What does it mean that you are present in a place. When someone says a joke, do you laugh externally regardless of whether internal you laughs. Where are your boundaries and do you share them and if you do then how do you share them. Are you comfortable stating your thoughts and emotions even when others may not care about or respect your thoughts or emotions. What do you do after you state yourself.
I bought a travel beverage container earlier this year. I almost didn't purchase it at the grocery store because of its cost (too much!) and its brand name (too make-fun-of-able!) As I left for work the next morning, I held it in my left hand up above my head and said aloud, "I've arrived." Then I laughed out loud at the absurdity, broad smile across my face.
I bought a vacuum cleaner with my tax return this year. Almost didn't purchase it because of the price (way too much!) and the utility of it (why should I purchase a machine to care for someone else's carpet?! I'll just pay someone else to clean it later!) Then I put it together and stood with it assembled at my side. I smiled and felt like I'd won a prize.
These material items, while meaningless in the sense that material items degrade over time and fade by definition, also symbolize a lot, and in that sense they are meaningful. They also provide functional uses that help me feel more comfortable in my physical existence. It feels nice to have my own coffee cup. I like the feeling of clean carpet under my feet.
This year, I bought a coffee cup and a vacuum cleaner, and then a short time later I started a new job with all men in a new-to-me part of the information technology field. It's taking a lot of deep breaths for me to feel confident in this new environment.
All of my team members are at least nine years older than I am. Some of them are likely 30 years older. They are mostly respectful and considerate. They tend to make fun of each other a lot, and I notice that most of them express insecurity in different forms. A couple of them have said things that prefaced me feeling uncomfortable or weird. I'm considering whether and how to discuss this with two of them.
Earlier this week, I conversed with someone who expressed impatience with my questions. Let's call this man Sight. I was doing something as he and I talked in-person. My brain focused on both our conversation and the activity with which my body remained occupied. I asked him a few questions in a row to clarify that I accurately heard his words. As I asked my final question, his demeanor abruptly shifted.
"You're repeating yourself!" he impatiently spat.
For a moment, I felt offended at his delivery of his message and uncertain about how to proceed in the conversation.
In the past, Sight's display of impatience would have silenced me until he changed the topic. A few years ago, his method of delivery would have caused me to second-guess myself to the extent that I likely would have quit speaking and allowed him to control the conversation from that point.
This time, I shifted my gaze in a horizontal direction and took a long, slow breath.
Instead of staying silent in the face of his hostility, I patiently stated, "I'm trying to understand what you're saying."
Sight's impatience with what he interpreted as my repetition prefaced a slight restriction in my chest. My breath almost stopped. I have a sensitive connection with frustration and aggression as a control mechanism. I've learned that an important part of tense discussions is to remind myself to breathe.
To my surprise, Sight answered my question. We continued conversation about other topics. I later emailed him with my concerns and prefaced it with a version of: I realize you're an adult, and these are the concerns I have. Now you can choose your own actions and I know I've shared my concerns with you. Win win.
Well hello there.