Saturday, May 27, 2023

Emotional Filters

 While we humans like to think of ourselves as highly evolved, coolly rational beings, we are in fact, emotional creatures. Every decision we make must leach through our emotional filters. Ultimately, we behave based on how we feel. 

We old-hands in this writer business teach about the importance of the emotional motivations and reactions in our characters, especially when writing fiction, but how often do we think about our emotional filters affecting our daily lives?

What caused me to be mindful of this came about from my role as the jefe editor for an anthology from CALMA - the Colorado Alliance of Latino Mentors and Authors. I had put together a postcard to publicize our Go Fund Me, which I needed for a Meet & Greet this weekend. After checking out various online print companies, I settled on the best deal and sent the order. The company acknowledged with a delivery date of May 17. Perfect. 

Then May 17 came and went. No cards. The next day I sent an email asking for an order status. I received an auto reply telling me to expect an answer within 72 to 96 hours. What! The following day I did get a reply from a human informing that because of production difficulties, they couldn't promise a delivery date.

I felt like I'd gotten scammed. They had taken my money and jammed me into a corner regarding this opportunity to distribute the cards. My mind spun through all kind of scenarios. The cards arriving too late and of poor quality. The hassles of getting the credit card company to reimburse me. I imagined penning all kinds of vicious reviews everywhere that I could on the Internet, of contacting the BBB, putting the word out that this outfit was nothing but a bunch of crooked, incompetent weasels. 

With these venomous thoughts festering in my head, it was time to take my dog Scout for his walk. We took a different route than usual and passed by a house with signs asking dog owners to not let their dogs crap on the grass. Scout sniffed but didn't do any business. As we were leaving, the home owner came onto the front porch and asked, "Could you please keep your dog off my lawn?"

I snapped at him, "I'll take care of it," thinking that Scout hadn't done anything and the sign didn't say Keep Off The Grass. 

As the minutes passed I regretted how petty I had reacted. It wasn't the man's comments that had set me off, it was that I was still stewing about the postcards. Because of that, my emotional filter had been preset to bitter and so that was how I behaved, which I like to believe is not the real me. I wanted to go back and apologize but then I figured the incident was all about me so I let it go. 

After all that self-inflicted internal drama, the cards arrived yesterday, in plenty of time for the event. And they look quite nice. 

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