"Answers only make more questions." Dixie Chicks
What questions are you living with?
It's a good question. A question about questions. A question I question. Just kidding.
It points to our preferred way of thinking around here. A lifestyle that's built on living in inquiry.
David asked me a great question last week. It led to some tears. I felt sadness, then frustration, followed by relief & a sense of vastness & space. Eventually a new possibility unfolded.
"What's using you?"
I was lamenting over competition & how I just don't relate to competition across the board.
We were on our way to visit a little girl that, in my mind, is family. Worthy of hugs, handmade toys, & inordinate amounts of love & affection from all. A blood relative to my boys, child of parents that are wonderful & sweet. The father I used to feel very close to. The mother I haven't gotten to know very well. I've tried.
I was dealing with the fact that they don't seem to consider us family. And because I have such a love for family, that just freaks me out. I felt rejected. Miffed. It has been something that's made no sense to me from day one. And it could only mean dreadful things. About me or them, I'm not sure. I liked to blame the people in between.
Then D told me my antique brownish-lavender kimono was not his favorite item in my closet, & was I "going to be wearing that?" We were already an hour on the road. The s*** hit the fan.
"What's using you?" ~ D
I looked at his question & realized that I've been being about 4 years old. I go to this place sometimes.
Specifically, my mom was participating in a crafts fair at my Japanese preschool. There was a family from Japan selling pottery & they had a daughter my age, Nadia. I remember her being absolutely perfect, with neat clothes & a China doll haircut, with impeccable manners. We spent the best afternoon together, going from table to table, hiding behind curtains & getting little treats from the vendors. It was a perfect day.
At one point we went to a table with two young women. They picked up Nadia & gave her some candy. They looked at me unkindly & said, "people think you're so cute & special. We like Nadia."
I suppose they were referring to the fact that I was half the size of every other child. But as far as I knew, at 4 years old, I was Nadia, & they just ripped my twin from my side. Maybe Nadia had a similar experience, I don't know.
Until that first event when something "wrong" happens, there's really no separation between ourselves & the rest of the world. We're just going, dream-like. I'm not saying that's the first time & the worst time of my childhood. I'm just saying that they shocked me right out of my system. Suddenly there was "separation."
(I often wish I could protect the boys from such moments. But of course, there's just no chance. I mean, my mom was right there, selling 1/4" crocheted teddybears on safety pins.)
I sometimes find myself relating to others as though they are the people in this scenario. Particularly in groups, I'm weary of being singled out as unique for any reason. This causes problems as an artist, since I'm generally not dressed like anyone else.
I'm shy & afraid to open my mouth, because I tend to say different things than those around me, which I should, given that we're all individuals. But when I do open my mouth, all my passion comes out & I tend to speak confidently about things I think are interesting. Other people can be a threat to me, because they might single me out directly, or they might contrast from me too obviously. Leaving me open to unkindness.
When I have information that might add value, I sometimes have to force myself to speak up.
I noticed that the mother of this child reminds me of Nadia. She's quiet & well-mannered. She's very pretty & seems simple & in many ways perfect to me. But she doesn't really interest me. We're different. So I've been afraid to stand next to her. I've been thinking she's rejecting me, when really my own discomfort has been reading into everything she doesn't do. Because, after all, we're family!!
What's been using me is a need to have relationships with all kinds of people that don't really nourish me. This is an interesting phenomena when it comes to blogging, in particular. Who are we actually connecting with? There's so many wonderful blogs that are so streamlined & single-focused. The sheer clarity & astounding prolificness of some can make one feel totally inadequate. There's a lot of smaller, messier blogs that need friends & are run by good people with good ideas. But that doesn't mean I should connect with them all. I've been trying to prove to myself that there's no separation.
I cried over all the wasted time & energy I've spent trying to make people feel at ease. Hiding my confidence, happiness & blessings. And my frustration that it's not true that everyone can "click" if they just work hard enough. That a "warm feeling" cannot be forced.
The relief I feel is that we don't have to shrink ourselves to be with others. We can be as comfortable as we actually are. (If we're not trying to be best friends.)
Oh, And the kimono thing just made me feel like he didn't want me to be too unique, either.
But, I wear kimonos with my jeans, & we just have to get past that. I'm excited about the possibility of being myself. I'm excited about my new clarity ~ I don't have to be close to her! After years of trying to be close, & trying to understand her, I'm free. Of her & every other woman who I don't naturally click with. Phew! That was a lot of pressure.
We had a wonderful time. I got to see them in a whole new light, as a family & as a couple. I watched her as a mother & felt so much compassion & relatedness to her efforts. Now that I'm not trying or caring, we can have a relationship that's real. And we're not going to be putting too much effort into it.
"I'm going to love that kimono for you." ~ D