BE PRECISE IN WITH YOUR WORDS
I am a proud pappa to 3 gorgeous shorties. As they mature into this world, I see so many of my own character traits beginning to manifest in them, and with the advantage of hindsight, I am sometimes able to guide them past some of the mistakes I have made. One of the things I am trying to show them is that they should articulate the things they feel uneasy about.
The things we perceive in our surroundings are not seen for what they consist of, as much as for the functionality they impart to us.
We see floors to walk on, objects to use, and vehicles to move around with.
We see tools to use and we see obstacles.
They are either handy or they are dangerous.
We see the world as something to navigate through.
We don’t see the world across time, but rather in the here and now.
This is an essential part of survival or we would become overwhelmed. — but is this enough, this over-simplification of our surroundings and how objects exist in relationship to one another?
When things are going according to plan, then there is no utility in looking any further. We’re “sorted”
It’s only when things break down, when your car no longer starts, that the hidden complexity of the world beneath the veneer unfolds in uncertain ways, manifesting in anxiety and uncertainty.
Suddenly our incompetence is revealed and that’s a scary place. Monsters and demons lurk in the murky unknown, you know…
This simplification for the sake of functionality is not only reserved for objects and things but serves us in our interpersonal relationships too. (friend or foe) The way we perceive people can be like throwing a blanket over someone. They become safe and predictable when we’re able to place them into our printer’s tray alongside the other “not so dangerous” — but done carelessly, this can be a form of wilful blindness.
What of the husband who has been “working late”. It irks her, but the holiday is looming and soon she’ll be sitting on a beach, drinking Margherita’s with him, so, in an effort to preserve the status quo, the roles or meanings that have been assigned to a particular piece of ”furniture” in the living room of our lives, gets a blanket is thrown over it.
Then, one day she too is working late and she notices her husband sitting in a cafe with a woman, behaving in a manner unbefitting to the comfy lounge chair she had thought him to be… Suddenly and inextricably the blanket is pulled back from her world, to reveal a complexity of uncertainties…
What if she’d spoken up about his working late when it first began to irk her? — She may have stumbled upon a truth she would not have liked, and it may have hurt like the blazes, but in hindsight, she’d have preferred this over the numbing doubt which now resides in her heart…
There’s a story about Johnny and a dragon. Johnny points the dragon out to his mom. It’s a friendly dragon, about the size of a house cat. Mom tells Johnny that dragons don’t exist, and pretty soon, the dragon begins to grow, feeding off all the crumbs that are swept under the carpet. The more she ignores Johnny’s pleas, the bigger the dragon seems to grow. It’s only when the dragon is so large that she has to enter the house through the window that she actually acknowledges the creature. Then, suddenly, having named it, the thing begins to shrink. The more the dragon is acknowledged, the smaller it gets, until pretty soon, she and Johnny are able to talk it smaller.
Ignore your dragons at your peril. We step over them, and hope that they will disappear. — but what of the things that could, if left unattended, come back to bite us one day, like a snake in the grass, or a dragon that has grown too large to slay? Is it not in articulating that a problem exists, that we can morph the issue from something mostly intangible to a point where it can at least be defined?!
The world is so much more than our primitive minds can take in. In any second of any day, things can go one of a million ways, and if left unattended, this is exactly what they will do. How can you even begin to fix a problem if you don’t recognize it for what it is?
Write it down. Go on.
Write one thing down that has been irking you.
What’s that one piece of furniture in your mental lounge, whose blanket is covering up a whole lot of grief?
Now articulate 3 things you can do to fix that.
It sounds too simplistic, but understand that by articulating it, you’ve moved it from being an ominous abstract — to giving it a name and substance, which you can now look at, poke and drive a sword through.
Words become things. Point your words at the scary and inarticulable vagueries that make up the shadows in the back of your mind. Pretty soon you’ll discern shapes and things. — and when you do, you can swat them like the troublesome little shits they are.