The truth is, I don't know how to be good.

I have no idea how to do it. I try sometimes. And sometimes I don't. And sometimes I'm good without meaning to be. (More often than not, I'm bad without meaning to be, but that's another story.) The point is: I don't know what it means to be good. Really, truly good. And even if I did, I don't know that I'd know how to be it.

Over the last year or so, I've thought, more than ever before, about the nature of goodness. Of how hard it is to Spike-Lee-it-up and Do The Right Thing on a regular basis. The right thing is too hard to determine. Right for whom? Right in what context? Right how? How can we know? How can we be sure?

The other complicating factor, at least in my own life, is that I find myself regularly struggling against an intense desire to do the WRONG thing, particularly if I'm feeling wronged. We're all like this, aren't we? Doing the right thing when everything is right, doing good when you feel good, is easy. But when you don't, when you're not, it's hard. And worse, when people aren't doing right by you, it's even harder. Who doesn't want to serve bad behaviour right back at the person or people who served it to them? Who doesn't want to teach wrongdoers a lesson? I'm talking about base desires here, people. I'm talking about the dark things you don't want to admit. The urges you wish you didn't have. Everybody lies awake at night thinking about what other people do or don't deserve, and the answers we come up with directly correlate to what those other people have done to us. We think what they deserve is based on how they behave toward us. And we want it to be up to us decide what they deserve as a result. We ALL want that. Don't even pretend you don't.
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The thing is, that stuff never works, does it? Teaching lessons, I mean. Even when successful, it's never satisfying in the long run. It's never helpful. Our better selves know this. Just like our better selves know that when we're not happy about our friends accomplishments, we're not REALLY friends. Just like we know that when we wish bad things for people, even in passing, when we wish them loss, we're BEING bad. Secretly so. We know that stuff, but we don't really know how to be good. We think we know, but we don't. I mean, I've wished bad things for people, but because I don't let on, I've figured, in the past, that I've ultimately been good. Isn't it what we DO that matters? (I've thought.) Does it matter what we think, in passing, when we're feeling selfish and childish? I don't know. Maybe that stuff matters too. Or maybe I'm the only one who doesn't know how to be good.

Professionally speaking, I think a lot about what I'm doing with my time, in my life. Is it useful? It's it helpful? Have ANY of the things I've done been good? I'm educated. I've been relatively lucky in terms of my upbringing and opportunities. I'm not struggling. With that in mind, there's no real reason for me not to aspire to work (at least) that is ... moral(?). Is there? But if I did that, what would I do? What would that good work be? Where would I find it? Would I be able to live on it? Would I have to give up the kind of living I'm used to? Is that the only way to do it, if I even found that kind of opportunity in the first place? And if I did find it, if I did it, if I was lucky enough to find myself doing good work, how would I ever know if it was good ENOUGH?

Sigh.

I'm rambling.

In many ways, I think I am good. Maybe even inherently so. One of the least reasons for this is that I DO think about these things. I might not be great at figuring them out, but I think about them. At the same time, I know that there's a problem in how much I want to be perceived as good. To be appreciated. That's bad, isn't it? I have martyr tendencies. But even being a martyr is so... unsatisfying. Unless you publicize your martyrdom and reap the reputational rewards, I mean. (But if you did that, you wouldn't be much of a martyr, would you? Or would you? See? I told you I don't understand this stuff. At the very least, if you're a publicizing martyr, you can't say you're good, can you?) It's all very hard.

I don't know. I don't know what I'm trying to say. I don't know how to be good, but I try. That's something, isn't it? That's... dare I say it... good?

 
 
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Welcome to February, webheads. The month of cold. The month of despair. The month so awful, it had to be reduced to 28 days in order to be tolerated. February sucks.

Am I grumpy? Maybe. I am sick again, you see. AGAIN!? This is a problem for a number of reasons not the least of which being that I don't have TIME to be sick. Nor do I really have sick days. And even if I did have sick days, there's too much on my plate for me to justify taking any.

Corporate whoredom? It's about as lovely as February, apparently.

On the upside, I finished Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections. It was great. The next thing I read will almost definitely suffer by comparison.

Also, I've been appearing all over the smellovision, which is sort of fun.

Other than that? I dunno. I revamped the Agency site recently. Who knows how that will go. I'm keeping busy. I'm being nice to my man (I think). I'm getting by.

How are you?

xo,
Jen
P.S. Advice for the day? Read all the pamphlets and watch the tapes.