Here’s where I am right now…
I believe that there’s magic in the world.
I’m not big on kismet, and, lately, I’m not much for coincidence either. I believe there are things–or a thing, the Force that’s with us, whatever, that connects us and probably directs things, in Its own, unfathomable way. Right now I choose to call this the Universe, because that’s a term that’s not bound up with negativity for me. And, where I used to see the Universe as the kind of entity one has to watch out for, the kind of entity that would reach out and smite you for things like being hopeful, or confident, or pleased with yourself, these days I’m choosing to see It as something much more benevolent. Something that wants me to contribute something to Its world.
Writing helped me get there, because when I write, I’m taking from all these bits of my experience and forming them into something new that teaches me. Feeding from my real life experience makes the writing feel more real, attracts readers, and helps my work speak to them.
If the Universe didn’t want me to speak to them, why give me those experiences? I could talk about this for a while, but I have before, and that’s not precisely where I’m going. Whether or not that particular idea resonates with you, that’s the perspective I’m coming from.
A long term relationship
I don’t have a whole lot of long-term relationships, especially not close ones, and there are reasons for that which I’m not going to get into. But there is this one person, romantically to be named Person A, whom I have known for a very long time and is still around. The last week, maybe two, since I tend to get extra contemplative around my birthday, something about Person A has been poking at my brain.
Why do you love me?
Do you ask people that? This is something I avoid. For me, this is one of those questions I ask because I need others to validate me. Oh, the pressure! And, since there is probably no answer that will ever work to make me feel great about myself (I understand that’s supposed to come from me, not someone else), it’s never going to work. Then I would get upset at them for not making me feel better, and upset at myself for not being good enough for them to actually care enough to actually give me really good reasons for it. Ugly, ugly business. So I got out of that business.
I avoided asking that question to others, and, eventually, I didn’t even ask it of them in my head so much anymore.
Enter Person B. Here’s another person who’s been around for a while. And I think I even see a bit of similarity between Persons A and B that explains why I haven’t burned through them yet–or they through me–but that’s not really where this is going. Or maybe it is. Because everything’s connected.
Person B, like Person A, is, in many, many ways, very different from me. We often come at problems from different places, and this generally makes for good conversation, sharing, and sorting out of various things.
On the other hand, in many ways, I know that I’m just the sort of person which Person B cannot stand. This is one of those things I probably knew but really jumped out at me the last week or two, and I find myself thinking something akin to “Why do you love me?” So I back off on the thought.
A funny thing happened at the Girl Scout cookie booth…
I was selling Girl Scout cookies with my troop outside of the grocery store, and there was this woman who came up to wait outside the door for someone to get off work. In her arms she held this tiny little dog. The girls were interested, of course, and asked to pet the dog, but the woman told them that the dog was very nervous and it wasn’t a good idea. And my girls were very good and backed off, so yay for that.
Well, after a bit, the woman came over and started talking to us and telling us about how the dog had been a rescue, and did they know what it means to be a rescue dog. And, after a bit of confusion over police K-9’s and such, we reminded the girls about our recent trip to the animal shelter and how we met animals who had to be removed from their homes.
At this point, my daughter spoke up to talk about our most recent rescue, a half-starved and dehydrated Great Dane who was let loose to wander in the woods, we suspect by someone who may have been unable to afford his care.
Well, this woman looked at me at me very intensely and said, “You’re the type who rescues animals, I can see it in your liquid eyes.”
Isn’t that just an odd thing to say to a perfect stranger at cookie booth? She didn’t strike me as a particularly strange person, nor did she say anything of that nature or depth to anyone else. So why was she moved to make such a personal remark to me?
That’s the kind of thing I think the Universe moves people to say. It’s a sign. When odd things happen, you’re supposed to pay attention and try to find meaning.
In which I identify as a compassionate person…
There’s this one thing that Person B brings to me on a semi-regular basis. Person B often has issues in which subordinates who screw up and must be dealt with. And I almost always defend the subordinate, make up possible excuses for their behavior, plead for leniency, and, in general, exercise my very compassionate perspective all over what Person B has told me. My self-censor suggests that this might be an annoying thing to do and maybe I should stop.
But as I’m working on not being so cowed by that censor bitch, I recently stopped to wonder why Person B keeps bringing these to me, knowing that I’m probably going to stick up for the other guy.
Is it possible that Person B isn’t just blowing off steam and wants my more compassionate perspective? Because, look, I love Person B, who has great qualities out the wazoo, but they’re not the most compassionate person I know. Maybe they know it too, on some level, and want me to help them see it from another angle.
Is that part of it? I never thought about my compassion for others, which is something I think I may have in some quantity, being something of value I might bring to this relationship, to someone for whom compassion, including compassion for themselves, isn’t a strong suit.
Wait, “liquid eyes”? Is my compassion visible?
There’s an interesting notion, isn’t it? I mean, it’s not like blonde hair/blue eyes, but what if there’s some extra sense that we have that allows us to see, without even knowing we’re seeing it, that someone has something we need in our lives?
All those years ago, did Person A–Child A–look at me and think, “I need her in my life”? Person A can be highly critical, and I think probably took a lot of knocks in that direction as Child A. Could Child A look at me and see that I might offer something else? That I might be safe?
One thing that spins around in my head with the rest of it:
In being so concerned with why Person A should be interested in continuing a relationship with me, in being so concerned with getting my own needs met with the Why do you love me? stuff, or protecting myself by refusing to ask that question anymore, have I ever before really considered that Person A needs something from me they can’t or are not willing to put into words? Am I meeting that need?
The Universe says, “Slow the crazy train.”
Assuming the Universe is the benevolent entity I current choose to believe it is, this whole bizarre chain of thoughts and events was not put here for me to freak out about whether or not I have spent over half my life being so selfish and obtuse that I’ve not paid proper attention to the needs of Person A and have slighted them in some way. So I’m not going to do that. (Big deal for me, by the way.)
But I can start opening my eyes and turning my very analytical brain in that general direction.
Meanwhile, that strange stranger with the squashed-face dog gave me the gift of identifying myself as a person of compassion, and helped me see that as something of value. Like the Universe told her to remind me that I have value and things to offer–but not to make it too easy– make me think about it and work it out on my own.