Wednesday, March 19, 2014

I Know What You Are Thinking

Well. Sometimes. Probably more often than you may think.

I have started to realize something recently that is pretty incredible. I am not sure in totality what to do with it, but I am thinking it will come in time. However even just the realization helps in a way.

When I was at the doctor's recently, I felt something from the person I was talking to. And it wasn't something hopeful or good or positive. I think I know what she was thinking, but she did not say it. However the volume of the feeling was pretty loud.

It was unnerving a bit to feel the feeling. But I also knew before we had the conversation we did what the reaction would be. She was aware enough not to say to my face what she was thinking, but I can't help but wonder if she realized that I still knew what it was. My guess is not. So often we collectively think we can remain silent about what we think. But the thing is the message still communicates.

I am willing to bet you know exactly what I am talking about, too. It is a willful ignorance of what we "know" and yet we don't know because it hasn't been communicated by the person we feel it about.

So much of life seems to be that way. It seems to be greatly disconnected from itself, and at odds with what "truly" is.

Did I want her to say what she was thinking and feeling? Hell no. But I still got it. Then I proceeded to steamroll it for my own benefit.

At some point if I continue with them they will want to get another scan. I really don't see a point. At least not at the moment. The prevailing thought by almost anyone I tell this to is that it might be good to at least see where things stand.

And what if things are worse? How is that going to help me? It's not like I have any options to exercise, unless I consider the HIPEC surgery. I am going to be seeing another oncologist soon to consider an option not previously offered to me. I do not know if it will be an option, but I figure I at least need to check it out. I will tell you more after I know what needs to be known for myself first. I don't think it will be helpful from what I understand, but it can't help to ask questions.

The point of me writing this, though, I think, is mostly to point to the fact that we are much more connected than we think we are. I think I have kept my distance from people in my life over the years for this exact reason. Whether they said what they felt, or not, I knew how they felt, and it was uncomfortable.

I did not realize at the time that what I was doing I was doing for that reason. But there was an uncomfortable undercurrent that pulled me down when I was around them. Almost every time. Maybe even every time. Kind of uncomfortable to consider that it was every time, but the fact is it likely was. And I tried to keep my distance, and the results of that were uncomfortable, too.

The "funny" thing is that I have been told that I have pushed these people away. It may very well have been that I have done that, but I don't think it was for the heck of it. I suspect now that the reason I have done that, if I did, was because I didn't like the way I felt/felt about myself when I was around them. I don't remember any times - especially as an adult - that I did not feel underlying discomfort when around them. At times it may have been more subtle. But I think it has often been present.

How do I interact with people who are thinking the types of things that are not helpful to me - especially if they are a part of the medical profession that thinks that I am not making the best choices I can for myself? There are times I really wonder if it would be in my best interest to walk.

A part of me doesn't really want to share this outwardly. I get concerned sometimes that people will interpret things like this in the same way that the doctors do, and that is of no real help to me. I think there are times I can feel the discomfort of those who are aware of me, whether we interact, or not. As I think about it, I think that happens a lot.

I felt like I needed to write this blog post. I think it is because it is yet another thing people don't really talk about. In some way I think it is because it is something so seemingly interwoven into our experience of life that it isn't something that is distinguished as a "thing."

Lately I am having the realest conversations I have ever had with some people, and it is awesome to be able to speak what is on my mind. Speak freely and openly. It occurred to me today that maybe there are more blow-ups and fights because of the things we don't say than the ones that we do. I have to wonder if our feelings come out sideways sometimes because they just can't be contained any more.

I was watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother and one of the characters, Robyn, asks the rest of the group what her "But" is. It came from a conversation in which they were discussing that when you want to introduce a person to another all of the positive stuff is said, but there is always a "But" that is often unspoken. When Robyn asks, each one of the characters has a thought of what the But is, but no one verbalizes it. Instead they all say she doesn't have one.

There is so much freedom and power in being able to have the open conversations. It takes a lot of the charge out of things. I imagine the guessing and the suppression of things serves to charge them up. Things were a lot worse with "A" because he wouldn't talk to me. If he had only been willing to talk to me, we could have worked through things. Instead, it made things a lot worse for me. And, while I can't speak for him, I suspect it was worse for him, too.

We have been trained not to say the things we think will hurt another. If we had been trained instead to allow another their emotions and feelings and learned how to interact with them, instead of avoiding them, that would likely be much more beneficial.

We are getting to a point in our culture in which there are more and more things that are taboo. It seems to make sense in the context that we have created. If we could learn how to freely interact with each other on a personal level, it would likely help us on a society based one.

The reasons we shouldn't speak up always sound good. They're packaged in a way that makes it sound like we aren't thinking of another if we say what we really think. It is also called "having tact" which is considered a positive thing. Having said that, everything we think doesn't always have to be said, much less thought.

So while I may seem to be advocating for people to say whatever they think, I am simultaneously advocating for self-awareness. What does the statement have to do with the other person? If someone said I was fat or ugly, two things I am sure that I have been said more than a time or twenty, is it really about me, or is it about something within the person making the observation? After all, not everyone has thought that about me. Odds are our judgments of others serve no real purpose than perhaps to make us feel better about ourselves somehow.

If we realize that, and we have a significant, grounded inner core, then the things that others say will lose their ability to affect us. If we also recognize that we have a reaction because what they said plugs into something we feel, we can look at ourselves in the situation and potentially defuse it that way.

Getting a handle on the things that aren't to our best benefit can be a good thing. The (perceived) problem is that the times that the realization comes often is through another's (often negative) interactions with us.

If that person at the doctor's office was thinking more of me, she wouldn't have likely have thought what she did. Instead she would have could have gone to a more hopeful place. The outcome I have will be the outcome I have. There would have been no harm for her unspoken thoughts to have been more supportive.

Maybe that is something to consider in our interactions with others. Who are we considering when we think the things we do? It might have us "send" different messages to those around us. It would also mean we could potentially receive different messages, too.

I don't know about you, but I would certainly appreciate it. I have found that those who are honest with me about how they feel, and about how they don't know what to say or how to say it are more "inviting" to me than those who act like they do know. It is difficult to be around people who think they know better than me, or have answers I don't.

I started to write a letter to someone recently which likely won't be sent at this point. One of the things I said was something about how I really don't want to know what they think. I said I was sorry, as I may have given the perception that I do care, and that was my fault. I just didn't realize when it all began that I wasn't really going to want anyone else in my decisions - unless I specifically asked.

Since this all began I have come to realize more and more that what others think doesn't really matter, and over time it matters less and less. Not only that, but by the time I come to the place I get to it has taken a great deal of contemplation. It took a lot for me to get there, and it isn't always the easiest place for me to stand, as I may be choosing from options that all suck. The last thing I need is for another to say something to me about what they think. It is not only not helpful, it is often quite unhelpful.

The most honest and helpful thing I can do for myself and anyone around me is to be this frank. While others might say otherwise, and think that I should consider those around me more, I do not think there is anything wrong with me telling you how I feel about my situation and how I want to interact with it. To make it about something else is not good for either one of us, and it would also be inaccurate.

We play a lot of games with each other. It seems that it is the way we interact much of the time. I decided a while ago that I was not thrilled about it. I was in the hospital bed after my hysterectomy saying that I didn't care what others thought. It lasted only a little while. Once I returned to life I backed away from it. It wasn't totally conscious, but whatever was had me wondering if people would want to help me if I said what I really felt without the "appropriate" filters.

Well. The thing is that I haven't noticed any less help since I have started to speak more the way I really feel instead of dancing around it. On top of that, there have been those who have told me they appreciated my forthrightness. It seems on some level to have helped people to be interested in my story even more. Also, not speaking my mind didn't give me the amount of help I needed any way. It made it a lot easier for me to choose to speak up. I really felt like I had nothing to lose.

It took me feeling like I had nothing left to lose to truly be myself. Interesting thought, isn't it? If you don't speak up, what are you afraid to lose? Is it worth keeping? The trade off is that you are likely losing a little piece of yourself every time you remain silent. Perhaps the irony is that whatever you are thinking and feeling is likely being communicated any way.

As often is the case, this post started out one way, and is ending another. I suspect the pieces are related, as the threads of life are interwoven. I may not be doing a very good job of relating them, but I am not sure I am supposed to do more than just share what I have. Maybe it is up to you to decide what, if anything, you want to do with these thoughts.

I sometimes think I am meant to raise questions. I think there are many times we don't ask enough questions because we are too busy thinking we know the answers. Sometimes when we think we know the answers we don't see the perspectives that would allow us to question those things.

I have a lot of questions. One is what the heck am I supposed to "do" with this? If this was an effective, marketing post I would outline a solution for you. 5 Steps to...

Well. This isn't that. Not by any stretch of the imagination. I hope it goes no where near ever being that. I am not sure that any thing can be effectively outlined and treated in a X Step Outline. And yet, that is what we create all the time because we are uncomfortable in the not knowing. But even when we see the 5 Steps, and they sound good, many times their perceived value is much greater than their actual one, and even that value diminishes over time.

This, as often is the case, is written more for me to understand something for myself. If, however, there is value in my perspective for you, then that is great, too.

Have a good night.

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