“You get me”
“You really listen”
“Wow you really figured me out quick”‘
This is what many people have said that I have had a relationship with. I think something I have always done well is listen. But not in the conventional way I suppose. I mean, until recently when I realized why love was not enough, another podcast of mine, I could hardly accept empathy let alone give it myself. I was never the one in class who read the chapters prepared for that day, I just listened to the conversations in class and the chapters wrote themselves.
I’ve analyzed my own life and situations so much that I write and think in a stream of consciousness so I am often stuck with disappointment at the responses to my spew(although I love me some small talk). I think to myself, well yes of course it can be “X Y or Z” I already thought of those prior to spewing, but what do you think about it beyond the generic alphabet? I want to hear the thought beyond the words, the thought I just saw in behind your eyes as you had your own truth, but suppressed it for the acceptable answer.
The thing is, I had trauma in my childhood. So when I got home everyday my brain was already tuned to listen and observe intensely to gauge the current status of how everyone was feeling that day. Now, as an adult where that trauma is removed from the equation, my brain doesn’t stop looking deeply at micro expressions and trying to read the room. This is a biproduct of childhood trauma regardless of the work and self healing I have put into it. So when I look at someone, I see a lot more than perhaps a normal glance. I do not claim to be able to “read people”, I just pay attention to many factors, body language, inflections, eye movement, micro expressions, all in the blink of an eye, subconsciously. Believe me, though, I am going to be wrong in my analysis at times, and I definitely will not say everything right, nor “read you” correctly every time, sometimes even projecting my own insecurities and thoughts into the situation. This is why it is so important for someone to tell me what is on their mind as a kindness not a chore, which I speak about more in the podcast: Give My Brain a Breather.
I listen to people through their eyes, their inflections, the curvature of the outer portions of their lips. Often we say things one way, but for whatever defensive/self conscious reason, they mean something completely different. I have been burned by words so many times, that I adapted to read way past the words and into the subconscious. No I am not a mind reader and again I do not get it right all the time. Sometimes I think too far beyond the surface and often what I am getting is actually just surface. I suppose the most interesting and engaging moments of interaction with others is when the surface leads to the actuality.
I am also inquisitive by nature, so it is only natural for me to look for the “meaning”.
This is what separates the friendships from the relationships for me. When people can give me the surface as is and then I can put my running mind at ease knowing they have already gone over the internal. When those two mix it is like a perfectly plated meal of flavors, textures, and presentation to me. But when the surface is used to hide reality, it’s when there is going to be a failure down the line. More importantly is being able to see when the surface is just that, then comparing to your needs, wants, likes, dislikes, and knowing when to call it quits or when to pursue further.
I guess that is why I dislike the games you can play in a relationship and I have so much to share so quickly. That is my defense to weed out those who play them. The more I share, the faster I can determine if the person on the other end will be overwhelmed or isn’t as committed to the idea of what we are doing. I am not one to sit through a long book without analyzing line by line for the purpose of absorbing those lines, notating, highlighting, and memorizing the things that I think resonate. I very rarely get to the end without wanting to talk about every page and chapter. In school I would get my “reading” done by listening to the teacher. Reading into their voice, their tone, and figuring out the outcome they were holding back. I was able to form opinions and debate them firmly. I valued picking one side of the fence, placing a home, digging the foundation for a pool, planning out where the plots for me and my family would rest after this life. But knowing damn straight, the government might come and build a rail through the middle. Understanding that even though I dug in deep that there is always another perspective that could change it all.
And that perspective gives me the strength to break down the fence.
The California vs New York approach has always been a good example of this. “What would you like for dinner?” I would say. And in response, “STOP YELLING AT ME”. But where I was raised the simple question usually had a strong opinionated response. I value a good debate, because to me it is “conversation”.
I like when people know what they want and are open to wanting more.
I don’t want to constantly place down new roots, but I understand the value in it when there is a good reason. Moving around a lot with divorced parents has made me value “home” more than I probably should, and often locks me to the sense of comfort in places that might not actually be comfortable for my mind.
So I put a lot of weight in those moments where I can sit and “listen”. A picture on Facebook tells very little, but an album tells a lot. You can understand personality, things people are self conscious about, self awareness, self perception, family relationships, how people spend their time, compatability. So much that is can freak people out if you point it out. But it is just me listening. People want to be mysterious and special, but we are all the same pile of crap. We just mask it in different ways.
What I love is when, no matter what your shit smells like, you are yourself, but more than being yourself, when YOU and ME have commonalities that make communication fluent. It is hard to be the person who “listens” because it often comes with the stigma of “you read too much into things” or you end up disappointed by what you hear(see). I will say that it is something I value very much though, because I know when I do find that someone who can put in the same amount of “instant analysis” of multiple scenarios in one sentence, that there is going to be a lot to talk about and those talks will have a lot of life for both of us.
Conversation and communication is hard as it is, and having the ability to connect in a way that puts your eyes and words in line is magically and shouldn’t be underrated.
I have always said, I prefer to be alone and lonely, then together and frustrated. It isn’t fair to anyone, especially yourself. It locks two people, who have limited time here on this earth, into a purgatory of sorts.
I love to share my stream of consciousness with others because while I may not be saying the most original things, I can often show people they are not alone, they can be happy, and they deserve to put a lot more effort into themselves.
A Job, Money, Love. There needs to be a better balance in the 3 things we are told are what we want in life and grow up yearning for. And we need to understand that a relationship, that isn’t going to work, can be a beautiful friendship, if we just open our eyes and “listen” before it twists our eyes to only see the shit we dragged one another through to finally understand one another. The interactions we have are the true meaning of life. The jobs and the money only allow for us to have more.