“Jimmy’s got some new moves.”

Woman on a bike

Did you ever notice how people determine your value based on exceedingly flimsy data?  For example, we draw on memories of how others behave and subconsciously assign these behavioral expectations to strangers merely because something about them triggers a memory.  It could be the color of their skin, the way they dress, or even the scent they wear.  Our minds decide the person fits in a predetermined category almost instantly.

It’s a human trait to conclude based on very little information.  It’s the reason science is a thing.  Science deliberately bases conclusions only on evidence.  Without evidence, it’s just a theory subject to being disproved at any time.  These fields of study exist because it’s counter to the way humans typically think.  Training and education are customarily required to obtain the ability to think scientifically.

Have you noticed how people are reluctant to alter their perception of others, even when counter-evidence presents itself?  How we’re usually surprised when someone exhibits behaviors that don’t fit with the category we assigned them?  And how we often throw Occam’s razor out the window and instead, come up with outlandish reasons why a person is defying our initial impression so we can continue to define our initial theory as fact? 😶

in my pockets

I’ve wondered why we’re like this, and come up with a few theories to explain it.  I postulate it’s because our lives are short and we’re generally intellectually lazy.  Further, I suspect we’re intellectually lazy because our lives are short.  We don’t have time to analyze every thought and determine whether it’s evidence-based or assumption.  (Granted, as a fellow human, I’m unwilling to carry the unflattering label without the caveat.) 😂

Despite this reasonable theory of why we behave this way, it deeply saddens me.  I’ve stated several times I’m most fascinated by people.  I believe we’re each a universe of information, experiences, thoughts, etc.  I enjoy observing and listening to people and trying on their unique perspective.  Through trial and error, I’m learning to be more respectful in how I do this.  (Such as being more conscious of how long I can look at someone before it’s staring.)

I regret we have so little time, and therefore, don’t usually recognize how everyone we encounter is incredible in their unique way.  We all hurt when rejected, so many of us build walls out of self-preservation.  We present a side of ourselves based on past treatment and rejections we’ve experienced.  We perpetually tweak our presentation to yield the least amount of pain.  Some of us are less able to alter our presentation and settle for avoidance and isolation, instead.

It’s a complex operation, and I freely admit I’m more prone to avoidance and isolation.  I lack the necessary sophistication and am far less apt at reading body language than most.  On top of that, I’m sensitive to the energy of others, which makes it far more challenging.  I can easily sense rejection but suck at narrowing down the cause.  It’s frustrating, (she said while claiming the Understatement of the Year award.)

Kramer inaction figure

It saddens me because we so quickly reject those who aren’t instantly comprehensible.  Those who are so different, we’d have to create a new category on the fly to process them into our existing catalog.  It’s so much easier to label them as strange and disengage.  I have a strong theory that these encounters with unusual strangers are opportunities to grow and expand ourselves.  But only if we’re willing to spend a bit of time connecting with them, and opening ourselves to differences.

I truly believe, based on my own experiences, that ignoring the initial inclination to reject someone because they’re different is a shortcut to overall growth as a person.  Sure, it may take a moment to wrap your mind around something new, but I think it’s an investment in your character.  You stretch your mind to encompass something new, and in doing so, expand yourself.  And finally, my point.  I challenge everyone who reads this to test my theory in 2019.  To consciously and deliberately connect with people you encounter who are different than those you’ve bonded with in the past, and see if it leads to personal growth.  💜✌🏽💪🏽

“They said I put too much chlorine in the pool.”

bloom

Time has been flying by of late.  The results of rebuilding myself with small changes are continuing to reveal astonishing outcomes.  This butterfly effect is fascinating, and I’m surprisingly fearless in its midst.  Letting go of my need to feel in control whenever possible is likely involved.  I didn’t anticipate this skill as part of growing, but I’m delighted by it.  (Bonus!) 🙃

I believe it involves a level of trust in myself to be able to cope with whatever comes my way.  Experience and reflection are far more valuable than I ever imagined.  I spent time lamenting the challenges, unfairness, trauma, and despair I’ve endured without recognizing the gifts that grew from the devastated ground.  I failed to focus on how painful periods of fire-and-fallow eventually lead to regeneration.

This newfound understanding is a powerful anti-stress tool.  My transformation from extremely high-strung to calm and tranquil is incredible.  It feels as if I stumbled on it accidentally, then noticed in hindsight.  My world moves more slowly now.  I’m no longer stuck on a permanent three-second delay.  I’m not continually racing to catch up to the present, but instead, exist here.  It’s wonderful here.  I can look around and breathe.

solitude

Initially, I credited this phenomenon as part of aging.  But after more consideration, I’ve concluded it’s about growth.  I recall being upset when I realized growth and aging don’t necessarily correlate.  Based on my observations, they’re not even related.  I’m perpetually attracted to those whose energy reflect tranquillity.  (It’s likely because I’m highly sensitive to that of others.)

I know my proclivity for solitude is born of rejecting the exhaustion that results from proximity to chaotic energy.  I used to view it as a weakness, but now I believe it’s nutrition for my soul.  I’m confident it’s afforded me the ability to grow.  I notice this feature in the lives of those who capture my interest and attention, as well.  It also clarifies the diversity of individuals to which I’m attracted.  I even appreciate the thought required to connect the dots.  🙃

For the first time in my life, I’m thankful I was interracially adopted, and raised in racial isolation.  I can finally see the ways it’s had a positive effect on who I’ve become, rather than merely regret the overwhelming sorrow and pain it also entailed.  While I’m still amazed I survived to adulthood, I acknowledge the fire-and-fallow created many opportunities to regenerate and grow into who I’ve become.  Today, I love the beautiful garden that evolved as a consequence.

“Hey, how we doing on time?”

stop sign

Time’s Up

Walking down the stairs, arms up for balance

A song in my head, a smile on my face

Turning corners with practiced grace

Nearing the second-floor landing,

I hear a ruckus

Could you describe the ruckus, sir?

Internal laughter plays, with a touch of curiosity

Three people near the elevator, talking

A young child refusing to relinquish a kiss

A mother is insisting, kiss the man on the cheek.

An old man coaxing the child for unearned affection

Pause

The old man looks my way with a hint of surprise

Quickly covered with hate

You don’t belong here, his evil eyes say

Caught you, old man

Old hollow man

Pinging so hard on my KKK-dar

Staring me down in search of my fear

Smiling, I shake my head

Caught you, old man

Old hollow man

Stealing freedom from a young child

Her mother, your accomplice

The child said no

I heard

The hollow old man with one foot in the grave

Taking innocence while stinking of hate

Soon, time is going to eat you up

Shit you out as dust

Nothing to me, hollow old man

I only share energy with the child you robbed

I visualize a protective aura of light

Surrounding her to restore her stolen power

Erasing the stink of the hollow old man

Just as I reach the ground floor

What?  No mail today?

Oh, that’s right

The time came for another hollow old man

Laughing, I turn around and climb the stairs


   		   	

“Why shouldn’t we be able to do that once in a while if we want to?”

tea break

I’m having a good week.  There was a near-meltdown moment that initially devastated, but quickly developed into reaffirming communication and connection with people significant to me.  After taking some time to process the experience, I recognized positive aspects worthy of celebration.  I went from lamenting the challenges of being autistic in a neurotypical world, to strategizing new ways of coping with them in the future, in mere hours.

The speed and clarity of resolve astonished me.  I realize I’ve leveled up in the game of life.  I’ve been floating on a cloud of joy ever since.  The process of rebuilding and learning myself still feels new and intriguing.  I almost fell into a pit of sorrow over letting go of things I once held so close.  Examining the root of these values, and acknowledging the fact they were never mine, but only acquired by rote, helped me bypass the trap.  Yay.  🙃

The changes I’ve made are small, but the results immense.  I drink herbal teas, now.  In the past, I rejected all hot beverages, without bothering to determine why.  Now I know it’s because they require me to be present in my body while partaking to avoid injury.  (It’s funny to me in hindsight.) Asking myself why turned out to be an excellent method of understanding myself in many ways.  Naturally, it led to delving deeper with more questions.

unreality

Instead of feeling regret about being different, and trying to force me to change and pretend to be like others in pursuit of acceptance by strangers, I’m using my energy to know myself.  I’m no longer accepting the values and beliefs of others as my own.  If they don’t originate within my soul, they aren’t mine.  Pretending they were was slowly erasing the essence of me.  I have no use for acceptance based on unreality.

I’d rather be alone in the dark. – Sheryl Crow

I began watching another series on Netflix titled, Black Mirror.  It’s not a show I can binge watch, (she said while giggling.)  The first episode is excruciating.  It’s also brilliant.  It’s a 44-minute test to determine if you’re eligible to continue watching.  It’s a mental tattoo.  I’m pleased it exists as I love things that lead to new paths of thought and discussion.  It also provokes me to question and learn myself.

It’s dark and foggy this week, and I struggle to sleep when it’s so humid.  Last night, I lay in bed listening to Amy Lee (Evanescence.)  I thought about how her music has accompanied my life through many hardships and growing pains.  I think I finally grok why certain musicians reach me so profoundly.  It’s about energy.  My knowledge and vocabulary are presently limited on this topic, as I’m relying solely on intuition.  I plan to explore it further, though.

I used to get so offended when people would question my choices in music (often based on things as superficial as race.)  I think it’s because I didn’t know why some appeal to me far more than others.  I’m thrilled to understand.  Amy Lee, Stevie Nicks, ABBA, Lorde, Sheryl Crow, Bach, Mozart, etc.  These musicians create music I can climb inside and bask in energy that soothes my soul.  That’s why.  🙃😂  I’m off to band practice.  💜✌🏽

“Is he still mad at you for crashing his Thanksgiving party?”

love listening

I’m having a productive day.  My weekly chores are nearly complete, pending a laundry load in the dryer.  I finished reading, Becoming, by Michelle Obama recently.  Reading it was like spending time getting to know her.  She was candid, personable, and unapologetically human.  I love her and am grateful to know her on her terms.  It’s an ideal manner of connection, in my belief.  She’s instilled a deep sense of hope within me.

I’m presently devoted to four weekly podcasts.  (Gettin’ Grown, The Friend Zone, The Read, and Jade and XD.)   The people who create them are part of a tightknit group of friends, which adds to my listening pleasure.  I was listening to Jade and X.D.’s latest episode (with my headphones) while working a jigsaw puzzle last night.  At one point, I burst out laughing, startling Amelia Bedelia, Talulah, and M.  I noticed their reaction in my peripheral vision and turned to see their alarm.

Amelia Bedelia quickly exited the room, fleeing to her safe place atop her climbing tower.  Talulah barked once as if scolding me for making her jump.  M, who was playing a video game, played it off and asked me what was so funny.  All I could do was laugh even harder.  I paused the podcast and got up to attend to Amelia Bedelia, but couldn’t stop giggling.  I’m typically fairly silent, but it occurred to me these favorite podcasts are practically the only exception.  (I usually listen when alone.)

jumping for joy

While the podcasts cover different topics, they’re all often hilarious.  M decided he’s going to play them while he runs.  Jade recommended the show, The Good Place, which is currently on Netflix.  I binged two seasons of it last weekend, and highly recommend it.  I rarely watch anything other than nature documentaries, but I love this show.  It’s hysterically funny but also provokes a lot of thought.  Kristen Bell shines brightly in the lead role.  I can’t wait to view season 3.

I started a new novel, titled, 1Q84, by Haruki Murakami.  The story enthralls me so much; I don’t want to do anything but continue reading.  It’s my first book by this author, but won’t be my last.  It includes topics that usually trigger me, but it’s not the case here.  (I’ll ponder why when I finish as this intrigues me.)  In the back of my mind, I’m quietly and excitedly anticipating the upcoming Fleetwood Mac concert.  Each time I think of it, I smile.

Rhiannon still plays in my mind like a lullaby before I go to sleep.  I have three versions in my heart, now:  the original release, the more recent adaptation, and the live video footage from the ’70s — only the original functions as a lullaby.  The live versions are far edgier and provoke mental images of Stevie Nicks in her element.  It still amazes me how this song has been part of the soundtrack of my life since I was a small child, growing in significance as I mature.

I hope those who celebrate had delicious holiday meals.  I’m off to continue reading.  ✌🏽💜