YOU SEEM DIFFERENT

I’ve gotten a break from the eye doctor for the past two weeks. As anxious as I am to get this resolved, I needed a break from the pain and pressure of deciding which of two non-perfect options is better.

The view from where I stand may not be flawless, but it’s the way I’ve always viewed the world and it may or may not be possible to change it right now. Or ever. For the past week I’ve gone back to my non-astigmatism-correcting lenses, and I have to say….It feels good.

Life has thrown some hard truths at and around me lately, and I don’t need one more factor to get between my heart and head as I sift the fact from the fiction.

Some things are meant to change and some are not. Forcing things to change is—at best—uncomfortable and futile. It is best to yield, if possible, to the present.

Although best known for her landscapes and flower pictures, I like this one. Check out Jennifer Ross at http://fineanddandeliondesigns.weebly.com/

Easier said than done. Even the most Zen among us slip out of the present. {right?} It’s just so tempting to think about the future. It’s dangerous to try to control the uncontrollable, but we go there anyway. We can’t control or change the past, but it doesn’t stop us from going there as well. We wonder “what might have been.” We wonder “what if?” We wonder ourselves into boxes and corners.

My favorite part of looking at the past is that we can gain appreciation for where we’re going by looking at where we’ve been. I got a reminder of this last week from a high school friend.

I have not seen P. in nineteen years. We went to college an hour from each other, but didn’t keep in touch. It was easy to lose touch back then without the convenience of cell phones, email, and Facebook. We weren’t super close friends—he was a year younger, so there was that division—but were far more than acquaintances. Almost twenty years later we’re the same age. Amazing how time does that.

P. lives in Sydney now, but lived in Japan for the fourteen years before that.  Nobody I was in touch with had heard much from him after high school, and we were all excited when he surfaced on Facebook, albeit with a different last name. Facebook can be mundane, absurd, voyeuristic, and creepy, but it’s pretty awesome to see a classmate you knew as a boy out living life on the edge, being creative, taking chances.

I followed him like a hawk after the earthquake crushed Japan last year. Was he okay? Where did he go? Oh my; how scary.  I witnessed the outpouring from people across the globe—myself included—saying, “You can hang your hat with me.” It’s heartbreakingly sweet, that global love.

Thanks to the Facebook chat feature you can communicate with anyone anywhere anytime. I was having a moment a few weeks ago, then all of a sudden P. popped onto my computer screen, “How you doin?”

Was it a coincidence? Yes and No. I think sometimes we can feel a friend’s aching heart from thousands of miles away. We may not know what or why, but they surface into our consciousness and we just want to say hello. Technology jams up and complicates our lives in ways we never could have predicted, but the other side of the coin is that it’s easier than ever to reach out.

P. and I had chatted on Facebook before, but it had been awhile. How do you answer the simplest questions when the answers are complicated?

We got past the intro and into the meat of work, art, life, and simultaneously getting older and younger. He told me I look happy in my profile picture, and I confessed that I was not GDTRFB the day I snapped that photo of myself driving. The sun in my face was disguising my state of mind. I could have said, “thanks!” but I wasn’t in a mincing words kind of mood. He corrected and said I looked like a mannequin—which I took to mean expressionless—and I thought that was more accurate. We left it at that.

We slipped easily into a conversation about the meaning of life. I went out on a limb and said some things that I cringed to be saying to someone whose facial expression I could not determine. I paused, breath held, while I waited for his response.

He told me I seem smarter than I did in high school.

It was a compliment, yet it stung because he was right. Smart was not something I projected about myself in high school, though I can’t for the life of me figure out why. I was terrified to have an opinion that someone might disagree with or challenge, so I said very little. I said so little that a high school history teacher referred to me as “the scenery.”

P. and I wrapped up our conversation, and said we’d chat soon. A week later I woke up to a Valentine’s Day message from him wishing me a good day with this photo attached. Roses in the shape of a heart. It really is the little things that make the world go round.

I’m still figuring out how to say more, and am caught between who I am and how I want to project myself to the world. It’s vicelike in there, which you probably know because odds are you’ve been there too. I heard something recently:

We are three people: who we really are, who we like others to see & who we want to be. Disagreements between them will hold back our true self.

SORRY I’M NOT WHO YOU THOUGHT I WAS.

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