Growth for me is not linear or always forward moving. I can get excited, jump here and there, get super angry and lose focus and then collapse, out of breath and finally able to find some introspection about whether anything I did made sense or made progress or was even viable.
Huh? No, I’m not actually listening. You’re right. How could I be? You’re reading a blog and I am not actually present with you.
Now, neither you nor I just learned this – we kind of knew this all along. But when I read blogs, I like to think, somehow, some way, the person who wrote it knows I’m reading it and that I’m liking it, or identifying, or disagreeing, or offering additional commentary, or whatever. I rarely read a blog and think I am alone and have not in the presence of the writer.
But I’m not with them. And I know this, I learned this long ago. I learned this when I discovered playing peek-a-boo with an adult did not mean they were really disappearing behind anything, but that they were still there all along.
Or did I?
I seem to remember mom dropping me off at Kindergarten and when she left, I think I thought she was never coming back, gone forever. Maybe I had been really bad or maybe she didn’t love me anymore. So the reason may have been different, but for whatever reason, at that time, gone seemed to mean gone forever, never to be seen again. I’m pretty sure that was what I was crying about, because, outside of mom leaving me there, Kindergarten was pretty fun.
And each day, mom and I were reunited after Kindergarten ended. And over time, I began to realize mom would pick me up, but I still cried because it tended to get me a hug or something else I wanted desperately as a child. A lesson embedded within a lesson. That’s how lessons can be for me.
The point is, by the time I was five, I was good with the idea that the people in my presence were ‘here’ and anyone not in my ‘presence’ was gone and that some would return without question, some I might hear about but never meet and others I might meet once or twice but never see again and most of the time, as it related to those I would never see or never see again, I was pretty ambivalent.
And so it is today that I know as I read a blog the writer is not ‘here’ and so they are not in my presence or hearing anything I am mumbling aloud or in my head. It does not bother me, and sometimes, many times, I play a bit of a game choosing to believe if I do mumble things or say them in my head it has relevance to the writer – but in reality it is said by me for me to help me digest what the writer is sharing about their experience with me.
So why don’t I write these things in the comment box if I know there is no way for the writer to know what I’m thinking if I do not? Well, I don’t really know, but maybe when I come to the end of a blog, I’ve said within my mumblings and inner voice all I need to say. Perhaps I am already content.
I know, that is a boring answer.
Yes. You know me well, I’d rather say something to make me sound really important, like I’m super busy and simply can’t spare the time which then gives the idea that anyone whose blog I read should feel graced I took time to do so at all…
…but I’m just not that important and don’t warrant such attribution.
It might also be as a person with chronic pain, chronic illness and disability there are simply a whole lot of people asking me to do stuff and I can’t do it all, and the Comment Box is just one more thing I add to the list of things I don’t ‘have’ to do. And even when I think I should, out of my rebellion against society telling me so much about what I should do (which they don’t have to do), I simply don’t.
Alas, I don’t think that is it either.
I could be lazy – but that is sooooo harsh! I would never suggest that of my readers, and if I say it is why I don’t comment, then, by inference, it passes to them – and I really don’t think that is why any of us leave the Comment Box blank.
On the other hand, I can only guess at why any of us fail to comment. So, honestly, this is all a part of the fluff, the “I have no idea” part of my blog. If you have read me for long, there seems to be a bit of that in every blog, and for good reason, it reminds me how much I don’t know. That is always a good thing to remember.
But, back on track now, I really think the first reason is most true. When I read a good blog, the writer takes me on a journey. I observe all along the way, feel things, consider things, and when it is done – I don’t need to speak so much as I need to contemplate where I’ve just been–if it’s true for me and if it might be true for others or even, amazingly, an universal truth.
A good blog, for me, is a bit like entering a state of meditation, contemplation, reflection and introspection. And when it takes me there, it gets real personal real fast, and I’m not always sure that I want to comment on a personal journey that may or may not parallel the writer’s journey they expressed.
Why I don’t treat face-to-face relationships like this I will never know. How respectful the world might be if I did. I mean, honestly, I read blogs which yell at me and tell me things about myself I simply don’t want to admit about myself or even know. Yet, when I am done I do the meditative thing rather than the yelling, obtuse, angry thing.
The reality is, if my voice matters (and it does) so does yours. And I don’t really care what your voice is, it has something to teach me, offer me, cause me to consider. I don’t need to fix you or worship you, I just need to hear you and consider you and decide if anything that is true for you is true for me, and maybe, even try to find some similarity between us so I can remember you are human, like me, and we are not perfect, but we are all trying to sort out this crazy and unpredictable life we live. (and breathe)
From there, what I do, or don’t do, is up to me.
Phone conversations can be so different for me than reading a blog. I totally engage and let you know what I’m thinking as I’m thinking it. In response, some folks speak harshly back at me. If I’m keeping my cool, and they’re getting harsh, that’s not about me. But if I, in response, hang up on them because I don’t like what their saying or their tone, it suddenly becomes about me, because it is suddenly far more personal than it ever should have been.
They are simply expressing themselves. It’s not personal to me, it’s personal to them. It’s not about me, so why should I respond as if it is, unless I have made it so.
This is something I’ve learned. My stuff is my stuff and your stuff is your stuff, so if you are blowing a gasket, that’s not about me, it’s about you.
If I blow a gasket, that’s about me, and not you. That’s me not being able to speak civilly, taking things personally and not being able to see you for the whole and complete person you are (OH YEAH – this is gonna get a bit ethereal now…).
So here’s the deal. What you say and do are important to me. They tell me if I want to be around you or not, if I should fear you would beat me to death with a bat or not, if I should giggle with you or not, if I might like to have dinner with you or not…yes?
But I don’t want you to just share your ‘best’ you. That’s not the real you or the human you.
Even though, in the states, we have passed legislation that censor people from expressing hateful things, I would honestly rather hear them and decide if they reflect the ‘real’ person or an ‘imperfect’ person in a moment of stress or ignorance or lack of foresight. As humans we have tons of faults and make plenty of mis-steps.
To understand you, determine if you are someone I want in my life, I want to see your faults and mis-steps and how you adjust and move forward.
This helps me see if you have something I want and if you can show me how to make it mine too – be it how you handle yourself in difficult situations or how you rise above the barriers life puts in your way.
This is how I grow, to and fro, because sometimes people have something I think I want, and then I learn from them how to get it, then I put it on and it doesn’t fit! And so I turn away from it, shed it. This is the ‘fro’ part. I learned, I tried it on and I go back to what I had, because what that other person had is good for them, but not for me.
Just so you know, the “little by little” is about me being stubborn. I am pretty stubborn and when I think I’ve found my truth, it’s hard for me to let go, even after I know what I’m clinging to is simply no longer true.
This is true for me when it comes to ablism. Ablism doesn’t help me at all today, but I still hang on to some ablist thoughts, still interact with them and still wonder why they don’t serve me even though I am working really hard to make them do so.
It has been so for every major change of perspective I have had in my life. But, when exhausting of holding on to a truth that doesn’t serve me forces me to let go, it has always freed me to see and experience things in new ways – to move forward with my life.
So I am stubborn. I hang on longer than I need to – but eventually, the force of life ensures I let go.
I go through life it seems the same way I read blogs–mumbling all the way either in agreement or protesting my contraindications.
Regardless, I am still here, still growing, little by little, learning to and fro. Is it the same for you? If you comment, I will read it, maybe even comment back. But if you don’t, I get it, it’s cool. We have something in common I guess – we’re human.