Thursday, June 26, 2008
It Is ... I Am
I do not propose that it is right. I do not suggest that any other than myself agree, or (heaven forbid) join me in practice. I am not sure that I can even agree with myself. For I have been debating the topic for many years with no satisfactory resolution. It always returns to the statement that brought the question to light. The moment in which I had that “Aha!” experience. The speaker had no intention of enlightenment. She was not, in the least, interested in endowing me with any clarity of understanding. She was simply voicing a complaint. Lodging a a strong dissatisfaction. But what was revealed spawned my compulsion to apologize to my former wife, my daughter, my mother, and my siblings (all on different occasions, and in scattered settings.)
The crystallizing comment was in an exchange that went something like, “You treat me with consideration, respect, and generosity at all times and in all circumstances. Whether in public, or in our most intimate of moments.” To which I replied (in a somewhat bewildered state), “And this is what you are complaining about?” And she said, “Yes! Because you do the very same for complete strangers.”
And, for the first time in fifty years (my age at the time of this particular exchange between myself, and the last woman with whom I have had any sort of relationship), I understood the nature of what has been a point of contention between myself and the world in which I live. Everyone wants to possess an exclusive ‘franchise’ on some element or elements of my Being. And I have never held that I own my Self. I have always had the deepest core conviction that I belong to a world that I am placed in for reasons and purposes that are not my own to determine or capitalize on. Hence I have no right to grant ‘franchises’ to anyone else for what I do not own. Namely … Me.
So, this woman who faced, me with her statement of frustrated displeasure, was telling me that she could not find satisfaction in, nor did she feel any degree of ‘special-ness’ in, my consideration of her pleasure, her comfort, her preference, ahead of my own. For she saw me grant the same to complete strangers who had offered none of the considerations that she had presented to me. So, she naturally surmised, what value was there in her offerings when all that she received in return was just what a passing stranger was granted (with obvious physical intimacies excluded.) She was not (in ‘a word’) “special,” in her estimation.
And this is what my siblings had been trying to express for all of those years. They resented my being the “Mister Popular” in school … the wonderful One who they each had to endure comparisons to as they followed me through all of the same schools … whilst (in their eyes … which is fair and reasonable … for this is how we all perceive our personal worlds) I thought myself “too good” for them when I returned home each day. They had no more understanding than I did, that I was a severe introvert who laboured under the impediment of chronic chemical depression. Neither they nor I knew that my withdrawal into my shell of playing the Blues on my cornet … alone and isolated … was my inner Self trying to find relief from exhaustion and weariness after a day of giving away all of Me to a world that was starved for someone to listen and care.
My family, then, and into my future relationships with spouse and children, just saw what was evident on the surface. What was evidenced in that statement by that one Person who summarized it all in her declaration that she did not feel special. That she received what everyone else received of Me. Hence, when I experienced my ‘enlightenment,’ I went to them all, and apologized for what they struggled with due to my lack of previous awareness and understanding.
I do not write of these things for any purpose other than to see it all in print … and garner some better acceptance of Me for my Self. I ask for no suggestion, nor validation. For none is necessary. I is who I is. And at sixty-two years of habituating Me … I have not even the most remote inclination to Be other than who I am. But it does make it easier to be that “Me” when I can see this written down. When I can acknowledge what has churned around inside for all of these decades and scores of years. It makes it clearer, to my understanding, why I am without a “Significant Other” in my life. For, when I consider all that I have presented here, it is clear that it would take quite a rare and unusual Individual to enjoy and rest comfortably in her “special-ness” without jealousies and insecurities born of my generosity of Self with the world. And, quite honestly, I have no expectation of ever discovering anyone secure enough in her Self, and intuitively insightful enough to know her ’franchise’ to that part of Me that is not available to my world. And I am, for the most part, comfortable with that.
So, there you go. There you have a totally Self-centered and Self-focused bit of insight into who this John-Michael creature is. I could have just filed it away for my own reflection … but you now know that why I can’t be comfortable with that. For, once again, I am compelled, by Life, to put it out there for whomever Life directs to it … for their benefit or use. That is, as it has always been, why I am. This is what I inhale and exhale for. To make available to You (if you are that One for whom this bit of introspection is for) some encouragement … some understanding … some small glimmer of insight, that will let You know that Life is listening to your pleas for sustenance and support. That is, as it always has been in my personal journey, why I am on this lovely little orb. To, indeed, Be your faithful Friend, and constantly willing Servant. For YOU are, indeed, special … to Life.
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