I woke up with a headache, scratchy eyes, and the taste of doom in my mouth. Wrung out. Ragged-y. Walking into the corners and edges of 53 years of experience. Ouch. It’s not a bad morning, really, I am just having this moment, right here, and it isn’t a perfectly lovely one. That has to be okay, too, or how will I swim life’s currents, rather than being swept away by them?
A very different point of view.
I had a delightful evening with my traveling partner, after a fairly good day. At the very end of the evening, we struggled through a shared moment of difficult emotions and differing perspectives. I did my best not to escalate the intensity of the moment when I began to feel emotionally attacked – holy shit that’s hard work! The thing is… he’s having is own experience. I’m having mine.
As deeply and intimately connected our partnership feels, we are still unique and individual, separate from each other, our own self, our own soul… and like it or not, the world does not look the same to him, as it does to me. Could I have chosen a better moment to bring up wanting to enjoy more of his time, or found a way to do so that explicitly acknowledged that I am aware this is a temporary situation, seasonal, and that in a few more weeks he’ll likely be spending a great deal more time with me? I could definitely do a more skilled job of listening – that’s a weak area for me, and although I work daily to overcome the challenges of my brain injury, I sometimes find myself frustrated and feeling a sense of futility – “Is this as good as it will ever get?” It’s not uncommon to cry about it in the darkness, until I sleep, at the end of a frustrating day.
We each have our own perspective on our shared experience. There’s no getting around this particular puzzle. It’s how we’re made. The most honest and truthful of lovers will still tell their stories differently, one from another, even if they spend every moment of their lives in each others arms. That’s some messed up shit right there… or seems to be, sometimes, when I want very much to be well understood, and instead feel… alone. Few things feel lonelier (again, my perspective, here, and my words) than the pain of being misunderstood, or not heard, by someone dear. What I find I have often lost sight of in the past is that if I am having that heart-stomping, breath-robbing, emotionally gut-punched experience of being misunderstood by my lover… chances are, in that identical moment, and from their own perspective, my lover is feeling it too. We are each having our own experience, but we are also all in this together, interconnected, emotionally entwined. He hears my words, feels my hurts, shares my moment… but… I am hearing his words, feeling his hurts, sharing his moment… what gets us twisted up is not that our perspective on a situation differs, but that we forget that it can’t be any other way, and become frustrated by the differences, instead of nurturing our lover’s wounded heart, and accepting with compassion and non-judgment that their experience is what it is, and demonstrating we are still there for them. Well, no kidding, right? It’s hard. We’d so much rather spend time trying to force each other to recognize the validity of our own experience – correct the other person’s “obvious mistakes”. (Note to self: emotional experiences are 100% subjective, personal, based on perspective, and not subject to argument, or disagreement. Choose another approach.)
It’s easy to wake with this headache and want to say “fuck emotions”. I can say it all I like, of course, being human doesn’t offer up an “emotion-free option”. We are beings of both emotion and reason… and frankly, emotion skips to the head of the line all the damned time. lol I may as well continue those practices that tend to improve how skillfully I feel… and how compassionately I honor the feelings of others. 🙂
Today is okay. I’m okay right now, too. There’s nothing wrong, and love endures a lot of misunderstandings between lovers who love truly, and who invest in good communication, healthy values, and each other. The weekend is here. My traveling partner will be away. I’ll spend time thinking over things he said in anger (and frustration, and hurt) that would have been easier to hear without it, and I’ll come to understand him more clearly. I’ll forgive the anger; it can be hard to communicate emotion in a way that others can hear it comfortably. I’ll enjoy the summer weekend here at home. He’ll enjoy it elsewhere. We’ll each have our own experience, and return to each other with tales to tell, stories to share, and love.
Wherever we travel over the course of a lifetime, I hope we always return home to love. 🙂
Perspective matters. I often find it here. 😉