Friday, February 29, 2008

Twists and Turns

I'm kinda all over the place this time. Hold on tight.

The Not-So-Little One told me that I couldn't vote for Hillary Clinton. Fascinated with the prospect that she has learned something about politics in the 5th grade, I asked her why. She replied, "Because I want to be the first woman president. That means Hillary can't win 'cuz she'll get in my way." Makes perfect sense to me. And... this kid has been a negotiator since she was born. Politics is a natural fit.
My daughters have iguanas. They are interesting little creatures, vegetarians (hence no feeding live things), and since they neither smell nor leave hair, Mikel is fine with them. Every morning one of us girls makes a lizard salad. One of my dogs waits for a handout every morning. So far we have discovered that he loves radishes, squash, zucchini, and romaine lettuce. Wish my children ate as healthy as my dog.
My other dog is just plain weird. She sneaks up on you while you are on the computer and licks your toes. It tickles like mad, feels completely gross, and is just... plain weird. Last night I spotted her walking around the living room looking for unsuspecting feet. We were all wearing socks. You could see the disappointment on her face when she plopped down in the middle of the room. I believe I heard her sigh.
Heard in the car this morning: "My dad is scared of clowns and midgets." I didn't even ask.
I experienced some duress this week, and I discovered something interesting about myself. When things were not going my way, when I wasn't getting what I wanted, when I had slammed my head up against the wall for the last time, I took refuge in (of all things) my appearance. I got up in the morning, put on my best suit (the one that shows off my best assets), fixed my hair the best way I knew how, took time to apply my makeup just so, and accessorized. It was exactly like preparing for battle. When all else fails, show 'em that you know you are still worth something. It may seem juvenile, but it works a heck of a lot better than my old ways, i.e. sleeping, eating, drawing the drapes and covers tight.
Biologists tell us that when faced with a threat, living beings will either fight or take flight. I contend that there is another option. I think that when you are too little to fight off your attacker or too slow to outrun him, you seek help. Help to endure the pain, help to survive, help to overcome. Help from a source bigger than you and your assailant. Call it what you wish. I call it faith.
I hear my clients and my friends talk about love a lot. The recurring theme is that they are not receiving love from a significant other. I hear this a lot - "This isn't love. I don't know what (she/he) thinks it is, but it isn't love."

I imagine that it is true that some people are not capable of feeling love. I also think that some people feel love and believe they are showing it, although the recipient doesn't recognize it as such. I think that men who beat their wives do love them, that parents who hit their kids do love them. I certainly don't think they are showing love in an acceptable way, absolutely not, but I think they love them the best way they know how.

Maybe this is what I'm trying to say - emotions may "happen" to us in an automatic way, but expressing them is a learned behavior. My counseling mentor told me once that people need to teach others how they want to be loved. They need to make it clear to others what has to happen in order for them to know they are being loved.

Sometimes we can learn to express love in the ways others desire it, sometimes we can't. Sometimes we can teach others how we want to be loved, sometimes we can't. It is in the "can't" moments that we may have to learn to say "goodbye."

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