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  • Writer's pictureKimmy

Bitters and Soda

Updated: Jan 9, 2022

We didn't have a lot of money when I was growing up, and I always felt embarrassed by how poor we were. So I was determined to make a different life for myself. Because I came from nothing, I've had to work hard for my money. Now, I feel like people want to take advantage of me. When people come into my business, I feel like they are trying to rip me off. I don't owe anyone anything. And if I bark at them, so what? I'm exhausted.

People have no respect for how hard I work, and it pisses me off.


My dear R.J,

Thank you, sincerely, for offering your frustration to this space. Your anger, R.J., about how you feel disrespected and that people want to take advantage of you is palpable. It sucks to feel poor and sucks even more to feel embarrassed about it. I imagine that you could give me examples of the ways this affected you deep into the wee hours of the night. And I would gladly hold space for that. In the meantime:

We don’t find ourselves angry, bitter, and withdrawn without reasons that make sense to us. From the sounds of it, you have plenty of evidence to be suspicious of people. I would imagine that suspicion carries some hurt and betrayal. I could totally be wrong, but it would fit, based on my personal experience with suspicion. If this is true, I am sorry for your experiences that got us to this discussion. Armoring up in protection takes a lot of energy and does not offer generativity in exchange; in fact, we are depleted, which is probably why you say you are exhausted.

Given that, and I say this gently, buddy, if defensiveness were an effective strategy toward earning respect, I would applaud you and move on to the next post. However, as I go through an inventory in my mind, I cannot come up with one example of when defensiveness and suspicion have contributed to joy in my life, let alone contributed to an exchange of respect. In fact, it feels like a contraction that just keeps feeding on itself, kind of like drinking venom. You know what I mean?

If we sat in silence for a few minutes we probably would sense that anger isn’t getting us anywhere. Does that seem possible? Believe me, I can relate, dear JB; I have often found myself angry about how we humans interact with each other and yet feel too pissed off to do anything about it. Ugh. So now what?

I would like to sit in the possibility of a reality where we all living in interconnection. Stay with me! Imagine our human experience is like an aspen grove, the trees look like they are standing as individuals, but in reality, are connected through a far-reaching root system. We might look independent above ground but out of our sight is something really exciting in how intelligent and complex it is. And not just that, it's nourishing and life-affirming.

What if we were to experiment with the words of the great Canadian sage (and I would argue theologian) Leonard Cohen? "If you don't become the ocean, you'll be seasick every day." What does this mean to you?

I take it as an invitation to surrender and enjoy the ride, to start looking for ways to connect with the people who enter my sphere and to dig deeper than the crappy feelings of suspicion and disconnection. I invite us both to imagine melting into that great web of our shared human experience, just for a minute, right now. If a minute is too big of an ask, how about ten seconds.

(10 seconds later) Hey! That actually felt like the first deep breath I've taken all day!

You and I both know that we are both way bigger than our grievances, R.J. What if we were able to truly celebrate this day we have been given? You can write your own version of this but maybe we have some overlap:

Starts with Thank you

Looks like an orange sunset

Sounds like a breeze rustling leaves

Feels like soft, papery bark

Tastes like roasted marshmallows

Smells like a campfire

Ends with an Amen and Halllelujah

I'm cheering for you, buddy.

warmly, Kimmy


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