understanding is enlightened intelligence.
just recently, i had an epiphany. like a bolt of lightning, it shot through me, completely out of nowhere. this new, enlightened intelligence, stopped me, dead in my tracks. it woke me, from my deep-deep slumber, opened my eyes, my ears, my mind, and my heart. it demanded my immediate attention.
they say that,”ignorance, is bliss,” and in a way, it really is. ignorance is a lack of knowledge, that being said, it is also a lack of awareness…in my case, self-awareness. i always thought that, i was very self-aware. i was as happy, as a clam, without ever fully understanding myself, and i never had a clue, that i didn’t.
to review just a bit, the year, two-thousand, fifteen, was especially challenging for me. my mom died, in may. shortly thereafter, my partner of nine, and a half years, broke up with me over the phone. i developed a debilitating, hearing disturbance, was taking steroids for it, and became suicidal. i had a very short, online flirtation, with a paranoid schizophrenic person, who ended things abruptly. i had the stillwater county sheriffs, show up at my door, with their guns drawn. those were the challenges that i faced.
from spring, until my birthday, in july, every topic, of just about every conversation, that i had, with anyone, centered around me, and my relationship drama. i would talk to anyone, that would listen. i would ask them, the same questions, over, and over, and over again. i asked things, like,”do you think that, sarah, still loves me? do you think that i still have a chance? do you think that, she misses me, at all?” if sarah called me, or texted me, i was happy and upbeat…if she didn’t, it was doom, and gloom, the end of the world.
before thanksgiving, my dad announced, that he was taking, brenda, for coffee. i initially encouraged him, and was very happy, to see him happy. it was heartwarming, and cute, to see him floating around on, cloud nine. i really enjoyed the fact, that he came to me, for ideas about, what he should wear. he was what, i knew to be my, “normal” father. he still participated, in family things, and he loved to carve.
suddenly, about six weeks later, i began seeing, hearing, watching, and experiencing, something very familiar. i didn’t catch on to it, in the beginning, but then, in an instant, i became enlightened. i saw somethings that i didn’t like at all, in my dad. awful characteristics, and annoying traits, like being needy, helpless, manipulative, oblivious of others, selfish, over-thinking, and over-analyzing. but mainly, i saw me. in the blink of an eye, i started to become aware of myself…my characteristics, and my traits. it was a first step, towards having a better understanding, of who i was.
these things started out very innocuously. my dad wanting, my sister to set him up, with a facebook account, instead of trying to do it himself. asking me to pick out his outfits, without even attempting to show me, what he was thinking of. he asked, my sister, to make him a gourmet, pasta salad, to take with him, to church dinner-to impress, brenda…without offering to buy the ingredients, help my sister, or even to watch, so that he could make it, the next time.
what i began to notice, and identify with, were things that, i myself had done, and had used, as “crutches,” in the past. when i was using these behaviors, i “fooled” my mind into thinking, that i couldn’t do something, or do it, as well as, someone else could. what i came to realize, was that this set of behaviors, were called by many different names; cop-out, manipulation, laziness, selfishness, enabled, and entitled. none of these traits, or characteristics, were anything that i wanted to be doing, to anyone, ever again. in the process of this identification, i realized that, i was wasting other peoples’ time, and resources, as well as, robbing myself of an opportunity, to do something for me, feel satisfied, and accomplished, all on my own.
as things began to progress with, my dad and brenda, i noticed that he wasn’t exclusively, floating on cloud nine anyone. he would have up days, where he was so up that, if i didn’t know better, i would have sworn that he was high. and then, he would experience very down days, which would bring on paranoia, over-thinking, over-analyzing, and never-ending strings, of questions. we finally figured out, what was going on with my, usually unemotional, detached father…and, it directly correlated to, brenda. on days that she called, texted, or got together with him, he was as high, as a kite. on days that she didn’t contact him at all, his world was over, and he was drowning in despair. on these down days, he would ask questions, of anyone, who would listen. he asked things like, “do you think that she’s out with some other man? do you think that she gives every man, hugs like that? do you think that she’ll find someone that she likes, better than me? should i just go over there? should i call, or text her? look, she sent me an upside down smiley…what does that mean? do you think that she’ll change? how can i tell if she’s on facebook?” those questions, made all of us want to avoid contact, and interaction with him. none of us could even try to be empathetic toward him, because all it would do, is make us angry, and frustrated with him.
oh my gosh…i saw those behaviors, within myself, right away. i didn’t need to think about, or reflect on them…they were all me…and, who knows, maybe he picked them up from, observing and listening to me, this past summer, regarding, sarah. i already knew that my moods, correlated directly, to my interaction, or lack of interaction with, sarah. after seeing the same behavior in my dad, i decided to try to stop allowing things that really shouldn’t matter so much to me, rule my life, and have the power to dictate my moods. i guess that in a way, i always knew that i was a, “handful.” i knew that i put a lot of information, into the universe everytime, that i opened my mouth, picked up a pen, or typed. for some reason, i always thought that, that made me, me…that made me endearing…that made me quirky…but, now that i have seen, and heard it, firsthand…i have come to suspect, that all that made me was irritating, annoying, frustrating, confusing, and an utter pain in the ass. i don’t want to drive people that i care about, out of my life, or alienate anyone from wanting to talk to me. so, i have been trying to be more direct, and to the point, in my communication. i am trying not to over-think, or over-analyze, my conversations with others…and, that is extremely hard for me, because i was one of those annoying kids, that always asked, “why?”
now, at this point, of his relationship, my dad is seriously considering moving in with, or marrying, brenda. mind you now, brenda, is the first woman that my dad has dated, after being married to my mom for fifty-one years. after talking to him at length, his true feelings emerged. he told me that he didn’t want to wait, date others, and eventually find, “the one.” he said that he needed someone,”right now.” he told me that he didn’t want to be alone (even though he lives with lots of people, at this time).
i felt rather foolish, when i heard that my dad was willing to settle, so that he wouldn’t have to be alone. that he physically needed someone, in his presence, to feel okay with himself. i felt foolish, because i had felt like that before, and, i had settled like that before, more than once…and, all it brought me was grief, discomfort, and animosity. it’s funny, because after my relationship with, sarah, ended…i fully jumped into an online flirtation, with both feet, even after the other person, disclosed something that most people, would have walked away from. sarah had someone, the love of her life, and i wanted that too. i wanted someone in my life, so that it didn’t have to take a good hard look at myself…examine what needed to be changed, and work on changing it. after that flirtation, was when i really began exploring myself. i thought at length about, what i wanted in a potential partner, and what i didn’t want. i thought about what i needed to do, to make myself ready to wait, for whom, and what i really wanted. and, i made a huge decision for myself. as a person, who in the past immediately, clung desperately to whomever was in arms reach, because that’s what i thought that i needed…someone to distract me from doing the hard work, of understanding myself…i instead, decided to cultivate the willpower and self control, to avoid latching on to what i thought that i needed…and instead, work on myself…take photos, write, explore…but RUSH NOTHING…sex could wait…saying those three little words, in that order could wait…and, if i could wait on those two things, that i have never been able to holdout on, or wait for…then, i COULD wait….not for the one that i needed…but, for the one that i wanted…my hearts’ desire…the person that i clicked with…the person that made me laugh, and smile…and, the person that changed my life.
dads’ relationship with, brenda, has given me a living example that i can, and have been using, to learn more about myself, to see what i need to change, and how to change it, and most of all, to inspire me to never quit what i have begun…the quest to possess enlightened intelligence…understanding.