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When Something is Something Else


The other week, I smashed my phone on a tile floor. The screen cracked but didn’t shatter. It still works, so I’m dealing with it. But the strange thing is this: after that happened, communication with a handful of people started to take a nosedive. It was as if we were speaking two completely different languages, underwater, with our eyes closed. For a while, I ignored it, tried to work around it, and then it hit me: the cracked cell phone felt like a symbol for all silent, misconstrued, or misplaced words. It wasn’t a comforting fact, because I am a talker. I ask questions. I want honesty. Sometimes, conversations are hard, but I’d rather have them than not.

But you can imagine my displeasure, last night, when I finally admitted that I’d developed an eye infection. This has happened before. I know the signs. It’s been bothering me for a week, but it was nothing more than slightly pink. I blamed allergies. I blamed the heat. I blamed the fact that my animals shed more than should be possible — and fur ALWAYS ends up in my eye. I wanted it to be something else, so I refused to believe that I’d gotten an eye infection. The joke, of course, is on me — since I’m now wearing my glasses and waiting (not-so-patiently) to make an appointment.

If you’re keeping up, first I couldn’t speak well or hear others — and now I’m blind. Well, blindish. I’m 2/3 of the see, speak, and hear no evil monkeys. I don’t think this is a good thing, but this morning, I’m thinking about what these things mean. Let’s pretend that it’s not just a cracked phone or an irritating red splotch in my eye. Let’s say that it’s representative of two major problems: clarity in communication and seeing things as they are.

Lately, it seems like life is full of difficult moments and conversations. Things that I wish were one way, but they are not. Don’t get me wrong — I love the truth. Even if it’s not pleasant, I need it. I can’t stand lies or not knowing. But at the end of the day, what I want and need is sometimes at odds with what is. All efforts to reconcile that fall short of my own two hands. Situations, lately, have forced me to be patient and mindful, to ask the tough questions, and to listen to what’s being said.

The truth is that I’m not as brave as people think. There are days where I just want to curl up and be hugged, forget everything and escape for a little while. Right now, I am wanting six impossible things before breakfast. I want things that either I can’t ask for or I have no right to expect. But I want them anyway.

I’m not sure where that leaves me. I’m not sure what happens next. But I know that I’m stronger than I look, and stronger than I feel on days like this. I’m looking for a spark, a sign, a promise. Something beyond a cracked phone and blurry eye.

  1. June 22, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Assuming you can read this, sorry to hear about your eyes/ears/phone!

    • June 24, 2012 at 8:16 am

      You are sweet, Jim. Thank you! Eye’s better. 🙂

  2. Jessica
    June 22, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Like you, I have found myself involved in a good number of difficult conversations lately. And like you, I value honesty and all I’m really looking to get out of these conversations is the truth, which is precisely what everyone seems dead set on withholding. I’m frustrated by this, because if I can’t change the way things are going, I want to at least understand them, because the way things are right now, nothing makes sense. I don’t understand why the people around me are doing and saying and feeling the things that they are. And so I’m sitting here stuck, wanting to change things and not knowing how.

    • June 24, 2012 at 8:19 am

      Jessica, Even if I don’t like the answer I get, I’d rather understand something than feel like I’m left in the dark. I’d rather know, even if it’s hard. You deserve honesty. Anything less is a disservice to all parties. Hugggggs.

  3. June 22, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Okay, first **hugs** Lots of them. Second, **coffee & chocolate** because the first works for you and the second works for me and that’s what we’d do if we were able to hang out in person.

    Next, let’s talk about the things you can’t ask for and have no right to expect? SAYS WHO??

    Ali, you’re human. Like everyone else, you have good days, bad days, and a whole lot of meh days in between. After my mother died, I spent a few days just lying in bed doing nothing because that’s what I needed. And then I spent days being soul-piercing, Hulk-level angry –at her, at God, at my sister — and feeling terribly guilty for having NO RIGHT to be angry. It took me a while – weeks — hell, maybe I’m STILL not there yet, but I gave up the guilt. I AM angry and I don’t really care who thinks that’s terrible and not right and a sin and whatever other label they want to put on it. I feel what I feel and have stopped trying to feel what people say I should feel.

    Finally, you ARE brave. People mistakenly think bravery means fearless and I don’t think that’s true. I think brave people are just as scared and terrorized as everyone else is, but simply face their fears instead of hiding/running from them… (or pretending their sisters are just misunderstood instead of card-carrying bullies. *puts down the mirror*)

    It’s okay to need hugs. To need to curl into a ball. Accepting that is just as brave as battling full steam ahead into the melee.

    Anytime you need hugs, call me.

    • June 24, 2012 at 8:21 am

      Patty, hugs back, chica! Thank you for everything you said. I know I’m human. Sometimes, i just wish I handled things a little differently. I know that bravery doesn’t mean fearless; I guess I always feel like I *could* be doing better. Which might be silly, because worrying about it changes nothing. As for your sister, if YOU need to talk, love — please don’t hesitate. You are totally correct in that assessment, and that’s not an easy thing to deal with.

  4. Michael Gillan Maxwell
    June 22, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Thanks for this reflective post. Interesting how the universe gets our attention in strange and funny ways. Keep the faith Baby!

    • June 24, 2012 at 8:22 am

      Michael, thank you! And yes, it is interesting how things catch our attention like that. 🙂 Thank you for reading and for the lovely comment!

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