Saturday, October 02, 2010

Rum-Raisin Ice Cream

It was in May of 2008 when I last shared, this bit of perspective, with those who honor me with their attention. Since then, I am blessed with new Friends, and Readers, who have not read it. So, with apologies to those for whom this is a 'repeat,' Here is something that I still have strong feelings about.

I do not like Rum-Raisin Ice-cream.

There, I’ve said it.

There is nothing more to say on the matter (yet you and I know that there will, most assuredly, be more said.)

You see, Dear Friend, I do not begrudge anyone else their preference for Rum-Raisin Ice-cream. I hold no grudge against that flavor. There resides no bitterness in my soul toward the combination of elements that constitute that particular blend. I would never counsel anyone to disallow themselves the opportunity to sample that product nor would I undertake to undermine that dessert’s place in the universe of food products.

It is, quite simply, a fact that my own, personal, individual, particularly unique taste buds do not enjoy Rum-Raisin Ice-cream. And that is perfectly all right for there are myriad other choices offering themselves for my delight.

Yet... when my Friend of many years informed me, some time ago, that she is hesitant to allow herself to openly and publicly be my friend because of her children’s (all grown adults) reservations about me, I was disappointed. My big old twenty stone (sounds so much better than the equivalent in pounds) of feelings got themselves hurt. Why? Because ... (here is where I identify with Rum-Raisin Ice Cream) ... I am who I am. She doesn’t understand why I can’t mitigate myself to accommodate the sensitivities of her children. “Aren’t you denying them the opportunity to know you by insisting on Being you?” she asked. “Why can’t you soften up your presentation of yourself?” “They think that you are being ‘phony’ because you come on with such gusto.”

But who will they know if I present another image to them? Will the presentation of a ‘moderated’ me be an honest portrayal? Yet my friend persisted in the idea that we must ‘respect’ other people’s ‘space’ by adopting behavior that accommodates their sensitivities.

I lived the first four decades of my life in the daily practice of ‘accommodation.’ I was never relaxed. Every encounter was a ‘performance’ for the benefit and to gain the acceptance of, or create comfort for, my ‘Audience.’ This was as true with an Audience of one, as it was with a large gathering in some public meeting place. Consequently, no one (including myself) knew Me. I had no intimate relationships. There existed no place where I could go to, firstly, know who I was for my own knowledge and, secondly, to be that Person in comfort. The accepted social norm was that this was (and is) proper. I now reject that norm (for myself.) I also embrace the consequences resulting from that rejection.

One of those consequences is the reality that I will be (and am) sometimes rejected as a Person. That too is absolutely OK. For my Dear Reader, Rum-Raisin Ice-cream is not for everyone. But it is there for the individuals who have a preference for it and find enjoyment in indulging in its particular delights. And the Friendships that I now enjoy, I enjoy without reservation, in all of the intimate, passionate, and exuberant freedom, that is to be found, in Being the genuine ME.

(Don't you just love all of Life's available Flavours!?)

(NOTE: If You have been reading my stuff since February of last year, first,thank you for your kindness! Secondly, Yes! you have, indeed seen this piece before (March 2007.) But I like it! And I like to "run it up the flag pole" around this time each year (ice cream season is upon us!) So, if nothing else, maybe it will inspire a visit to your favorite ice cream parlor. [smile])

IMAGE Through the gracious courtesy of Ian Britton,


Betsy said...

What a very insightful post. Well, all of your posts are insightful, John-Michael! What a boring world it would be if we were all alike. I agree...our differences are wonderful and make each of us unique, special people. If we can teach our children this, then they will be better people.

Handsome new profile picture! :) xo

John-Michael said...

Recognizing, accepting, and honoring our individualities (maybe not a real word ... but certainly a reality) [smile] does make life in this world of diversities a bunch more fun. I thank you, Betsy my Dear Friend, for your endorsement.

Lovingly ...
(and an additional big "Thank You!!" for your kind mention of the photo)

nitebyrd said...

John~Michael, being true to yourself and being who and what you are is the only way you should be. If a "friend" wants you to change, are they really a friend?

I'd rather have a little bit of Ben & Jerrys Cherry Garcia than a whole bucket of vanilla! ;)

(Rum Raisin - YUCK!)

John-Michael said...

With an upbringing that was ensconced in the teaching that all things 'natural' and/or "Self-related' are inherently evil ... I do understand the setting that my Friend lives her life in. My own sister does all that she can to isolate her friends and children from me, and any possibility that I may have an influence on them ... because of my choice to accept and respect beliefs other than her evangelical/fundamentalist protestant beliefs.

Hers is the environment of my earliest and middle years of life. The very same as that of my Friend, whose children are active participants in a faith system that practices a form of excommunication of anyone (including family) who does not actively and completely subscribe to their teachings. (Hence, my Friends concerns about her children "withdrawing fellowship" (isn't that a "cute" euphemism?!) from her if she maintained the intimate relationship that she and I were enjoying.

Once again, my Dear NiteByrd, my life was visited by those sectarian voices and forces that have, over centuries of history, promoted wars, conflicts, and divisions in our world. So you can see, yet again, why I am so vocal against such mean-spirited influences.

I love you, Sweet One, and am so glad that we have each other in our lives. [huge smile]

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