Tuesday, October 1, 2013

the art of shutting up.

last night i dreamed. my dreams are almost exclusively about people from my past. a few days ago it was an ex, promising me great love in the future but not giving it to me in the present. i remember feeling, mid-dream, hopeful, yet wary. hopeful, yet wary. there should be theme music playing as i type ...

last night, it was a girl. in my dream, we were in a restaurant. a small, comfortable place. the only colors were burgundy and off-white. we sat at a round table, she and i and some female members of my family. she wore a constant snarl, one that spoke the unspeakable malevolence that is seething inside her, every day. in real life, not just in my dreams. her nose was bigger and uglier than usual. we argued. my family and i left, then went for cupcakes at a bright, cheerful bakery. strife, then cupcakes.

my dreams, like their owner, aren't hard to read. am i hard to read? some people say so. they don't know me up close. and of the people who know me up close, how many read me well? not many. most skim the pages. i admit, the text of my life does get a bit wordy at times. talk is not always cheap, but it takes that route on occasion.

i've resolved many times to stop talking. this, a result of leaving too many conversations feeling like i was presenting a thesis defense. the thesis titled the ways and means of dee. i need to be more a follower of my own resolutions. i know this: the more you talk, the more convoluted simple concepts become. i follow my instincts. i am not wrong for doing so. these are simple concepts. i find enormous irony in the fact that "sacrifice to get what you want" is upheld as a virtue, yet there are apparently conditions as to what is an acceptable sacrifice. i stay where i am presently, where i don't want to be, with the goal of building a future for my son and me that includes more than shelter and food and clothing: a future with as much peace as i can possibly wrangle. the by-product of sacrifice? i have a happy little boy. i have a precociously intelligent toddler who sometimes cries but never screams and whose "tantrums" over anything last plus or minus 20 seconds. i'm proud of him. proud of me and grateful to my parents, who are also sacrificing, for being part of why he is such a well-adjusted boy. sacrifice, then peace. 

this has struck me lately: it's hard to like up close. the more you get to know someone, the more liking them becomes effort. an unpleasant statement? true nonetheless. we think unconditional love is the thing. the ultimate. it's not. loving unconditionally is a natural inclination (for most of us). liking, however, has conditions. if it didn't, we would like everyone. we do not. we cannot. liking requires tolerance and acceptance of that to which we may not relate and that which we cannot change. these skills of interpersonal harmony aren't easily had. sometimes, they can't be had at all. bonds are broken and bridges are burned. other times, we learn to be better navigators—both of our own inner pathways and of those connecting us to others.

distance can be a great healer. limited communication can, too. even better is assessing boundaries early on, though you may not recognize your boundaries until they've been encroached upon. for me, it's utterly bewildering to decide where to place people within the many circles—concentric if they were to be drawn with a sharpie—making up the interpersonal boundaries of my life. i find myself positioning and repositioning people frequently, be it through action or thought. i would be terrible at chess. or a genius?

this morning on facebook a friend posted this, from an unknown source: be careful whom you let in, and think twice before you let go. sound advice from the internet sages.  

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