wicked or:harm reduction

the right dose of sarcasm:

hiding assertiveness (not too much) –

let them be


A couple of weeks ago, I reported receiving an email that left me raging in fury, It had been from a posh Jesuit retreat centre in Switzerland: On the occasion of a book presentation by one of their seniors, I had asked could I stay overnight as travelling from Bonn that week end. And could I also ask for a meeting with that senior person. Not just posh that centre, but also claiming to be on the forefront researching and practising faith and Zen. (History: I had previously asked said senior guy for advice and assistance by email in a delicate personal matter, RC-related and named one of their confratres elsewhere. Never heard a peep.) That senior person had also previously published a kind of memoir by the clever title ‘I did not swear enough’ which is relevant to how the story ends: So the email I received a couple of weeks ago ignored all the history and politely refused the overnight: As I had never attended one of their courses I could not be expected to appreciate the special atmosphere of their Centre. – Now I can laugh about it: Today I wrote back, equally politely thanking them for their invitation to come during the day to the book presentation. I had however come to the conclusion that to appreciate the special atmosphere in the Centre I first would have to improve on my swearing. –

I belong to a generation where the word wicked meant ‘mean’ – nowadays it seems to mean fashionable in a sort of original kind of way. So I leave it to the reader to decide which applies.

I put this in the context of harm reduction, because when I decided to finally write back to them today, I had been reading up on the concept of harm reduction and reflecting how this applies to me and overeating. I just got to the point where I thought assertiveness is a tool I need to counter melancholy. Of course, if I was anything like saintly, would not have had to write. In any case, I feel very much at peace with myself now.


~ by Barbara S on September 29, 2021.

5 Responses to “wicked or:harm reduction”

  1. I love the poem. When I read it (before reading your explanation) I was struck by how often this is the experience of women of ambition. We need to be assertive but not too much so or we are labeled as overbearing so we self censor with sarcasm or dry humor. It is a fine line and so few walk it well or for long. After your description of the situation, I can only applaud your restraint!

    • ๐Ÿ™‚ thank you – I feel I made the most of the situation – no restraint, but I know what you mean; thanks again:-)

    • yes a fine line indeed. I tend to fall off left or right more often than not – I am lucky in this case as it’s in writing. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • wicked or what? I seem to have hit a nerve: They have replied today in fact apologising for the bit they had previously ignored – namely that I sought a meeting with the senior. Ha. PS this morning senior emailed me asking for my phone nr to discuss questions. Seems like I have to bottle that effect of get really mad and then cool off to get clarity.enjoy your week end.

  2. well well; reply from the Swiss. I seem to have hit a nerve: They are now apologising for the core of the matter they had previously totally ignored (my seeking a meeting with senior)- this makes sense only if someone went through their communication with a fine tooth comb and found it wanting indeed. Well, so did I. I will read those 2 books by the senior soon, but I think i put the money for train and overnight to better use.

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