Perception V. Reality

CB019074Hello.  I have not blogged for the past few days for several reasons.  One, I am fucking sick and tired of political bullshit, and it’s one of my bailiwicks.  Two, I’ve been busy with work and shit, damn it.  Three, I’m mulling something over in my mind that I don’t really want to blog about, but I do.  But I don’t.  But I do.

In the end, I will blog about it because that’s what I do.  However, for the first time, I am going to be circumspect about what I say, so be prepared for the vaguest post ever.  With that disclaimer out of the way, here I go.

I have been relatively happy for the past few months for several reasons.  It’s a new feeling for me, and I had a hard time getting used to it.  I don’t trust happiness, you see, because it has a bad habit of coming back to bite me in the ass.  In addition, happiness eventually ends in tears.  In the past, I would decide that whatever possibility of happiness I might be offered was far outweighed by the surety of pain that was to follow.  For the most part, I stayed in my safe little world, shielding myself from any potential pain–which meant shielding myself from any potential pleasure as well.

The beginning of the change was when I finally got up my courage to blog.  I had so much shit running through my mind that I had to let it out somehow.  Words have always been my friends, my allies, my comfort, my solace, and my home.  I decided I might as well use them to my advantage, and so, this blog was born.  It took me many months to get it up and running (including a complete rehaul of the whole damn thing), but I finally reached a point where I felt ready to share my blog with the world–or at least a really tiny sliver of it.  I let a few friends know that my blog was up.  Then, a few more.  Then, I posted a link on the home page of my FB profile.   After a few months of that, I took a deep breath and started posting my URL on various political blogs on which I commented.

To my amazement, people actually read my blog and commented on what I’d posted.  I began to see that what I had to say was worthwhile–that is, people were interested in my ramblings.  It surprised the hell out of me because I spent most of my life desperately trying to keep my opinions to myself.  I thought no one would give a shit or that my opinions were too out there to be of any importance.  Never did I dream that I would have a small, fierce cadre of readers who were passionate about my blog.  It was an eye opener, to be sure, and it really boosted my confidence in, well, me.

I started to realize that I could voice my opinions and be supported.  Other people actually agreed with me, and those who didn’t were, for the most part, civil in tone when they disagreed.  It was refreshing, and quite frankly, a bit heady for me to realize the impact of my words.

Because of those words, I found myself in a situation that I never dreamed I would encounter.  It was outside the realm of my imagination, and as you all know, I have a pretty fertile imagination.  In this situation, I marveled at how easy it felt to me, even though I had never traveled down that path before.  I kept waiting for the other shoe to fall because in my hard-won wisdom, the other shoe invariably falls.  I accepted that it had to happen, so even as I enjoyed my new experience, I kept one eye open for the pushback.

It came, in a matter of fashion, with the realization that what I had perceived to be true, while mostly true and as true as it could possibly be at the time, was not, in fact, reality.  It was no one’s fault, except, most likely, my own.  There were no lies told, no pretense as to what was actually happening.  In fact, everything was in synch for much of the journey.  I rarely find anything easy because it’s in my nature to do things the hard way, but in this case, the road was smooth.  Sure, there were potential pitfalls, but I was clear-eyed as I chose to travel down this particular road.  I was honest as I could be along the way, and I felt that I had a good grasp on what was happening.

There was one thing I had forgotten, though.  You see, things don’t stay the same.  A situation rarely remains static, and change is inevitable.  So, while the premise of my recent journey was sound at the time when I embarked on it, it has shifted now.  Or rather, my emotions have shifted now.  The end of the journey has not shifted.  The beginning of it has not shifted.  Even the course itself has not shifted.  No, what has shifted is me–along with my damn emotions.

When the other shoe dropped, I realized that I had been viewing the journey through a slightly skewed lens.  Rather, I had filled in the lines with a slightly rose-colored crayon.  My perception of my role in the journey had been inflated in my mind.  I had given myself more importance than had been warranted, and it saddened me to realize that I had made this error.  It had been a miscalculation on my part, and it wasn’t easy for me to accept that I had made that mistake.

I grieved.  I cried.  I wondered how I could be so stupid.  I knew better–I really did.  I usually look at the negative side of things, so it’s rare that when I do make a mistake of this nature, it’s because I am being optimistic.  I hurt.  I cried some more.  Then, I let it go.  I looked at the journey with a clear mind once again, and I saw what really lay ahead of me instead of what I wanted the future to look like.  I brushed away the fairy dust so I could assess what was really going on and how I was going to continue on with my journey because I wasn’t stopping or turning around–that much I knew.  The journey was still one I wanted to take; I just had to change my mindset as to how I would continue on.

I reconfirmed to myself that this is still a worthwhile journey.  It still makes me exceedingly happy, though it is tinged with sadness.  I adjusted my perceptions so that they fit with the reality, and that mitigates much of the soreness in my heart.  See, it’s not how important I am or am not in this journey because I am an integral part of it.  It’s just that I will be sad when the journey comes to an end.   I accept that there will be pain at the end of the road, even as the journey has given me an abundant amount of joy, pleasure, and, yes, sheer happiness along the way.

This is the way of life.  This is the way it has to be.  I accept it, and I am grateful to be on this journey for it’s exactly where I need (and want) to be right now.  In the end, I know I will look back with great fondness on this journey and remember it as one of the best experiences of my life.

14 Responses to Perception V. Reality

  1. I wish you the best of luck on your journey, Minna. I have no doubt you’ll find the strength to continue.

  2. It’s odd that you wrote about this… You know I love me some Sully, and I found the stuff below at his site today & opened it up to ponder it, as the snippet at the Dish intrigued me (spoke to me).

    Life is a crazy ride — happiness, sorrow, often all in the same day. Some situations call for rose-colored glasses, say boring family dinners or other situations where you have to deal with annoying people who you can’t change but will have to deal with regardless. Relationships, whether friends or lovers, are the very last place for those glasses. I took mine off and stomped on them after my ex-husband told me we would never be friends because that’s not what married people do, then I left him that weekend when he went off to go snowboarding.

    I guess that one of the most important aspects of this sort of situation (at least to me) is this: do you feel like you can & will make a good decision? and when you ask friends, and get feedback that you don’t agree with so think you know better than all of them and you’re just going to do it your way thank you very much because you know exactly what you’re doing — well, that’s probably a good indication that you are making a bad decision.

    That’s my 2 cents.

    Anyway, the stuff I mentioned up top:

    Wife tells me that when baby Isaiah went for his two year-old check-up this week, the doctor announced that he was to receive two shots.

    “Two shots!” Isaiah shouted with glee. “Two shots!” Either he thought he was going to play guns with his brothers, or he believed shots is a new kind of candy.

    You can imagine his disappointment.

    I think many of the glittery and mysterious things of the world are like that, too. We think on them, we obsess over them, and then when we finally get them good and hard, we find out that they just plain hurt. And usually it takes more than a Sesame Street Band-Aid to set things to rights.

    At the other end of that taut line of human existence, we ignore the things that bring peace and quiet joy, because we have become conditioned to yearn for glitter. So we pine after what will hurt us, and wallow in dissatisfaction amongst the blessings. Or maybe that’s just me. But if it’s you too, at least sometimes, then what say we make a pact to stop chasing trinkets, and just . . . listen. To the wind, to the sound of far-off traffic, to the beating of our own hearts.

  3. A quotation for the journey:

    “It’s often said that life is strange, oh yes,
    But compared to what?”
    — Steve Forbert


  4. I think once again, we are walking the same road.
    Just remember, by processing how you did, you are learning, and with that comes growth.
    I’m glad you are still walking the road and taking the journey. I’ll meet you for a cocktail at the end of the journey.

  5. Gregory, thank you so much for your unending support. I really appreciate it.

    SMR, my best friend’s mom said something to her that stuck with me. It was at a time of deep personal turmoil for my best friend, and she was wondering what to do. Her mom said to her, “You will be fine if you take road A, and you will be fine if you take road B.” In other words, it’s not a matter of wrong or right decisions, but of applying oneself diligently to whatever path one chooses.

    I do not regret for a minute taking this particular road; I just know that dealing with the end of the road will be difficult.

    As far as friends’ advice, I listen to what everyone says; I mull it over; I digest everything said to me; then I decide what is best for me. That is what we all do. What is right for one friend may not be right for another friend, let alone me. I don’t think it is so black and white as to there is a definitive right and a definitive wrong. There is a whole lotta gray in between the two extremes.

    As for Sully, well, you know I do not have much admiration for him, so I will leave it at that.

    As always, thank you for your opinion as it usually makes me have to examine mine more closely.

    Alex, heh. that is so true. I have to keep that in mind.

    whabs, I agree. Our trajectories seem to parallel each other. We don’t have to wait until the end of journey to have that cocktail, either. I’ll be holding your hand along the way.

  6. I guess the bigger question, then, is whether or not one has made up one’s mind before asking for input…

    I know that life is all about grey areas. There are things that are black & white for me at this point in my life that were grey areas years ago, and may become grey again. As we grow & change our ideas about ourselves, right & wrong, black & white, etc. all change too.

    I have these cool note cards that have a drawing of a girl walking down a path, she’s taking the one signposted “your life” on the left, on the right is one that is signposted “no longer an option.”

    There are things in life that are, definitively, no longer an option, but some options wax & wane, sometimes an option, sometimes not.

    Yes, we will live if we do A or B (or C, D…Z), but sometimes we have to ask is it worth it. And sometimes we have to weight the instant gratification vs. the long-term effects, particularly as it applies to our emotional & mental well-being. We also have to ask whether or not we’re hurting anyone else. I was reading Savage Love the other day and the “campfire rule” was discussed. That’s something that needs to be mulled over as well.

    But then all of that mulling & weighing of options, cost vs benefits, blah blah blah, well it all takes away from spontaneity, and there is certainly a lot to be said for indulging in that at times. And sometimes life is just for living on a day to day basis, taking happiness where we can. Every once in a while decisions made on that basis turn out to wonderful in the short and long term, and they become some of our fondest memories… usually, though, that is only the case when we’ve jumped with both feet holding the hand of someone trustworthy.

    I’ve had a long & varied history with love, and the choices that I made these days are most often dull and taking into consideration others before myself. I would not make the same choices if I were single without children. I suspect taht now & then I’d find a way to rationalize naughty behaviour with unsuitable men…

  7. This wanderer of many roads
    Carries not a pack
    But travels with the memories
    Of other journeys on her back …


  8. SMR, I was musing in this post more than asking for opinions. If I actually ask for input, specifically, then I am open to changing my mind. I might hate having to change my mind, but I usually will if the suggestions make sense to me.

    I think, to me, at this point at my life, everything is an option (within obvious limits like nothing criminal, and even that is a bit flexible as I do things like speed as I drive). I am not rationalizing. I am doing what I think is right for me. It may not be right for you or for ninety percent of other people, and I am OK with that. My reality is not going to match up with other people’s realities, nor, vice-versa. I am just realistic enough to realize that I will have to deal with the consequences of my actions, no matter what I choose to do. That is on me and me alone.

  9. “I suspect taht now & then I’d find a way to rationalize naughty behaviour with unsuitable men…”

    I think what’s being overlooked here is that not only do judgemental statements such as this not really help the situation, but they also exhibit a clear bias that may not hold for each person. The simple fact is that in most things, “right” and “wrong” really are subjective, and influenced by circumstantial aspects that vary widely. I’ve made choices in my life that would be absolutely, positively, 100%, no discussion-needed, wrong for some people in my life. That puts us on differing sides of the fence, yes. But it doesn’t make either of us necessarily right, and it sure as hell doesn’t give either of us the superiority to look down on each other.

    Offering insight and playing a little “devil’s advocate” to inspire thought and conversational processing is productive and helpful when someone is struggling with a decision, or the ramifications of that decision. Automatically assuming the moral high ground as “right” really isn’t.

  10. You always have it, Minna.

    But just in case it came off that way to anyone who doesn’t know me, this isn’t a matter of me putting on saddle shoes and a sweater and grabbing my pompoms every time you make a move. If you were about to do something I truly felt was dangerous, or potentially harmful to yourself, I would tell you in a heartbeat. But as in most things, there are also acceptable levels of risk/harm, and you’d still have to make the final decision as to what’s right for you.

    Example — last October, I was going through some serious emotional turmoil. I needed an escape from the world, and I took it in the form of a photo excursion to the mountains. I took a “sick” day from work, told no one where I was going, and went hiking to shoot some waterfalls and spectacular fall foliage in the NC mountains.

    Now, the dangerous of that were numerous to me. First, no one knew where I was. Second, I can’t walk by myself without a cane and a knee brace, so hiking, especially near waterfalls/slippery rocks wasn’t exactly the wisest of decisions. But the mental peace I got from that day was worth the risk, worth having to ice my knee later, worth the fight with S about me vanishing to the mountains alone. Sometimes it’s all about your perspective. As long as you keep yours intact, you’ll make the right choices.

  11. Kel, wait, you have saddle shoes? That’s a distracting thought.

    So, you were hiking the Appalachian Trail as it were? I gotta tell you, if I had known you last October, I probably would have given you shit about disappearing like that because as you said, that’s what friends do.

    As for perspective, yeah. The best I can do is be as clear-eyed as possible.

  12. Alas, I no longer own saddle shoes, but you are talking to a recovering Catholic School girl, ya know! I used to! However, I was never a cheerleader. I just did not have the interest. =)

    I sure as hell wish I’d been hiking the Appalachian Trail. I would much, much rather have been in bed with a gorgeous South American woman. Mmm, mmm, MMM. =) But yeah, I took shit, and I deserved it. But in retrospect? I’d’ve done it again, and I know it.