March 1, 2013 — Moriarty is out of town. The pale Phantom of My Blog is attending a Voyeurs Congress in Miami. As he went out the door, I told him I wanted to hear all about it when he comes back. He turned halfway to look at me, hand on luggage cart, other hand holding the door open, and told me that upon his return to my blog he will not comment. He said the event promises to be a quiet affair and that participants will spend most of their time sequestered.
Meanwhile back at the blog, speaking of affairs, my friend R asked me to write about relationships. Given my lack of experience in relationships, I viewed him pensively across the candlelit tables laid with theories and accepted his proposition.
Before I sit down, I will tell you that in my relationships I don’t care if you are the Pope, I allow zero tolerance for patronization, condescension, control, or lack of interest to hear my thoughts. But if you tell me you don’t want to hear it, then I’ll leave you alone. Treating me like a child, or like someone else, someone I am not, as a trophy friend, with any lack of dignity and respect, will send our relationship up in smoke. Strive to know me for who I am, and I will strive equally towards you.
I don’t burn bridges. I keep an open door and an open mind. People can change; the act could have been due to a simple misunderstanding. Too, perfect as I am, there is a micro chance that I could absentmindedly treat someone disrespectfully. I would hope the person would tell me, for I would not have meant to do so.
Straightforward communications and direct questioning map the shortest route to understanding. Caring and gentleness cushion the journey. I do not play mind games, I do not pout. I say what I mean, that is all. Sometimes I may not make myself clear, unwittingly – you know, like I know what I said; how could you not? But, mind games? Life is confusing, complex and difficult enough. I rarely get angry; frustrated, maybe, but that’s because I don’t understand. Once I understand, my frustration ceases.
I seek nothing more from you than your companionship and support – and laughter. I may not agree with you on every issue, but I value your thought, nonetheless. I choose to abide in a home with windows on all sides, so I can view things from various perspectives. I like the cupola of this blog – I can get a good overview of things.
And I do try to keep in touch. A good friend told me years ago that she puts much effort into keeping in touch with her friends. Good advice.
Emails comprise a terrible way to communicate. Misunderstandings abound via emails: “No, I wasn’t angry; I didn’t mean it that way; my intonation was like this, not like that; I was not shouting – my caps lock is stuck; not thinking, I simply left out a word intrinsic to meaning.” It’s much better to talk to someone in person; then you can tell what he or she is thinking. Second best is talking on the phone, then at least you can hear the person’s tonal.
I wonder how well people communicated back in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries when they wrote letters and mailed them far away, across land or across the sea. If you mistakenly or absentmindedly with your quill or pen wrote something that left the recipient angry or deeply hurt, or maybe you just ran out of ink, couldn’t finish and wanted to get the letter off, given the protracted delivery time, weeks or months would pass before you could write back your reassurance that you unwittingly made a mistake. By then, the person could be dead – or married to someone else.
Occasionally the caldron of a relationship may need to be upended to clear it of refuse; I believe in cleaning out the cause for the misunderstanding, without blaming one another, listening, being willing to change, not just superficially smiling and reconciling; rather, confronting the issue. Deeply discussing the cause, being honest, clears it out and strengthens the relationship.
This that I’ve written so far sounds like a contract. But, little that I know of relationships, these ingredients I follow I believe combine to serve most relationships well.
My aunt and uncle made a pact that they would never go to bed angry at one another. They had a great marriage.
My writer/sociologist friend Beatrice in New Zealand wrote on our LinkedIn writers caregivers group discussion today that it’s taken her until her seventies “to learn to appreciate the people we are, rather than demand to be the people we are not,” and that maybe that is the essence of forgiveness.
My writer friend T.J. seconded Beatrice and suggested a “wonderful book … called Forgiveness: A Bold Choice for a Peaceful Heart. It’s by Robin Casarjian, who was herself a rape victim in her early 20s and who later began doing workshops and lectures on the subject of forgiveness,” said T.J., adding that it’s a very wise book, definitely worth the read and keeps her from getting on her high horse too often.
Oh, I don’t know. I like to ride that high horse at times. But, seriously, no sense in riding the horse to death: in my seventies, I have begun to believe that when we forgive ourselves we place fewer expectations upon others. Therefore, we more readily forgive others.
Oh, and as for voyeuring here? I welcome your presence. I know you are here or have been here – I can smell your cologne, the garlic from the fabulous Italian dish you just ate, or see your fingerprints in the dust. Do me a favor, though, and leave a flower, a tear, a smile or a hug and kiss at the gate, will you? In fact, pour yourself a glass of wine and venture out across the field, amble down by the stream and pet the blue deer and her fawn, Batik. See if the irises are getting ready to bloom. No matter what, I am always glad for your visit.