Transitions have this way of testing our moxie, as well as a few other character traits; stamina, perseverance, patience and best yet self-control. In addition to the regular ordinary transitions that have relentlessly been presenting themselves at this midway point, the ending of a marriage has provided a few more twists and turns in my life. That's me, always the over achiever! I am not quite certain why, I have always been a great believer in Vignelli’s “Less is More” philosophy, I just can’t get the Universe to trust me and go along with me here.
I have noticed a few interesting or at least suddenly, traceable, consistent aspects of myself that have needed closer examination, maybe for a long time coming. I haven’t quite decided whether I need to alter, abandon or accept the findings just yet. The noticing is pretty important in and of itself, for now (note to self: record start time, device a plan, make some changes).
First finding of note: I can get excited. Easily. Occasionally, this has occurred more frequently than I would like to say. Sometimes this is perceived as intense. (That word still bothers me, but I am accepting of that.) I have known this for some time, but I just considered it a matter of fact, like eye color, not a matter of course that can be changed, like hair color. At times I have felt exasperated in my excitement as though the course of the excitement was propelled by something outside of my reach. I get excited when someone is causing harm to others, or making destructive decisions. I can get excited when someone is dishonest or unethical. Sometimes I get more easily excited based upon environmental conditions, lack of sleep, or food, too much humidity or weeks of gray cloudy skies. The regulars. Of course, all this excitement is based upon my perceptions and personal experiences. In the past, this type of excitement generally ended with me seeming intense and over-excited and the harmful party seeming calm and controlled in comparison, left to continue causing harm. Not very effective, this excitement. Alas, I only get to be the boss of me, no matter how excited I get.
I have noticed I get excited sometimes before someone finishes sharing a complete thought. I can see things, or so I firmly believe. Sometimes truly- not like the Sixth Sense and dead people, or the future, or premonitions, but I can see things coming together, formulated, soup to nuts- the end product, practically in visual 3d form! This is a trifle annoying, to more than a few. I do need to curb my enthusiasm, so to speak; maybe even let others finish sharing their thoughts before I launch the master plan. Perhaps I can even learn to
not share my observations based upon these conceptual "seeing" abilities I profess to have. At other times maybe I can try this on for size; “Oh, I have some thoughts about how that might be addressed, resolved, etc.” “I thought about what you said and I have some ideas that might be worth considering if you are interested.” I don’t think I am capable of smiling and nodding- all those ideas and excitements might start bumping into each other, and next I'll have a migraine and other visual problems. More likely, if I attempted the smiling and nodding routine, I could still hear other things, and then I would start figuring them out. It’s not that I am a very bad listener; it’s more that I listen to everything. Someone, once near and dear to me, understood that the TV or radio could not be on, eye contact and sitting face to face helped ensure true listening. He knew there were certain conditions that had to be in place. A good team we were at times. Acceptance is truly a wonderful thing.
I do still have a hard time when people are talking to me about problems, that can be fixed, that I know how to fix, and they prefer to talk.
About those problems.
And not do anything to fix them.
I may be able to alter these interactions by requesting that certain people only speak to me when my super sonic sound blocking ear plugs from my I-pod are tightly inserted into ears, or the TV is on, or we are at a loud restaurant sitting within and on top of everyone else's personal space bubbles. Sports bars are the best for this; 5 or more TVs, all on different stations, yelling, cheering, glassware clanking, conversations... Talking about problems simply to talk about problems is for me, a problem that I need to avoid, like the black plague and a sports bar.
Unfortunately, a friend was recently explaining something, and I got excited, and suggested a way to solve it. Only I didn’t explain that I had applied my visual-conceptual super-power and was seeing how to implement the final stages of the resolution and she hadn’t quite finished explaining the first stage. I messed up here. But it helped me to notice, my excitement, visual-conceptual, resolution process that is often perceived as weak listening skills, or worse. I will work on this one; I will slow down and listen carefully and kindly.
Another recent observation: I like to make things. I don’t always like to follow directions, however. I can figure things out and make them. I made a table this week. And finished up a chair that I started a week or so ago. I didn’t use plans. I looked at various pictures for the chair and I kept seeing it, thinking about it, measuring and angling it in my mind. (That visual-conceptual thing again) I am not the very best rule follower, but when building furniture, rules or at least plans are helpful. The table has a little wobble to it, and when I envision eating steak on it, as I surely will at some point, the cutting is going to be tricky, unless I reinforce or re-build following some plans or rules, or pretend that I am experiencing a minor earthquake and just have fun with it, workable and agreeable excitement. While the making things is a big part of who I am, I am not sure if I like to make things to avoid a few near-ancient inner conflicts I have with being me.
One of these conflicts is being an artist. If I make a table, with a washboard, and call it my "kitschy-kitchen table", I am creating. It is functional, more so when the wiggle is waggled out, and creative. But everyone knows it’s a table. The risk of criticism is minimized, the self-esteem protected or merely left unchallenged. That might be the big one- taking certain risks, believing in myself- slowing down a bit to take a look at who I am and what I want to "make" to honor my creativity and my experiences. How do I want to be an artist?
I also have been known to keep insanely busy to avoid looking at some of what undoubtedly would benefit from a little fixing in myself, and my relationships. I have stayed busy enough so as not to come to terms with a relationship that had long ago gone into deep disrepair. I worked, and gardened, and parented, and hiked, joined committees and built things. I enjoyed many of these side-trips. But I will never know if I could have helped repair this broken relationship, or if it was never really the relationship that I had hoped for, believed in, and “created” to avoid looking more deeply and seeing it for what it was not. And friends, this is a BIG Ticket item for me. This me in relationships thing.
I have managed to participate in two failed marriages. I am not exactly sure what that says in the scheme of the Universe. I am certain I don’t want to add another, ever. I am also toying with the possible realization that maybe I chose perfectly, and poorly. Not all that came from these relationships was a failure or a failing. I will neatly pack up and protect the memories that were built on love, real or imagined, and happiness. There were many in both and I haven’t been very good at honoring this truth. It’s difficult to see any good when there is much unnecessary bad. Marriage is hard. Divorce is harder still. But sometimes it is the hardest part of our journey that makes us strong, and clear. Forever begins, again and again. It interweaves, and connects and breaks apart and sometimes rejoins in the oddest of places.
I have been offered a great opportunity to take this new-found wisdom and road test it. Divorce, that great opportunity to road test some newly acquired skills. It's all in the framing, dontcha think? So I am working on balance, here. And not getting excited, about some of the harmful actions that seem unnecessary. My patience is also being tested. But that Universe thing? It's bigger than me. Just going to sit back a little, and see what's next for me in this particular stretch of the journey. Maybe take a few risks, create, build, oh sit back a little. Smile more or less. Get excited with laughter and loving.