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2009/10/30

Holding Up a Mirror to the World: Object Should Be Closer When They Peer

What people have to say about me has more to do with who they are and what they want from me than it does with who I am.

That’s it in a nutshell, folks.

It’s taken me years to get to this point, but I am finally able to articulate what bothers me about the comments people make when they assume they know me. I’m thinking of adopting it as my mantra.

Truth is subjective. Points of view, opinion, the way one sees something; while valid for the source may not be an accurate reflection of the subject.

When it comes to other people I do my best not to judge and I really try never to judge quickly. I don’t walk in their shoes and there is usually a part of the story I am not privy to. I hate to make a call if I don’t have all the info. Not that I haven’t on occasion read somebody’s beads. But usually I don’t offer up my full POV unless it is time to draw a line in the sand or in the hopes of altering someone’s history of bad behavior with a good old dose of reality. In either case, I have a history with those people… a long history, and the level of my disclosure is based solely on the trust level achieved in the time I’ve known them. And if that’s the straw that breaks the camels back? So be it. We’re both better off.

If I don’t know you well enough and you say or do something that I find disagreeable or leads me to suspect that we aren’t on the same page (or book, or library) in the long run, I keep it to myself. Because if you jump on someone’s shit right at the start of a friendship, that person will clam up fast. Once that happens? You are no longer trusted with information regarding what makes that person tick – so your relationship will seize like an engine that’s run out of oil. When I’m getting to know someone, I try to ask questions and withhold judgment. That way the information keeps on flowing and nobody’s sensibilities get messed with.

Keeping such an open mind is why I end up exploring, talking about, and commenting on the things and activities that populate my life. If I closed my mind, I would never explore anything new and I would only be able to see things from the limited point of view based on my very limited experience. That’s why I think of my life as one long learning experience and myself as a life-long student.

Remaining open to change and leaving room in my life for new experiences is very important to me. This is why I chafe when someone makes blanket statements about me based on whatever is currently occupying most of my time and focus. You can’t pigeon-hole me. By the time you do, I will be focused on something else. No, I don’t suffer from ADD. I merely learn everything I want to know about a given activity or topic and then move onto something else. I am an inconspicuous consumer of knowledge; experiencing things first hand being key to my obtaining such knowledge. So don’t jump to conclusions about who I am based on what I’m currently preoccupied with. Trust me, in a week or two it will change.

Of course some changes happen without my consent or knowledge. One day, I just happen to glance over to the right and boom, there it is; something’s changed. To be honest, I don’t like surprises much. But then life does have a way of sneaking up on a body. A somewhat recent change that I’m still getting used to? I don’t have a lot of friends anymore. I have acquaintances and people I work with. I have neighbors. I have family (some of which are my very best friends). But friends? No. I used to look around and wonder why. What happened? What changed? The answer? I did; me and my expectations. I no longer put a lot of trust or faith in friendships. They don’t last. That whole BFF thing is just a marketing ploy guaranteed to set you up for some major disappointment down the line. I’m not bitter, just sadder, but wiser.

Recently, I once again got my hopes up thinking I’d found a new friend. In emails we seem to click. He made me laugh, we had some stuff in common and I could tell him things without fear. But then something went amiss; I failed to meet some unspoken expectation – a demand on my time, I suspect, and the next thing I know he’s reading between the lines of everything I’ve shared or the things I’d written in the past. He’d then offer up his analysis and in the process royally piss me off. I don’t like being judged. Especially harshly and prematurely. But then we live in an age where everyone (Thanks, Oprah. Thanks, Dr. Phil) fancies themselves some type of self-help guru and they just can’t help but jump all over your jock the moment they feel the need to enlighten.

Well, fuck that.

Want to analyze someone? Try holding a mirror.

I’ve had my head shrunk. It was a painful and relatively brief (in the big picture) time. Eventually, someone told me something about myself that led to my getting over myself in a big way – and that’s when my real life began. If the time comes that I feel the need to unburden my soul and seek emotional guidance, trust me – I’ll recognize it. But until that day? Don’t pigeon hole me! If I share something about myself with you – that is my truth. Don’t try telling me I don’t know what I’m talking about. Don’t try telling me I don’t know myself.
And don’t ever accuse me of being shallow.

Because, if there is one thing I am not… it’s shallow. And for you intimate such only proves that you have no idea who the hell I am.

Yes, I am incapable of a ‘real’ relationship. But I choose that. I have had ‘real’ relationships in the past – long term ones. They all ended for a reason and not all of them badly. And now that I have had several very ‘real’ relationships, I am in a position to tell you – as defined, they are not something that interests or suits me. I have my family. They matter. I’m not feeling the need for much more. The sexual relationships that I have? They serve a purpose. I learn from them. I learn about myself. I have fun. I get off. I’m not going to invest very much in them… because that is my choice.

And so… it’s Friday night at 5:30 pm and I am in a coffee shop finishing this post, sitting at a table with an herbal tea all by myself.

I will probably spend the rest of the night by myself. Unless I choose not to. But in any case…

I’m okay with it.

Getting caught up in outcomes? Not really my game plan anymore. I’m more interested in listening to the universe and seeing what it has to show me…. what it has to teach me.

So I’m not really disappointed that I don’t have another friend. This is just a lesson I have tried to learn time and time again. Only, this time? I get it.

Repeat after me: What people have to say about me has more to do with who they are and what they want from me than it does with who I am.

Amen.

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