Do you ever keep something to yourself and only say it out loud once someone else utters the same words? Miscarriage. Divorce. Death. Depression. Guilt. Jealousy. Anger. Fantasies. Dreams. Hopes. Failures. Stressors. I am quite certain the more positive words (or life events) roll off our tongues with ease. It’s the dark and painful ones that perhaps reside somewhere less obvious—maybe hidden, waiting for a chance just to escape and be known.
I find that something so powerful is the ability to relate with one another…to find common ground, grab a hold of it, and embrace the commonality throughout our journeys. Perhaps it’s a shared loss, similar upbringings, a common annoyance that is the mutual thorn in your side. Not to say that we should all live Stepford Wives’ & Husbands’ Lives in this Utopian World that are so similar it’s creepy and artificial…but to relate as humans with human-like problems or joys is to feel real.
I have never really had a problem being real with someone. In fact, I have to rein it in sometimes when I find myself asking potentially intrusive questions. I would like to think that I am not socially inept, but rather I really want to know the person I am connecting with. Staying on the surface bores me, and I usually tend to want to go deeper. My husband would probably attest that in my quest for common ground, I sometimes dig into the ground too deep or perhaps I find a little too late the sign that says, “Call before you dig.”
A few weeks ago, I should have called before I dug. I asked a woman about her dating life after knowing her for approximately 30 minutes. Although she answered the question naturally and without hesitation, I immediately checked myself. Maybe she hates men, recently had a bad date, is recently divorced and grieving, or many more scenarios I did not think of in that 5 seconds it took for me to ask it. And no, I wasn’t even drinking. She easily shared a response, but I apologized for being too forth-right and a bit nosy. She told me not to worry, and ten minutes later, she asked, “Since you asked a personal question, I’ll ask you one…Would you like to have more kids?”
She did not know that I had experienced a miscarriage just three months prior. How would she? So I respond that we really would like more and that I actually just experienced a miscarriage a few months ago. I could tell she felt embarrassed that she asked the question, but I shared with her that I was not offended and that I was doing well. She was digging deeper to get to know me, much like I had done ten minutes before. I appreciated that more than she knew. Not that I let that unfortunate experience define me as a woman, nor did she let her divorce or dating mishaps define hers—but it was a loss for each of us that we both allowed ourselves to express, regardless if we knew each other for 30 minutes or 30 months. It was part of our stories.
I think it is important to be real. I do understand not everybody wears their hearts of their sleeves like me, nor are they as sappy, right Sis? Although my sister would probably be the first to admit that she just skims my blogs that are too mushy, she is also the first to say,
Ok, my sister. I’m discovering my “thing” must be to dig…to know…to relate…to connect…to love, to feel deeply…and while you can only tolerate a little teaspoon of sap, I will continue to bathe in it. 🙂