Posts Tagged With: point of view

not for comparison but for inclusion

I’ve been reading loads of end of- and beginning of- year posts. Some written after giving real thought to what 2018 looked like to the writer, some filled with new hopes, thoughts, or ideas for 2019. Some written to stimulate real thought from the readers.
I got a text from my friend Nora yesterday, it was her adorable bitmoji carrying to the curb, a leaking, stinking garbage bag labeled 2018.
I’m not sharing the pic because I’m making a point about using words. My initial response was to laugh. I even replied “Amen, sister!” But that’s because I reacted to the picture I saw.
When I started describing it just now, I realized I have mixed feelings regarding 2018. And not all of it belongs in that stank trash bag.

There was so much death in my world in 2018.
From Thing 1’s miscarriage to YBW’s precious mom, our beloved sister in law’s mother, friends at work lost parents, YBW even lost one of his colleagues, a man in his 50s. One of my oldest friends lost her mother, a woman who was dear, close friends with my own mother. And another part of childhood dies.
So much loss.
But in 2018 we celebrated anniversaries of birth for our collective children, we celebrated the graduation of our youngest. We celebrated at the news of a baby joining our family.
We experienced teeny little victories, and joys throughout the year. Some personal, some collective. Some meaningless to anyone other than me.

As I consider the close of one year and the start of another, my main take away is I must pay better attention.
Life is fragile and precious.

I spend so much time eyeballing everything from my own point of view.
Well, I guess we all do that.
Remember that show, Ally McBeal? Courtney Thorne Smith’s character asks Ally something to the effect of why her problems are more important than everyone else’s. To which Ally replies, They’re mine.

Looking at the world through your personal lens, your stuff is so much bigger, more important than everyone else’s. And that really does make sense.
I see the world through my point of view because it’s my life.
I’m not suggesting I’m as selfish as Ally McBeal.
Though I’m suggesting I can choose to look past the end of my own nose.

If I broaden my scope, I will see at least some things from a more inclusive point of view.
And in my heart of hearts, I believe that will benefit me.

Pay attention.
I do more than I give myself credit for. However, in general daily life living I spend a great deal of time on autopilot, and that surely narrows my point of view. I think so many of us live that way, just doing what needs to be done without really stopping to see. To engage.
By actively paying attention, we’re naturally more engaged. And being engaged in the world around us is the best way to foster connections with other humans. And even the most misanthropic among us longs for human connection.

YBW and I had a conversation the other day that went sideways af.
I got my nose out of joint and left the room.
I tried to step outside my own irritation and went back to him asking why I’m always the bad guy.
Turns out that the way I asked my question triggered something in him. He felt “backed into the corner” and that I was “wagging my finger at him”.
I asked if he’d expressed something specifically to Thing G. My intention was to talk with Thing G about it if he hadn’t so YBW wouldn’t feel disappointed later on.
So after a heated and somewhat defeated (on both sides) conversation we came around to questioning how to close the gap between intent and perception.
From my point of view, his perception is that my intent is to be purposefully hurtful.
So how can we communicate in such a way that perception and intent are reflective on one another?
We sorted to the best of our abilities the practical aspect and agreed to try different language on both sides.

It made me think though.
Am I paying enough attention to how what I do impacts others?
Am I paying enough attention to how what others do impacts me?
Am I paying enough attention to how what I do impacts me?

Focus on self while paying attention to the bigger picture.
How does what I do impact me and the world around me?
How does the way I look at the world around me impact me?

At first glance, these questions seem big, and perhaps tricky to answer. But if I break them down, they’re simple and I already a good portion of the answers.
Answering them feels simpler than executing the answers.

How can I pay a different kind of attention in the coming year?
How will paying that attention change my world?
Y’all, I’m setting out to answer these challenging questions because I know however lovely my life is, it can be even more so if I choose to see my life in this world from a broader point of view.

I think Ally’s response makes sense. Her problems were more important to her because they were hers.
I feel the same way. I suspect most of us do.
However, by simply shifting the way I look at things, I will remember to see how much bigger the world is than just me.
Doesn’t mean my stuff will stop being important to me, just means I’ll see it from a broader point of view.
By paying attention, and looking at things differently, I’ll begin to see the importance of other people’s stuff.
Not for comparison, but for inclusion.

Acknowledging the importance of others does nothing to negate my own, and does everything to create stronger relationships.
I’ll have moments of narrow view.
But that won’t stop me from trying.
I’ll have moments of paying attention.
I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to more of the latter.

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Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

What are we doing?

My heart is heavy today.
Partly it’s because Thing 2 left yesterday.
Her being here brought me much anticipated joy! We did all the goofy things we wanted to do. We almost snuggled enough. We had good heart to heart talks that included tears and laughter. I’m glad she was here. I’m glad she went home to her friends, I know she was missing them. She’ll be back in a month and we’ll do it all over again!

Partly my heart is heavy because things feel weird with YBW.
We were being goofy in the kitchen a few nights ago and he thought I was hitting him with the dish towel so he leaned over and licked me from chin to hairline. A big, spitty-cow-tongue kind of lick. So after I wiped off my face and got the saliva out of my ear, I punched his upper arm.
When we went up to bed I was being silly and he didn’t want any part of it. That’s when he told me I had really hurt him.
He did everything he was supposed to do. He told me he didn’t like that I hurt him, and please not to ever hit him that hard again.
Then he fell asleep.

I haven’t slept in the same bed with him since that night.

The next morning I brought up the situation. I wanted to clear the air, make sure we could talk about it and understand each other’s points of view.
I apologized for hurting him.
It was clear that I punched him with intent. But I had no intent to hurt him. I think it was just one of those punches that lands much differently than anticipated.

We talked about what it means to be physical in non-sexual ways.
YBW tends to be very “handsy”. He is quick to touch or tweak various parts of me as we pass by one another. He’s quick to pet my hair or cradle my face in the palm of his hand. I quite love this about him. That small, silly physical demonstration of his affection for me.
Yes, sometimes it becomes difficult. There are times I’d rather he not randomly tickle me or grab my bottom as he follows me up the stairs.
In this conversation, I expressed my displeasure that it’s a one-way street. If I try to be playful and tweak at him he doesn’t like it. Now this is mostly because he’s extremely ticklish and most times it feels less tweakish and more ticklish to him.
But sometimes it doesn’t seem quite fair to me.

This conversation was…tricky. I knew bringing it up would create a scenario in which neither of us would want to touch the other for fear of crossing this imaginary line. I actually said as much.
We’re still working on hearing what the other says and not falling into old patterns of hearing what’s been said to us in our previous lives. I didn’t want to bring it up because I knew what would happen. But while we were near the subject, I needed to say what I was thinking.
That’s what grown ups do. They talk about ‘all the things’.

So, where that left us is days of no physical contact. Precious little eye contact. And me not being able to sleep next to him.
I’m just so uncomfortable around him. I don’t know if he’s uncomfortable around me or not.

Last night I was brushing my teeth and he was in and out of the bathroom. Normally he would run his hand across my bottom every time he passes me, but not last night.
He was already in bed when I got there.
I said: I’m going to try and stay in here all night.
He asked why I was leaving. I told him I just couldn’t sleep. Which is true. I lie there and simply cannot sleep so I get up and got into the other room. I don’t sleep much better in there, but I don’t feel quite as anxious as I do lying next to him.
He asked: Am I doing something to keep you from sleeping?
No.
Then I told him I kept waiting for him to touch my butt while I was brushing my teeth. I told him I didn’t like where we were. I pointed out that I asked if I could lean on him while we were sitting on the couch early in the day.
He replied that he still didn’t know when or how he could touch me but assured me I could touch him.

Two nights in a row I curled up behind his sleeping body, my face pressed against his back. Just breathing his scent trying to feel connected to him. Then got up and left the room.

I don’t know if Thing 2 being here inhibited us being connected, I was focusing most of my time and attention on her. The boys are here too, I don’t know if that inhibits us from being connected, YBW is focused on Thing G.
I’m not sure it’s as much them as it is us.

I honestly believe something shifted the night I punched him.
That however playful my intentions were, it landed in a very real way.
I don’t think he wants to really talk to me. I don’t think he really wants to have any sort of physical contact with me.

It’s hard to have an intimate conversation when there are kids in the house, but I’m going to try again to bring it up when he comes home today. We may have to wait till Friday when the boys go back to their mom.
I believe he’s struggling with this too. I don’t think it’s all in my head. But I’m going to have to take the initiative, because I can’t sit with it much longer.

One good thing about Thing 2 leaving is that I can go downstairs and sleep in my cocoon instead of the upstairs guest bed. At least that will be more comfy until we can figure out what the hell we’re doing.

Categories: love, me, peace and wellbeing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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