Sunday, December 23, 2012

Day 225, 2012 Civic pride, or how to conduct myself in shared public or semi-public spaces 1


I have mostly made the assumption that I need to extend my sense of order, or cleanliness, beyond my apartment into the shared hallways of the house I live in, as well as the immediate surroundings of the house just beyond the entrance. I recall my parents once telling me earnestly that in Germany there is a law that when it snows, the side walk that covers the width of the house must be cleared of snow, and if it's not then in case of an accident, a lawsuit can be filed and won by that person.

Besides this sort of undirected understanding of where my civic duties lie, I also understood from my upbringing that I can take civic pride in making sure that the environment is considered and taken care of. For me this has often translated to picking up bottles in forested streets which were left behind by some party animals, or just randomly picking up wrappers that others have dropped and that landed in my way. It's the kind of attitude that I have to do what I can, when it just so happens.

I noticed though in a specific situation, having to do with the hallway of the house I have recently moved to, I had built up some backchat: There has been a missing concierge because the owners of the house are too cheap to have someone take care of the shared space, such as the hallway. This is clearly not in their favour because two of the four flats have been vacant - in a city where there seems to be no shortage of flats. When I reacted to a gesture by someone showing the apartments to potential renters and trying to hide this fact by stuffing the mail from previous renters onto the rack of my cycle, I realised that I have never dealt with this point in self-honesty.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear that if I don't clean up other's trash then no one will do so.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear speaking up to the owner of the house and suggesting to him that not having someone take care of the hallway is backfiring in attracting longterm renters.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear not knowing how much I should care about the environment - and that I have programmed myself to automatically clean up because I am female.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear that I am turning into everybody's mom because I am the one who just cleans up when no one else does.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear that I am a control freak when I pickup trash in the street.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear that I am just catering to my aesthetic sense when I pick up other people's trash because I prefer the picture I see without trash.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear that this sense of civic pride is a typical cultural attribute that I have programmed myself with.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to have a memory of a belief come up where I 'think' that my life is better when I don't accumulate too many things.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear that having too many belongings will entail even more cleaning up, maintaining, and moving stuff around.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear making order takes too much time away from other activities.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to fear that picking up other people's trash is a self-righteous act.

Next up are self-commitment statements.

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