adj: attending to or alert for sound
n: the act of hearing attentively
we've all said the following... "why won't you just LISTEN to me!?"
now, i'm not going to sit here and pretend that i am the world's greatest listener. i know that i am not. it's one of my weaknesses actually. i do actively engage in conversations and when my friends need an ear... i have two. when it comes to long stories though or lectures in a classroom i tend to zone out. the speaker will say something to trigger my brain and off i go to planet kallay. strangely enough, sometimes the subject of the speaker and the subject of my thinking are completely unrelated. recently, this is becoming kind of an issue for me. my neural transmitters are in 6th gear flyin around out of control. the only way that i can describe this is to compare it to water in a hot pan. someone will say a word and it will trigger the jazz hands effect of water on a hot pan. if you've never seen it... basically the water hits the pan and instantly steams up, breaks into a million other drops and fans out everywhere, only to disappear. it's a way to test if your pan is hot enough. it's also sort of like dropping mercury on a hard surface.
the problem here is trying to corral these thoughts, droplets, mercury balls. which is closely akin to say... herding ants?? for one thing... who knows where they're going? they're not like bees where they travel in a specific pattern, day in and day out. ants are kind of insane. they just meander. so you can imagine the confusion for me when my thoughts are doing the same thing. someone will be speaking to me and something like "you know when..." or "the other day..." will pop out of their mouth and zoom zoom, my brain is off to the races. i'll think about this, that, and the other thing and without realizing or meaning to... i've tuned the person out. so then i have to corral all of these thoughts and try to focus on my speaker and then sure enough... another trigger phrase or word will arrive and i'm back to herding ants. i feel like such a shitty person when i do this but i can't control it lately.
i'm so lost in my own life and i am a little bit of a control freak when it comes to me. i'm also a problem solver. so when things start to go awry... my immediate reaction is to think of ways to solve the issues. the sick thing is that i'll be doing this while someone is telling me about their day or telling me something i really should be listening to, but i'm only hearing the conversation. i'm not actively engaged. what an asshole, right? basically, the point is, when i get stressed out... my listening skills tend to dwindle.
i'm not an interupter. sure when you're having a conversation with friends and you're talking, sometimes you talk at the same time. that's different. you're engaged and excited and talking and you just want to get everything out and the other person is chettering away too but in the end you both hear each other and it's fun.
the flip side of this is what really pisses me off. i mean blood boiling mad pissed off. a conversation i was having with a person last night is a perfect example. this person asked... "so what's going on with you?" "are you ok?" i began to respond by saying "well, i moved up here thinking..." and was immediately cut off with "i know, i know"
(long pause) (heavy sigh, complete with air out of nose)(seething glare) (gritted teeth) (raised right eyebrow)
"THEN WHY DID YOU FUCKING ASK ME?"
if you think you know the answer to the question that you are asking.... then why even bother asking? this is the perfect example of a BAD listener. i don't ask questions if i don't want to hear the answer. most of my friends are honest people and i know if i ask them i will get an honest answer. sometimes i don't want to hear it. other times i beg for it. anyway, i digress.... bad listeners. like i said, i'm not a great listener, but i'm not rude either. i don't ask a question and then retort with... "you already said that" or "i know, i know" because if i ask the question that means i DON'T know and want to. now... this person wanted to know why i had spoken with another person earlier in the day rather than them. so i said "because she listens to me!" this of course prompted the ages old argument of "but i DO listen!" "no you don't" "yes i do" blah fuck blah.
so i just shut up and said nothing. what's annoying is that i really wanted to talk to them. i wanted to say that i moved up here having happy (ish) thoughts and now i am in complete disbelief of what has happened to my life. somewhere i lost control. somewhere i let go of the reigns and now i'm stuck. i'm in the middle of the woods. i'm not sure which direction will take me to where i want to go. i'm out there because i'm a moron and thought i would be ok. i'm not sure where exactly it is that i want to go in the first place so it feels like any direction i take will be the wrong one. and for whatever reason, i'm in a fuckin hurry to get there. so i'm scrambling. i start to walk in one direction and then turn around and go the other direction because that one didn't feel right. i'm back and forth in my head. this way, that way, his way, her way, etc.
so, the reason i wanted to share this with this person was because sometimes they give good advice. when my life is out of order and i'm thinking at light speed, sometimes the advice they give puts it all into perspective. sometimes it's horse shit too but that's beside the point. it's worth it to try because it helps when the people around you understand where you're at. so even if they would have given me crappy advice, at least they would have listened and understood that i am in a foreign land. i've been where i'm at right now before, but it was still different. yes, i have an amazing ability to bounce back and get back on track. i know this of myself. but this is not just a testament to my own strength. it says a lot about the people that i surround myself with. they are intelligent and understanding, kind but honest. without these key people, i would not be where i am. so when i turn to one of these key people for understanding and i am interupted... it not only makes me angry but it also hurts my feelings. my friend michael says this perfectly to describe it and if i screw it up i'm sure he'll let me know...
he says he goes into a relationship expecting to GIVE 75% and only receive 25%. but on the flip side... he surrounds himself with people that also expect to give 75%. it's brilliant really. expecting the worst but getting the best. it's a good way to protect yourself from being let down. so when one of your 75% people gives you 25%, there's no other way to say it... it just sucks. when this happens, i doubt myself. i wonder what i did to make this person so hostile. in this case, it wasn't anything that i did. it was an alcohol induced situation. but other times, i know that i can be a burden. it's ok... we all are at some point, but that doesn't make it feel any better.
the burden feels like a bug in your hair or a leaf in your ear. you want to swat it away. get rid of it and get it away from you. feeling that you are something in someone's ear does not feel good. it's embarrassing. i pull away from them because i don't want my life to be someone else's problem. which is why, when this situation happened, i immediately shut down, closed up shop and said absolutely nothing.
i'm not easily angered. i'm not a dramatic scene kind of person. i tend to find my happy place when things start to go all catty whompus. my friends know this about me. i flee the scene or try to make jokes and lighten the mood. i'm just not a big fan of tension. however, be forewarned... even laid back people like myself have red buttons with "do not push me" emblazoned on top. i even have yellow buttons that say "only push once". my sister likes the red ones. my mom likes the yellow ones. both equally dangerous and lethal. that's not to say i'm a mean fighter. i don't call names or get violent. but you will hear my point. and when i'm done, i'm done. i walk away. it frustrates people when you walk away. especially people that have to have the last word. i'm good at ignoring those kinds of people. once i've said my piece i'm done. there's no need to repeat it. you hear me. you listen or you don't, but i'm done after i make my point. sometimes, i don't even have to say anything. my look of contempt will say enough. words are not always required. so the raised eyebrow was in effect yesterday and the subject was changed.
but i still want the person to hear me. to LISTEN to what i have to say. living in such close quarters, i feel the need to be understood. i'm only human afterall. i think the reason i'm feeling this way is due to the fact that i am feeling judged and in order to stop the judgment and have peace, i need this person to be aware of my current location of lost, usa. i think the tension and pressure would be gone for both parties involved. i can't make someone listen though, and i won't try either. (HA! example of ant herding... my brain is currently trying to decide if either should be neither since both the words can't and won't are negatives. see? i'm not even focusing on my own blog.) i think they would understand that even though on the outside i am calm and collected and seeking a path... on the inside i'm in a rush. i'm frantic. and i'm driving myself insane. so the extra push and shove is not needed. in fact, it's a yellow button. and since this person is one of those last word, yellow button loving kind of people... i am finding it hard to keep my cool and check myself.