Tuesday, July 10, 2007

an untrendy trend

so, i'm pretty sure i'm 'off' sleep. or i need to re-master my sleeping skills. we just got a new bed, and it's pretty sweet, so it's not that. i'm out of ideas about the how and the why of it, but i am stark raving tired.

tonight, after doing a couple hours of editing for this summer contract i've scored, i initiated my usual nighttime routine: brush teeth, wash face, down three shots of rum, feed cat, drink water, feed fish, kiss cat (x 143), read library book, kiss soft forehead of my sleeping b...you know, the usual...yet for the umpteenth night in a row, the sweet unconsciousness of sleep evades me. reluctantly, i have to admit there might be a no-sleeping trend in my midst.

my mind is catapulting around, and i can hear the blood rushing through my arteries at a very lively, awake pace. bah. i tried a few of the tricks that often work: picturing slumbering babies, counting to 30 in as many languages as i can (about five), practicing choir music in my head to the rhythm of my heart...and none are working. my body is aching to rest but my mind has other plans. so, i am going to try a virtual headstand to empty out some of the stuff rattling around up there. i'm warning you, it's pretty random. you might need to be sleep-deprived yourself for it to make sense.

one of the things i've been pondering lately relates to intentionality - that is, our intentions with others, as well as our intentions with ourselves. in speaking with a number of people about this, it is interesting to realize how differently we all see intention. what is particularly mind-boggling to a control-freak such as myself is that sometimes, what we mean can be entirely irrelevant to how it is experienced by someone else.

okay so check out this conflict-resolution scene: one person feels hurt by someone else, and attempts to share how they are feeling. in response, the hurter says to the hurtee, 'that is not what i meant at all' or, even better, 'i didn't mean to.' (there are extra annoyance-points to be awarded if this is followed by, in a petulant voice, 'you know that i would never hurt you on purpose!'). now, as far as i'm concerned (especially when i'm the person who is feeling all ouchie inside), how it was intended is kinda extraneous. my response would probably be something like, 'okay, that's nice, but here's the thing: hurt is how i'm feeling right now.' (it is important to note that at this point, the four year old inside of me is also screaming, 'you're not the boss of how i get to feel!!')

i don't know if there's something iffy about my my orientation in the world...but i walk around feeling pretty positive about the human race - particularly those members with whom i associate regularly. i try to surround myself with good people - the kind who are generous and caring and kind. a heterogeneous bunch, who screw up fairly regularly (so i don't feel so alone), and who are down-to-earth and fun. the kind of people - and this is key - who don't go around hurting others on purpose. so frankly, hearing the words 'i didn't mean/intend to hurt you' from any of these people is redundant. see, the thing is, that's why they're in my life in the first place - cuz they don't walk around hurting people on purpose. so being told that again doesn't for a moment take away the lump in my throat, the wetness on my cheeks, or the ache in my heart.

there's something else, though, that kinda begs to accompany my above paragraph. i strongly believe that we - all of us - need to understand that what we put out in the world, regardless of how we intend it, is up for intepretation. we don't get to be the bosses of other people's experiences...once the words have left our mouths, once the action has been initiated, it's kind of out of our hands. cuz we are all - inherently, beautifully, epically - flawed. and we will hurt other people in our quest to exist, possibly on a daily basis. do we mean to? hopefully not. will we anyway? you betcha.

now, i never want to be that gal who criticizes something and then offers no ideas on how to approach it differently. so, other than what has already been suggested, i have thought about an appendage to the reflexive response of 'i didn't mean to hurt you', and it goes something like this: but i can see how you'd feel that way. wow. immediately, it feels like you're listening. we both know you didn't mean to, but you did. i can see how you'd feel that. hallelujah! and no apology is necessary (cuz don't get me started on apologies. that's another night, another headstand).

so for those of you like me - does this resonate with you? or are you a person whose hurt feelings dissipate upon hearing the hurter's intention? (and if so, how do you do that?!)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

ouch. got it.
j

AmandaD said...

Hurt is hurt, I find mine tends to linger more than others. Sucks, just try not to make it color your whole existence with bitterness. Perhaps you could write about the slug again, because my god that is the first thing that has held a candle to the Sedaris Me Talk Pretty tearful hysterics I remember so fondly.

kd said...

hey amanda - glad you enjoyed the slug. i have to say you're the only one who did! fortunately for us (but oh so unfortunately for you) he has vacated the premises to live in slugly paradise with his gf. our new neighbours are nearly silent (seriously, we wonder if they are dead down there sometimes) and therefore, i have no more downstairs-originating fodder for my blog. sigh.

re: hurt, i think i have become more resilient - meaning, i don't find myself bitter at all. a touch sadder, perhaps, but not bitter or angry or rageful. all good things! :)

thanks for commenting - it's been awhile!