Discover more from The Bitter Pen
That ache. You know the one.
And Completely Unrelated 004
Next Week: The Interior Storm
There is another comic below, should you decide to skip the written stuff.
Something Completely Unrelated, Chapter 004:
The first three chapters of this fledgling feature were based on a philosophy I came to in raising our two sons. From here on out, the source is different.
Z served as a student worker on a campus where I long-ago worked as a counselor. She claimed me more as friend than counselor — she already had one of those — and came to me with some of the most interesting and reflective questions I’ve ever heard.
After a couple years of that, leading to the deepest and most textured relationship I’ve ever had within the boundaries of being a counselor, she asked that I give her a graduation gift.
That did not feel right to me, and I told her, “Me giving you a gift, that doesn’t feel right to me.”
Her asking escalated to badgering, after which the queries slipped into demands. I relented before the threats to life and limb began.
Instead of buying her something, I wrote a poem that reflected her questions and the conversations we had. I placed the poem over an abstract piece of background art in Photoshop. I then printed the piece and my local FedEx Office took care to laminate and mount the gift, now suitable for hanging in her dorm room when she transferred to the hoity-toity university up the coast.
There’s more, but that’s enough for now. Except to say that, line by line, and not necessarily in order, I’m going to dig deeper into that poem and those conversations.
Here’s chapter 004:
Discover in Each Person You Meet
Reasons to be Compassionate
Come from a household, a family, that has little care for you, that more badgers and demands and belittles, and compassion comes hard. Such was the road Z travelled, such is the road, to varying degrees, many of us travelled.
The trick to experiencing compassion, to finding a soft place to land when life is brutal on us, is to make a practice of offering sincere compassion to others in need of support.
This can feel counter-intuitive, to give what we so desperately lack. But that’s the surest way I know to learn to receive compassion ourselves: To give compassion to others.
Volunteer for the local homeless shelter, become a youth group leader, soften the ride for the people you share home with, an office with, a classroom or dorm room with.
Over time, my dear Z, that’s how the ride is softened.
From The Archive
From my now-dormant Bunny Unsettled account on the Sketch-a-Day app, which turned out to be an awesome resource to ensure daily drawing.
Like last week’s three, the prompt for this one was likely “peel.” (I was apparently very prolific with this prompt.)