library conferences can do that to me. i had the privilege of introducing elaine englehardt to a crowd of about 40 people this morning. red faced, shaking and ever-aware that people were watching (maybe listening), i read quickly from two papers... short notices for ula and a bio. i am not a public speaker. i am better a listening, watching, and even (sometimes) learning.
elaine gave a simple presentation on ethics. her presentation left me thinking about harm and values. i let nothing challenge my sense of being more than when i hurt another person.
i am very good a hating myself for compromising the values that other people hold...
last summer, i lied to nicole about the number of beers i had consumed while in telluride, colorado. i told her one, when i had actually had five. at the time, i was trying to get my drinking under control and was having trouble. when i returned from the bluegrass festival the first thing she asked was, "did you drink." with my hand in the cookie jar i replied, "yea, i had a beer..."
the next day, as we were talking, i told her that i had lied. she stood up, and walked out of my apartment. i didn't see her for a month.
everyone close to me thought that she was being unreasonable... even nicole, when she came back to me thought that she had been unreasonable. i didn't. i knew how valuable honesty was to her, and i compromised the virtue that she found in an open and honest relationship by telling that little white lie. i was embarrassed at the fact that i did not have all of the self control i desired, and resorted to twisting the truth to cover my ass. yes, i drank, and even though the number may be insignificant, it's the fact that i was capable of lying that mattered.
i spent three weeks hating myself, and my actions, because i hurt her. however, i am a different person because of that... she taught me how hurtful it can be to deceive another in order that i protect myself. i don't like hurting others... and, now, i work very hard at combating the urge to lie (whatever the reason). i'd rather come across as extremely fallible, than to harm another person.
i am fallible. i make bad decisions. i harm others through my actions. i really desire becoming considerate and thoughtful. it's a process impossible to complete, but i refuse to give up. i desire to be a good person, on my terms, in my way... by not hurting others.