At work recently, my manager played us a video from Any Given Sunday. It was Al Pacino’s speech about winning by banding together and fighting inch by inch etc. And now I want to steal the inch metaphor for my own usage, and totally corrupt it in the process.
The inch by inch theory is the reason I hold grudges for so long. Otherwise it will happen the same way every time: someone does something big and huge and unforgivable, and you walk away from them. Then, over time, you let go of the anger because you want to be lighter and happy and a better person, but there’s still no need to talk to that person. Then, you run into them somewhere and you smile a little and say hi, because what’s the point in ignoring them, and you’ve already forgotten about the mean thing, right? Plus, it’s not like you’re friends, you’re just saying hi. And then, you’re both at a party or a pub or whatever and you run into each other and there’s a bit of small talk, because after all, there’s no point in being angry anymore, right? You’re both in the same place, you may as well be nice and catching up with someone you’ve known for a while is fun. Then it happens a few more times, and you’re catching up with them more often than you’d think. And you’ve forgotten about that horrible thing, and you’re just acquaintances, so it’s all good. Until something major goes wrong for one of you, and the other is the one that is turned to. Whether it’s them or you, the bond is formed again and whatever has gone wrong is worked through and you’re closer than ever. And then they do something big and huge and unforgivable. And that’s when you remember why you weren’t friends anymore in the first place.
It happens at work all the time too. One day you work back ten minutes, just to finish this one thing. The next week you take on one extra task at work, because you can and it’s helpful and you have the time right? No big deal. And both continue, until one day you’re working overtime every single day and doing the work of two people. Because it happens slowly, inch by inch, and you don’t notice it.
I can’t think of one area of my life this doesn’t apply to. Relationships, assignments, family etc. When things are happening slowly, one step at a time, you lose focus of the big picture, until suddenly you’re overwhelmed. And protesting over every little thing seems childish and stupid and petty right? But where do you draw the line?
This is why I’m stubborn to the point of stupidity sometimes. Compromise and forgiveness are two things that set you on this path very quickly. You start dating a guy you like and you’re having a great time. And little things are happening that you reason away, or justify or choose to compromise on. Until suddenly the whole relationship has exploded and you look back and wonder how the hell you ended up with a racist, sexist, controlling arsehole. And the answer is, inch by inch.*
I don’t actually have any conclusions to this post. Every time I think I’m ready to wrap it up, I think of a new example. I can apply my theory to feminism, too. You compromise on one little aspect of your feminist beliefs, one day. And then it’s another one and another. And suddenly one day you’re at work with shaved legs, straightened hair, make up, pointy toed high heels, giggling and flirting to get something done by one of the boys and you think how did I get here?
Like I said, no conclusions on this post. I don’t know how to fix this or what normal people think about any of it. It’s just something I’ve been stewing on recently. Any insight or input would definitely be appreciated.
*no pun here, get your minds out of the gutter please.