insensitive me

And after we learn about listening we really should learn about paying attention …
How do we know what other people are thinking and feeling?
Well we could pay attention to what they say and how they behave and body english and, if they’re not very demonstrative, try and read between the lines … and I do that most of the time.
But sometimes I think that I work out how other people feel by sending out a ‘probe’, usually a bonehead move, and see how they react. It’s not really intentional (the boneheadedness) – just my M.O. This is not always a good thing …
I’m reminded of how the tanks in Desert Storm found the enemy – they kept shooting until someone shot back and then they knew their position.
I think I’m sometimes like that tank, shooting my mouth off until someone fires back and then I know their ‘position’ on whatever.
And like the bull in the china shop fragile things can get broken or hurt … people’s feelings. And that’s not a good thing.
If I’ve hurt your feelings as I stumble through my path please understand that I’m sometimes a person who behaves like a tank … my apologies.

is anybody in there?

I’ve never really thought about it but I guess I’d thought I was a good listener … until I stepped outside myself and asked some people, women, about listening. What I found out showed me that, at least now, I’m just another ‘guy’ and guys aren’t necessary good at listening.
I thought just letting the other person talk and hearing what they said and thinking about that and responding to that was, somehow, listening. And maybe if I was listening to another guy, that might be correct – but if I was listening to a woman … well it turns out there’s more to it than that.
How I respond and what I say reflect my gender if I’m not wary. For instance, I’m male and that means I’ll try to come up with suggestions of ways to ‘fix’ whatever is ‘wrong’ if someone is complaining about their life. I thought that was just me, or the ‘kind of person’ I am. And I guess that’s correct, ‘males’ work that way apparently.
So I’m trying to figure out how and where I’m not listening and when I search for listening in google I find lots of hits from sites that help guys score points with women by becoming ‘better listeners’ … I can understand the whole courting thing … it just seems a little mercenary to go about changing yourself so you can be more successful in the mating game. Or become a reasonable facsimile of a desirable person.
Then I find things like ‘The Art of Listening’ by Brenda Euland.
I like this piece. It makes more sense and leads to a better person whose success pervades their lives beyond mere romance. Not to trivialize romance but there is more to life and being a person is deeper than ‘facsimile concern’.
Coincidentally when I went hunting around the site where I found Ms. Euland I came across Donella Meadows’ ‘You Are What Goes Through Your Mind’ and found the timing funny. Ms. Meadows suggests using the off switch on the TV more often – and in less than a week my cable goes away. Woohoo!! I have canceled it. Takes too much time away from life and I’m paying for that. Seems kind of silly to be paying for something that’s hurting more than helping. We’ll see how it goes …

emotional muskeg

Somewhere in all of this I’ve become somehow disconnected from my emotions.
Kind of like my dreams – I know I have them but don’t remember them when I waken. I achieve that little feat on purpose but the disconnected emotions are involuntary.
I think it’s a self preservation mechanism that kicked in when the world became unbearably bad. In order to carry on a life while my spirit is alternately raging and tearing, and not have that come out in public (too often), something like a shield must have become constructed. Since I didn’t consciously do that (as near as I can remember) I’m usually not aware it’s there … and I have no clear idea of how to make it go away or change.
I do know it’s there …
Imagine being on a perfectly smooth high-speed bullet train and someone opens a door to the outside … and that’s when you see world rushing by, hear/feel the wind screaming along …
I’m either comfortably numb or full volume on. Whether it’s anger or sadness or desire or loneliness.
People see me bopping around, dancing in place as I’m listening to the mp3s in my player. They think I’m doing ok, maybe happy if a bit publicly goofy. I thought that for a while myself. Then I twigged that the physicality might harbour something else …
There’s a part of me that’s seething in anger and needs to get it out somehow. Things may happen in dreams but there’s no physical component – it’s just psycho shit. I’m sure it’s pretty psycho – another reason to not want to remember it.
Letting my body respond to the music gives it something to do and no one gets hurt. Another good thing about portable music – savage beast tamed and all that.
When I was a child we summered in the Whiteshell part of Manitoba. One of the freakier things was muskeg … I remember having the image of walking on this thin, springy, moss covered layer with a river of water running underneath. And the feeling that falling through a hole in the muskeg might be a one way ticket to drowning.
This emotional shield is my muskeg … the emotions below are a fast running stream that threatens to drown me when I puncture the shield …

Time does not play by the rules

Yesterday was the 19th … technically 5 months now.
I try to look back and gauge whether that seems short or long … and find it depends on the context in which my perspective finds itself in this search.
It’s like the temporal equivalent of the optical illusions where your visual system keeps flipping between two possible scenes: two goblets or two women, a horse or a crone, a rabbit or a duck. At wikipedia and in _mathematics (scroll down to see the duck/hare one).
I think about the continuum of minutiae and it seems like a long time but then I think of the events, the granular nature of our lives and it seems like last week. 150 days or so … that’s 5 months, 5 phone bills but only 2 cable bills. 1 Christmas, 1 grandchild’s birthday but many boxes of tissue and many sleeps.
And then there’s the little, unexpected version of immediacy. I think of something or read something and think “She’ll love this.” Then I go to tell her: my body’s already twisting, foot lifting to walk into the next room where she … isn’t. Hasn’t been for … months now.
BUT she was just there in my mind. I could feel her. Can almost feel her now. She was such a large presence in my daily life for so long. She may be physically gone but the ‘her’ in me doesn’t just stop … can’t just stop.
Then there’s the firsts … the first time I do something that was done with her the last time I did it. Took that particular walk, sat in that booth there, saw that TV show. Each one a little milestone along the path away from life with her to whatever is next.
Days take forever but weeks fly by … time does not play by the rules.

reality bad … dreamland worse.

Do what I can to keep them away
those things that are seen
when sleeping mind’s at play
waking means shaking
that place where I’ve been
mentally hiding those things
only closed eyes have seen.
It’s not her … then it is
shock so bad I fall awake
the real world sinks in …
the tears leak out.
stability starts to spin
mouth open to shout
sobs blocking the way
soaking up tears with verse
starting with ‘WHY?’ another day.
memories coming to life is a curse

to blog or not

sharing photos … ok.
Blogging … I don’t know about that.
Why would the world (you) care about my thinking? … Why would I wish to share that with you?
At the root core of ‘me’ … my personal philosophy … ‘I’ do not exist … so what loss is there if ‘my’ words and thoughts pass through their brief existence in this world only in the meat computer in my skull?
‘all communication is behaviour modification’ … (boy Laurel didn’t like that one 🙂 … is blogging and commenting a way for individuals and the ‘world’ to come to a common consensual model of how things are?
What if I like the edges I already have? Sorry, but that slot the world’s making available requires to much alteration on my part – think I’ll pass. Is that valid? Is validity even open for discussion? (see I’m not a blogger – I think there might be undiscussable things 🙂
So this is my first attempt … and maybe my last as well.