It has been a few weeks since I made the change of moving back home. It’s been quite difficult, but as usual I never realize it until I’m knee deep in the discomfort.
I brought with me a great deal of preconceived notions on what people were like, what people would think, and what the challenges would be. In time, as I’ve tried to do away with these ideas, I have come to realize that many of the people that surround me have the same approach towards me. Frustrating, huh? Sometimes you just wish you could set them aside and talk it out, but those kinds of moments are rare; and in reality, those kinds of relationships are extraordinary.
We can’t always expect to have the luxury of pulling people aside and working out our differences. There isn’t always a natural click and there isn’t always the willingness to hear the other person out. I’ve been working on my friction with people; the subtle friction in conversation that gets under your skin and changes the way you speak back and what you say. You know what I’m taking about, right? The things that people say that hurt without them understanding what they’ve done. I’ve recently discovered my ability to attack back without the awareness of what I am doing.
I’ve been acting tough and colder than I usually do. Before, I often felt soft and understanding, sappy even. But that’s not how I feel here. I’m always on guard here, evaluating my answers, and attempting to be accepted. It’s frustrating when you don’t even realize you are doing it, until after. Until you are in bed, drowning in observations with your insides cringing. Sh*t, should I send a text?
I realize now that it was important for me to come back to this place for this reason. It was essential to my growth as an individual, as a writer, as a woman to make peace with this side of me that has been benched for so long. It also made me realize that there has to be a place for all of us that makes us feel this uncomfortable. A place where our assumptions and fears guide the conversation, instead of our better selves. A place where when you get back into the car, the bus, or whatever takes you back home to safety—you realize, “Hey, that wasn’t entirely me.” And though it’s not the worse news ever, you still can’t help but think about it for a few hours.
When I came home from an event this evening, it’s all I could think about—how hard I’ve been trying to not be vulnerable and not be judged… and how despite my efforts, it hasn’t been working. So I did what few do, I sat down and began to write a long confession of everything I’m scared of being judged for; I only got through a few sentences when my stomach began to turn. There is a great deal of release that comes in understanding what our hot buttons are and what triggers them. They change constantly which is why it’s important to follow up. In writing some of mine down, I came to realize that some of the friction that I have been having was rooting from a basic reality—some of the people that I’ve been having trouble with have an opposite point of view. Whatever I’m scared of being accused of being, they must be feeling that same to the opposite end. And so begins this endless (& silent) war between two egos…
Take some time to recall a friction in a conversation or interaction. What was it stemming from? Where was it going before you injected some hostility into it? How can you let go of it for next time? Yes, everyone does it and everyone will keep doing it, but don’t you think it’s important to know why it’s there and why it comes out like that?
I’ve been thinking a lot about this and my only conclusion is that I cannot control people’s attitudes and assumptions towards me. I cannot do this. It’d be an endless whirlwind of bs and I’d never moved passed it, there will always be someone new at the table. However, I can control my reaction to this kind of interaction. We don’t always have to believe the way that we are being perceived and we don’t always have to change that person’s mind either. We just have to change the way we feel about people’s perceptions of us. In the end, the beauty of it is that they aren’t right, but then again, neither are you.
Figure out what is going on on your end. Figure it out and work on it. You might teach someone something and even if you don’t, you’re gonna feel a little lighter. For what it’s worth, it’s quite uncomfortable to face… so I’m sure it leads to somewhere good.
Les mando un besote,