Barbara's Random Thoughts

Thursday, March 22, 2007


You know, it's weird posting on this blog now. If I post here, I feel like I'm separating out areas of my life that aren't appropriate enough or spiritual enough--or are too personal--to post on my other blog. But this post is so not going on the other blog. I even wonder about posting it here, because sometimes I wonder just how public this particular forum is. But oh well. (And besides, Arthur's been complaining I never post here anymore. Didn't you read this post, Arthur? Huh?)

I've been thinking tonight about the things that happen when I let people into my life; when I share things that mean a lot to me with people who perhaps don't know me that well. The thing is, I got a couple of emails today that really cheesed me off. (I heard Petunia use that expression on Tuesday and I feel compelled to use it here because I like it so very much.) These emails were from people who might have meant well, but who said completely the wrong thing and sent me riding on what I like to call the Merry-Go-Round of Suck. (A concept I totally stole from Mimi Smartypants.) I hate it when someone hits on things that are total insecurities of mine, and although I know these self-doubts are what Melinda calls lies from the pit of hell...I still start believing them. And I shouldn't. And in spite of the many emails and conversations I've had with people who do understand, who encourage and affirm who I am--it's the lousy comments that stick in my head.

I know sometimes people just say the wrong thing, for a variety of reasons. In these particular cases it's in large part because they just don't understand me very well. I talked about this subject a little in a post last year--how difficult it is to truly understand each other, but how important it is to strive for that anyway. Living in community as closely as I am now is still kinda weird. Although I've shared a lot with the group here, I realize that there's still so much that we don't know about each other. Closeness can't be manufactured and real friendship takes time.

During orientation here, we talked about some of the important values we have as a community, and each of us shared which of those values were most important to us; which values we would be fighting for throughout our year together. The two things I said I'd fight for were honesty and rawness (Specifically, being who we really are with each other. We're using the word "rawness" in spite of how it makes many of us think of raw meat.) It's weird to think about these values in light of what I'm feeling tonight about opening up to others. Because when I'm misunderstood like this, I'd rather just withdraw (and delete certain names from my email update list). Sharing my life with others--both here and back home--opens me up for all kinds of misunderstanding and frustration and I'd rather just not deal with that. But while withdrawing means I'm not misunderstood in a direct way, it also means I'm never really known, never really understood at all. And it runs directly counter to what I said I'd fight for this year. Hmm.

I am reminded of an extremely profound quote I once found on the back of a sugar packet: "Never explain--your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe you anyway." Yes, a sugar packet. Don't laugh. But seriously--I can't let the opinions of people who so grossly misunderstand me to have such an effect. And it shouldn't stop me from sharing my life with others, because those who do understand, well--they'll understand. And there you go.

This started as venting and went somewhere else. I think that's good.
| posted by Barbara | 10:11 PM