So, as you know bob, I’m perpetually trying to write a novel. The novel is set in rural Ontario (in a fictional small town) and, at its roots, has a lot to do with finding one’s tribe and learning that “one’s tribe” doesn’t always look like one specific subculture. Unrelated to this, but related to the topic of this blog post, my Ghost recently won the first ever Bootblack Ottawa title (I’m very fucking proud of her – YAY!) and, at MLO, some of the speakers tlaked about how their community has reached out to take care of them in hard times.
Because of these two things – both of which are under way in November (Nanowrimo isn’t so much a month-long endevor for me, as a way of kicking myself in the pants and actually making some time for writing. At least in theory) – I wound up sitting in a Bridgehead, writing out a long-hand chapter of The Novel, and sobbing my eyes out thinking about honour and generosity and how people with no money tend to rally around each other and find ways to help each other out when the going gets tough (or even tougher).
And thinking that I tend to not do this. That I’m suspicious of people who offer me kindness or generosity. That I get resentful of people who need a lot of patience and support[1], even as I need the same things.
And maybe that’s because I’ve spent such a long-ass time looking at the world through a lense of scarcity, or maybe I’m just kind of a miserly jerk. But either way, I want to try to live with more honour in my day-to-day life.
So. What is honour, anyway?
Honour is:
Stepping up when your friends need help – with a casserole, a dinner invitation, a piece of furniture, a skill, a tool, a place to stay.
Being generous with your time and resources, as much as you can[2].
Thinking well of people and offer them the benefit of the doubt, but also meeting them where they’re at[3].
It means trying not to be the person who gets “met where they’re at” – be reliable, show up on time, do what you say you’re going to do[4].
Saying Thank You, and meaning it.
Giving compliments, and meaning them.
Being cautious when it comes to talking about other people’s lives – what you[5] think is common knowledge, may not be; and what you think is no big deal, may be a Very Private Thing.
Being aware of your reasons for doing or wanting certain things, and checking in with yourself to see if they really jive with your own morals and ethics[6].
Developing a good understanding of your own Needs; learning how to articulate them effectively to yourself and others, but also being open to new ways of getting those Needs met[7].
It means figuring out the top foive (or so) most deeply-held VALUES[8] that you have, and then striving to live in ways that uphold, and are in line with, those values.
Stuff like that.
Living with honour, I think, means (a) living in ways that are true to what you care about, but also (b) striving to be worthy of other people’s kindness and generosity by being kind and generous yourself.
So that’s my thought for the moment. There are parts of that list that are easy for me, or that I’m already doing. And there are parts of that list that I dread trying to live in compliance with because I know it’ll take a lot of thought and self-awareness and, y’know, actual work to get my habits in line with where I think they should be.
Wish me luck.
Ms. S.

[1] What the fuck! Why the hell am I like that???

[2] Although be aware fo the difference between “being generous” and “courting burn-out and resentfulness by taking on way too much all the time”.

[3] What I mean by that is recognize that, if someone in your community (or your family/phamily, or whatever) regularly cancels plans or flakes out at the last minutes, this is a pattern. Rather than continuing to count on them to show up for plans or be reliable, when that’s realistically not going to happen, love/value them for what they do bring to your life/phamily/community and quietly switch from making plans that cost you time and money (show tickets, time in a restaurant) or plans that require them to show up at a given time to take on a specific task; to plans that don’t (“Hang out with me at my place – we’ll make hot chocolate”; “We’d love to have you on hand at Event X for General Volunteering, in case we need someone to cover a table at break-time, or if we need an emergency gofer”).

[4] Me and my perpetual lateness need to work on this one rather a lot. I’m honestly kind of embarrassed about it at this point. 😦

[5] And by “you”, I mean “I”. 😦

[6] In particular, here, I’m thinking of polyamoury and how to negotiate different relationship situations.

[7] This is, again, a mostly poly-related thing, as I’m writing it down. But it also applies to things like “What are my financial needs?” and “How much sleep do I need to get?” and “How much of my life can I reasonably devote to creative pursuits if I need creative outlets?”

[8] I might go with “Creativity, The Land, Family/Phamily/People-I-Love, Self-Sufficiency, and Sensuality, with things like “Safety” or “Community” or “Adventure” being points of connection between two or more of my Top Five. Just to toss up an example.