“Emotionally, you’re 90 years old,” my boss says.
It’s one of those weeks, ever increasing in frequency, where I’m frustrated with her for not seeing the big picture, for not thinking ahead of the current decisions and fitting it into future strategy. Acting as if only the present moment exists is a low-pressure state, and it helps her be resolute, but I know that there’s a lot she’s not considering, and having worked with her a while, I know that when the unpleasant yet absolutely foreseeable consequences come to pass, she will blame anything but this moment, this decision that she made. I press her to acknowledge the tradeoff, that there’s a potential downside to this course of action and that we need to accept that before proceeding. She tells me that I’m exaggerating and makes the call, and I feel like Cassandra warning of the Trojan War.
I’ve been worrying a lot lately that I’m too sensitive to be poly, especially poly and kinky. I look around at a lot of my peers and see more detachment, and I think it would be easier to proceed if I could stay in the present moment and on the surface with people. I tell Skyspook this, and he says to stop comparing myself with other people. I counter that social comparison is a psychological force akin to the physical force of gravity. We can’t help it. We can do explicit cognitive reframes to deemphasize it, but we’re wired to implicitly form social contrasts as a way of delineating where we fit in everywhere – in our social reference group, our intermediate in-groups, and the greater human tribe. Most just don’t realize that they’re doing it – careening around like cars oblivious to our mechanical design and surprised by our sudden movements, inventing safer explanations to cover the gaps in our understanding. Skyspook tells me to think of social comparison as the gravity dance of planetary orbits. My brain spins around in circles as the stage lights up, and the show begins.