relationships

Shattered Boxes


I always find it interesting how we create these images of various people we’ve met. You know, we have a particular idea about how they probably behave, talk or react to the world when we’re not around. This inevitably puts them in a particular box that we are none too quick to release them from. So much so, that when they do or say something that goes against our established image of them, we think it’s “out of character” or that “something must be wrong”.

Personally, I think people are multifaceted beings that have a propensity to exhibit behavior that could seem contradictory in nature. What it really means is that there is more to each of us than we share with every individual. For instance, some people know me for my writing, while others know me for my music. And there are others who have absolutely no idea that I write OR sing. For them, finding out that I do either (or both) would completely shatter their image of me.

Which is a bit sad considering those particular things have always been a part of me, even if I haven’t shared them.

So yeah… there are parts of me that I share with some people and not with others, depending on the context of our discussion and the depth of our friendship. And so it goes, that in getting to know people, we discover other parts of who they are.

To me, that’s the most exciting part about developing relationships… there is always the potential for surprise.

Categories: relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Priceless Population


As a society it seems as if we value just about everything as it ages. Things like…

Wine(Paul Masson “We will sell no wine before its time“) There seems to be a general belief that when it comes to wine, older is definitely better. People have paid out extraordinary amounts of money to own rare and highly sought after spirits.

And houses: Although most houses fall into the “decrepit” category after 100 years (or less in some cases), there are still many houses (even older) that are considered “vintage” and sell for a premium, especially American Craftsman Style homes if they have all or most of their original “built ins” or have been designated historical landmarks.

And of course, baseball cards: One of the most expensive baseball card in the world is one from 1909 that was sold for a staggering $2.8 million!

Now, while I certainly think all of these aged-collectables are nice, the most notable and surprising exception to inclusion in this time-established ranking of seniority… is people.

It’s really sad to me that as people get older, instead of treating them with respect and dignity, many of them are treated like a nuisance. An inconvenience at best. We cast our elderly aside like yesterday’s newspaper. Maybe good for recycling, but more likely to be used as lining in bird cages. Where is the honor many of the aged among us so rightfully deserve? When did we become so careless with our ancestry?

I’ve purposed to simply record conversation with my older relatives, especially my parents. I sit and ask questions about a bygone era that shaped the people they eventually became. People who fell in love, got married and gave me life. I realized a long time ago that there is so much to be learned from their lifetime of experiences. I learn about our country’s history from a first-hand accounting of events. I learn about the transformation of what constituted entertainment. And I learn about our community both large and small, as well as its victories and its defeats.

So just remember, by the grace of God, we’ll all get old eventually. Make the time to give your elders the time and attention they deserve. Because the hearts of this extraordinary population, and the wisdom-laden information they provide are in a word… priceless.

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Hero Origins


Every hero has an origin story. Likewise, every person has a back story. You know, the details of their life that predates when you met them. The back story is an intricate weaving of life experiences, social environments, family dynamics and emotional woundings that initiate a predetermined response to certain situations. What I find interesting is that sometimes we tend to enter situations unconsciously assuming none of those things exist in others.

  • We may not realize a friend was bullied in middle school before telling a joke about kids teasing other kids.
  • We may not understand why someone is sensitive to large crowds after being lost at an amusement park for 6 hours when they were 7 years old.
  • We may even think it’s okay to drag a friend out into the ocean, laughing while ignoring their pleads and animated protesting, never asking if perhaps they nearly drowned a few years ago during a similar incident.

What makes things worse is when the ignorant and uninformed take umbrage at a person’s reaction without bothering to investigate their hypersensitivity. Sometimes we just need to exercise some restraint and compassion and perhaps get to the bottom of a matter. Perhaps then we might discover interactions that promote healing instead of hurt. Words that encourage instead of instigate. Perhaps we won’t find ourselves being unintentionally offensive.

Personally, I love hearing the back story. It gives me greater insight into a person and helps me appreciate them all the more. Who knows? It could be YOUR superhero origin. What’s your back story?

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Personal Thunderstorms


Have you ever had one of those seemingly endless seasons when you’ve gone through an incredibly rough time? You know, it’s not just a bad day, but it’s like you’re standing under your own personal storm cloud. We become completely engrossed in and preoccupied by the trial we’re facing. So much so, that we can’t see or enjoy the people around us.

As an empath, I sometime fight to resist taking on the struggles and pain of others. My heart genuinely breaks for those being mistreated, suffering abuse, or battling addictions. Thing is, people are rarely going through the same thing at the same time. For each of us, there is usually no storm “harder” or “worse” than the one we’re currently facing. And I get that.

In truth, we vary so much from circumstance to circumstance and from history to history (how we grew up or the particular experiences we’ve had), that one person’s thunder storm could easily be another person’s slight drizzle.

One thing I’m sure of is that every person’s struggle is different. And we never really know what someone is actually going through. Even if on the outside things look fine. We can’t always see the turmoil within.

So I would just encourage us to show a little more compassion to our family, friends, and colleagues. Be kind…

…on purpose.

Because we never know how hard it may be just to get through the next minute for the person standing right in front of us.

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Results May Vary


You don’t know me.

And I don’t know you. I mean, not really.

You may know the things that I choose to reveal about myself. It’s usually the best parts of me (though I’ve been known to be quite transparent with the not-so-best parts of me as well) that I share. But if someone were to ask you to tell them about me, you really wouldn’t be able to rattle off much more than what I’ve listed in my profile. Sure, you could browse my blog or stalk my Facebook account, and maybe make a few guesses about what my taste in music or movies must say about me. But they would only be guesses. And more often than not, you’d be wrong.

For the longest time I’ve been rather careful about getting to know people and allowing them to get to know me. See, I have a history that includes a pretty severe wounding of the heart. So I’m not very keen on putting myself out there in a way that might reopen that wound. Unfortunately, my passions run deep and I tend to be, what one friend calls “emotionally progressive”. Rare in men, so I’m told. Among other things, this means that my heart can become vulnerable to the inconsiderate actions of others if I make an effort to get to know them. I’ve done that with very few people over the years. It amazes me how the pursuit of friendship can be liberating on one end, and weaponized on the other.

Interpersonal relationships should come with a standard label that states, “WARNING: Result may vary.”

Some of these people have become like siblings. Some of them are like my kids. And some of them are… well, something altogether different. But all of them have had an impact on me to varying degrees. My affections are at times painfully genuine. Sometimes to my own detriment. So I’ve learned to protect my heart a little bit more fiercely than I did before. It’s not that I don’t want people to know me, but sometimes I’m not entirely convinced I can afford to allow them.

I’m not a fan of heartache, confusion or misunderstandings. To avoid such calamity, it would make more sense to just keep everyone at arm’s length. It’s sad to me because many people I’ve met are deeply intriguing and I’d love to discover more about them. But this has brought me to the dispirited conclusion that the further away from them I stay, the less likely I am to get hurt if/when they implode.

I don’t know what bevy of circumstances has made them the way they are. They could’ve grown up in abject poverty, or could be the spoiled product of wealthy hands-off parents, raised by a bilingual nanny. They could be a recent parolee from a botched extortion attempt, or an as-yet-to-be-captured professional con artist. They could literally live across the street, or across the ocean. My point is that I won’t know them all that well, and they won’t know me. Unfortunately, past experiences have a tendency to make people gun shy. So I may never know them the way that I wish I could.

Hmm… I don’t even know what the point was of this post. Venting? Purging? Meh. That’s all I’ve got for today.

Categories: opinion, personal, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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