Alternative Meanings

I find it interesting how often we can take a comment made by someone else, focus on it, and attribute all kinds of meanings to it.  It seems to be especially the case when we perceive the comment as negative or as some form of criticism; at least that’s how it is for me.  The rest of the conversation may have been wonderful but that one comment will stick in my head and will not want to leave.  The comment may not hold the meaning(s) that I attribute to it, but then again it might.  I often don’t know.  Sometimes it’s just the phrasing of a comment or the tone of voice used that affects me and not the actual words.

I’m talking about this in a general sense, not in regards to any certain individual or conversation.  I used to think like this often.  It was exhausting and emotionally painful.  It happens less frequently these days.  But, when I get a little insecure, a little anxious, my thoughts can spin and I start to panic about what was said and what it means.  Old issues I thought I’d worked through, pop up with their ugly heads. I know it is exhausting and irritating to others to be around me when I am like this.  I am absolutely miserable when it happens.  I often need someone (besides myself) to tell me to stop it, that I’m okay.   Now that I think about it, I do this with positive comments/actions as well.  I think about them and the meaning held.  This is much more pleasant.

Sometimes I am simply confused by a comment or don’t understand and I ask for clarification.  Other times I am hurt – especially if it contradicts previous comments by the person. Depending on who the person is, I can ask them what was meant just to reassure myself.  Others are hurt if I question anything they’ve said and/or take offense sometimes, taking what I’ve said and end up giving what I’ve just said a negative meaning.  I’m not criticizing or making accusations when I ask for clarification.  It’s just me trying my best to take care of myself and to have healthy positive relationships.

While some of my thoughts about the meaning of a comment may be correct, it is just a comment and I have little, if any, control over it. It may hold a meaning that I don’t like or that is hurtful to me.  It is also possible that the comment has nothing to do with me at all.  It’s always good for me to remember that it’s not always about me and other people have their own issues. If their comment did hold the meaning I originally thought, I don’t have to give that person or their comments power over me, at least I don’t want to.

The Crying Tree

In soil, rocks, layers of earth
angels watch over the crying tree.

Despite its sorrow
despite its weeping
or
maybe because of it;
the tree gives sanctuary
to those in need.

The crying tree
provides shade
for the weary.

All are welcome
to nest in its arms and
rest in its strength.

The crying tree’s
roots grow deep.
It bends and sways
as the fierce wind blows;
when lightning strikes,
when the earth shakes,
this tree does not fall.

The leaves of the crying tree
are the greenest of green
multi-colored and barren.
They change with the season.

This is the tree that weeps,
that openly cries out.

This is the tree
that provides safety.

This is who the tree is.

It's roots are buried
in layers of earth.
It's wings reach
for the sky.
This is what the tree does.

In soil, rocks, layers of earth
angels watch over the crying tree.

(c) 2017 SM Hannon

The Truth

From 2009

We are no longer together
and still you ask if “something”
is going on with me and a friend

You say,
if I only tell you the truth and
not lie by omission
(I think you’ve mixed the two of us up)
I shouldn’t be afraid of your reaction
you’ll be fine with it;
you only need the truth

But you don’t believe the truth
You never have
Truth doesn’t matter to you

Do you want me to lie?
tell you what you want to hear?
confirm your suspicions?
Any answer I give will be problematic
This is another no win situation

And, to be totally honest,
the truth is
it’s none of your business

not anymore

Navigating Unfamiliar Territory

Lately, I’ve been unsettled at times.  I’m eager for things to move forward in my life, to be with someone I love, to be working again.  It’s exciting but this wanting and waiting is uncomfortable.  It involves change – a new job, moving, taking a relationship to the next phase – it can cause some discomfort.  These are positive changes, but changes nonetheless.  Last time I had multiple changes this close together I didn’t do so well.

When I was first pursuing this relationship there was so much that was uncertain and unknown.  I would get scared but I kept reminding myself to “stop and accept what is”.  This would center me, calm me, help me feel balanced; help me take step the steps I needed to take.  I realized today that this again is what I need to do as there are still so many unknowns, so much uncertainty.  If I could just get to my goal without having to go through the process, the struggle…….that would be good….or would it?  If I were to reach my goal, as I did in forging this relationship, would I no longer feel discomfort?  I doubt it.  I would probably feel more angst if this happened.  It is something I go through during periods of change and transition.  If I were to reach my goal without the struggle of transformation would I still be transformed?  Would the results be as satisfying?  Would I still learn what I need to learn?  Would I still be challenged and grow?  Would I gain the wisdom I need to gain?  Going through the process gives me time for my brain to adjust to the unfamiliar.  It also gives me time to make sure I do not get lost, that I hold on to the person I am; the person I have worked so hard to become; that I keep my voice; that I do not play small.

I’m having “growing pains”.  I’m learning ways to tolerate the discomfort of growing – both on my own and with someone else.  This is new to me. I don’t know what the path is or where it leads but I keep walking and learning. I will navigate this unfamiliar territory.  I will go through this process of transformation.  This is what I do; this is who I am and honestly,  I don’t like the alternative.

Old Fears

I hate it when I start thinking someone has said something that they haven’t said.  Old issues and fears raise their ugly heads to the surface and I find myself responding to them instead of what is actually happening.  I’d rather not have this happen but suppose it is part of my journey to healing.  In some ways, it would be easier for me to decide for the other person what it is they feel, what it is they are saying, what it is they want.  It’s less painful to confirm my fears to myself rather than have the other person confirm them.  But, then, where does that leave me?  Where does it leave them?  I know it’s not quite fair to either of us.  My fears are based on what my reality has been in the past but my fears don’t get to decide my current or future reality.  In my mind, I know the likelihood is small that these fears are true but my heart is terrified.  I know these are my own issues I must work through.  It is nothing the other person has said or done.  I don’t really want them to know how much turmoil I’m in over something that hasn’t even happened.  It sounds crazy.  I’ve learned to work these things out on my own and so I try to do this.  Then a memory of a few things I, myself, have said before comes to my mind – ‘some wounds can’t be healed on their own….. you must risk someone seeing you for who you are….. you are not alone in your fears’.

So, after struggling with it on my own for a little too long, I take that excruciating step of telling the other person what it is I fear, what it is that hurts, what it is I’m hearing them say even though they’ve never said it.  I trust just a little bit more.  I let someone in just a little more.  And while I don’t quite understand, my fears are not confirmed.  The love has not disappeared.  I have not done anything wrong.  I have not been abandoned.  I am still loved.  I am still held.  I am still valued.  And as I recover from this storm of emotions, I rest in these arms; I rest in this love; I rest in this new knowledge I have gained.  I rest my weary and treasured heart and say thank you.

What I Look For

What I Look For

Money can come and go

Social status is tenuous and filled with pressure

Popularity means nothing to me

Careers/jobs do not define you

Good looks and perfect bodies

inevitably change

I do not look for these things

Instead….

I look at the beauty in your soul

I look at the kindness in your heart

I look at where your passions lie

I look at how you treat others

I look at the compassion  you display

I look at where you’re headed

I look at how you handle anger and hurt

I look at your character

I look at what you do when no one is around

I look at who you are

I look for what is important to me

(c) 2016 SM Hannon

The Awakening Years