; lugging all kinds of unexpected goodies.

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