So I’m about to get a little real, raw and personal.
Someone reading this may come to the sudden realisation that this interaction i’m talking about was between me and them… but it doesn’t matter.
(I don’t even know if they read my blog)
Even though it hurt, even though it has taken our relationship down a different road in my mind, it actually helped me.
It helped me to see what I had been doing, and truly understand the impact my actions have on others, and on my children.
And if I don’t talk about these things, my own experiences, from my heart, then who am I to think that I can play a part in changing the world with the truth?
So here it comes…
The other day I was mid flow, you know those times when you are really excited about something and it just comes out in a super massive long puke of pure joy in word form?
Well, that was happening!
Being someone that society would describe as, at best – different, and at worst – extreme/weird etc… I don’t have a lot of people to chat to in the ‘real world’.
At least not about the things I am truly passionate about.
The things that make me, me.
After this experience it appears my list of ‘real life’ allies has gotten even smaller…
So there I was banging on about how relieved/ecstatic/thrilled I was to have accomplished a particular thing that day. Ironically, as I was spewing, I was also thinking to myself ‘It is so lovely that I can talk to (friend) about these things, I don’t feel so alone now…’
And then it happened. “Oh great, good for you!”
It happened so fast that I didn’t have time to react to it.
I just felt small.
And a little bit pathetic.
So I pretended it was all ok and moved on.
Now, “Oh great good for you!” is an acceptable sentence.
A nice way to end things, even.
Except it wasn’t.
Because I hadn’t finished.
It was obvious I hadn’t.
It was obvious that (friend) wanted the conversation to be over and decided the best way to do that would be to cut me off mid sentence whilst still appearing to have been nice about the whole thing.
So there I was, floating in a haze of normality, a forced smile on my face, getting on with things.
Except I wasn’t really there. I was watching the ending of the conversation play out over and over again in my head.
For about 4 days.
Vowing to myself that I wouldn’t open my heart to (friend) again, because I had been through one too many experiences like this and I don’t deserve that for feeling passionate about something that doesn’t cause harm or inconvenience to anyone else.
Then, this morning, my son came over to me with his Pokemon encyclopedia.
He was super excited telling me about how he had found a particular character in his book that he had seen in one of the movies.
‘Oh really, which one?’
I said, while trying to get the toddlers breakfast sorted, not breaking eye contact with what my hands were doing.
‘This one here, look, Xerneas. It’s got rainbow antlers and is the giver of life and…’
“Oh great, good for you! I need to get Piper’s breakfast done darling’
Immediately after saying that I thought… ‘Well… Shit.’
Ethan had wandered off back into the living room.
I stood there, looking at the plate, knife and spread I had got out in preparation for the bread that was browning in the toaster.
Piper was playing with her new clock toy and not bothered about having toast right now.
I popped the half-done toast up.
Walked into the living room.
Sat next to Ethan and said…
‘Which one was it? I didn’t see!’
A smile spread across his face and he flipped back to the correct page.
Out came the super massive long puke of pure joy in word form.
I asked questions.
He answered and elaborated.
I waited until he had finished opening up his heart to me and said he wanted to go and do something else, all of 10 minutes, and went back into the kitchen to finish breakfast for a completely unaware Piper.
It took nothing away from anyone to sit and listen to something I had no interest in.
Yet it would have given him pain to have been ignored or cut off.
I know this.
He would have learned that it was far less painful to keep his mouth shut and suppress his joy until one day he didn’t know how to feel joy anymore.
Or at least he would know to keep his heart safe from me, his mum, one of the only people he should be able to trust with it.
One of the only people who will love him unconditionally for exactly who he is.
There will be plenty of people he meets along the way who will cut him off.
Hopefully, by then, he won’t feel he has to ignore his passions and go with what everyone else thinks is worthy of conversation – to fit in, to be a part of the crowd and be miserable, bored and unfulfilled because of it.
He will have been supported in who he is, what he dreams about and what every ounce of his being is pulling him towards!
Because of that, he will be confident, alive and really bloody interesting!
Most of all, he will feel happy and content because he feels valued for who he is.
So, I urge you all, the next time anyone, especially a child, confronts you will an open heart, sharing their passion with you… whether it is ‘your thing’ or not – don’t cut them off.
Aside from the fact it is pretty darn rude, it also damages your relationship.
Because they aren’t just talking to you about Pokemon.
They aren’t even asking you to like Pokemon.
They are opening their soul to you.
They are asking you to join their joy and trusting you at their most vulnerable.
That is a huge privilege and you should feel honored.
So instead of cutting them off, thank them graciously for choosing you.
“Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”
Catherine M. Wallace