Useless Thoughts Running Through My Head

various musings of a generation x kad

Archive for August, 2007

Learning to trust

Posted by thoughtful1 on August 28, 2007

One of my new friends is someone I’ve slowly been getting to know over the past few months.  We ended up in the same social circle and seem to go to the same parties, outings, dinners, etc.

We also have had some interesting conversations. Conversations I usually don’t have with people until I’ve known them for a while, or unless I instantly click with them. Neither holds true for this friend. I’ve known him for a short time, and while we’ve always gotten along there was no “clicking.” Instead, our relationship has just evolved from amiable acquaintances to friends.

One of these interesting conversations was about religion. As usual, I think I failed miserably at my Unitarian Universalist “elevator speech.” I tried to summarize the faith, but didn’t get far, mostly because I always take a historical approach and babble about our Christian roots. While I believe we should do a better job at acknowledging our Christian beginnings (more on that in a later post), I know damn little about it. So I end up babbling like an idiot.  Perhaps I should just focus less on our history and more on our process – we believe in finding your own truth, blah blah blah.  Anyway, as I was giving my lousy UU elevator speech, he began disagreeing with some of our views.  At this point things could have gotten sticky, and become a perfect illustration of why one does not discuss religion.

Yet, it didn’t.

Instead, it all felt very safe and comfortable.

I came away from that thinking, “Gee, he’s someone you can talk about important stuff with.”  Normally we talk what we did or didn’t do over the weekend; bad dating experiences, etc.  Fairly mundane stuff.  This was the first time we talked about something important, and revealing.

Fast forward a bit…  Somehow, we got to talking about something really personal… to me.  While it’s not some deep dark secret, or some horrible trauma, it’s still something I didn’t want to talk about except with people I know who’ll understand, but it came up and I couldn’t find a graceful way to keep mum about it.  So, we ended up talking about it.

Initially I was anxious, since while we’re friends I don’t think we’re close friends…  I’m not calling him up all the time to spill my neurotic thoughts, or spending entire Saturday afternoons just hanging out.  He isn’t someone with whom I shared my boarding school trauma or my college ennui.  He isn’t an ex-boyfriend I’ve remained friends with or a grade school confidant.  He is, really, just some guy I met, that I’m slowly becoming friends with.

And, like our previous conversation about religion, it felt safe and comfortable.  Why?  Because it felt like he cared, and was genuinely interested in what was going on in my life.  And, I didn’t feel like he was judging me.  I think that was the biggest fear – that I would be judged and found lacking.

Afterwards, I was mentally kicking myself.  After we talked about religion, why hadn’t I trusted him enough to share this other part of my life?  The more I thought about the two incidents, the more I realized that I should have trusted him more to be understanding and respectful.

Yet, I didn’t.

A while ago I asked a therapist friend if it’s common for adoptees to compartmentalize their lives.  I used to do this, and I know two other Korean adoptees who do this to an even greater extent than I ever did.  She said that it is common for adoptees to do this.  She believes it’s a reaction to trauma – being separated from our birth families (and cultures and countries).  It’s like a very mild form of multiple personality disorder where someone’s personality splits in reaction to severe trauma, such as extreme physical abuse.  It is a way of protecting ourselves from being hurt and rejected.  If we keep all our different pieces separated, then we don’t have to worry about anyone finding out what we’re really like, and then rejecting us.

I have, for the most part, stopped doing this.  It was too much work.  But, I am wondering if withholding personal thoughts and feelings from friends is another form of compartmentalizing, or at least of putting up a wall to protect myself.  After all, I didn’t want to share this particular part of my life because I was afraid he would find fault, even though I should have known better.

Or maybe not.  Maybe it was reasonable to still be hesitant… Just because you can talk about religion with someone doesn’t mean you can share everything with them.  Even so, I think this is an indication of the sort of walls I’ve been putting up to keep people out.  But now I need to keep in mind that I can trust this person.


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Where I’ve been

Posted by thoughtful1 on August 28, 2007

I have somehow stumbled upon a social life!  One week, I was out every night after work.  It’s fun, it’s exciting, and it’s damn tiring, especially for an introvert like myself.

I have managed to tame things down a bit – still hanging out with people, but now I have the added pressure of taking care of some family business.  So, the next week or so will still be busy for me.  And, I’ll be starting a computer class next week, which means I’ll have homework 😛

At some point I’ll get this time management thing down… Someday.

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Last Sunday morning

Posted by thoughtful1 on August 16, 2007

Last Sunday morning I went to church.  But not my church.  I went to Trinity church in Copley.  And Episcopalian church.  I’m not Episcopalian.  I’m Unitarian.  What was I doing in a church called Trinity?

I don’t know.  I don’t quite know.  A few weeks ago I began to feel that I needed to learn more about Christianity.  It’s a large part of our culture, and I’ve been surrounded by it all my life, yet I suddenly realized that there was very little I knew or understood about it.  I felt this need to know.  I bought Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.  Word on the street is the book is a good, readable introduction to Christianity.

A little later, I began to feel this pull to go to Trinity.  I can’t quite explain it.  It’s all jumbled up with boarding school and religion.  I felt this desire to hear the music.  Anglican/Episcopalian music kicks ass.  It beats Unitarian Universalist music.  The Anglicans have gravitas.  We UUs have, as my friend put it, “Mary Tyle Moore with a guitar.”  Not that UU music is completely atrocious.  There have been moments in church where I’ve found it comforting.  But it rarely blows me away the way Epsicopalian music does.  Maybe it’s because they have better organs.  Or maybe it’s just the music.

I first heard Episcopalian music in boarding school.  The first two years I was there we had an organist who knew how to rock out the chapel’s pipes.  It was magnificent.  But I hated chapel.  I hated being forced to go to chapel on Mondays, Wednesdays,  Thursdays, and certain Sundays.  I hated saying prayers that referenced the Trinity.  I hated that my Hindu and Jewish friends were forced to go.  It was oppressive.  It gave me a very bad impression of Episcopalianism.

But I loved the music.

So I found myself going to Trinity Church last Sunday because I hated chapel at boarding school but I really, really wanted to hear the music.  And I wanted to make sense of Christianity.  And maybe my past.  I think I’ve been needing some sort of reconciliation with boarding school.  I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s some sort of need there.

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That was…. different.

Posted by thoughtful1 on August 7, 2007

I went shopping on Sunday. I was browsing the racks for this and that and happily enjoying the Andrew Sisters type music being played in the store. In fact, I thought it was the Andrew Sisters because the song was one of their standards. And then, it got weird…. The next song started playing, performed by the same musical group. Only it wasn’t a nostalgic WW II era song. No – it was a rendition of Kate Bush’s “Heathcliff.”

I had to stop and listen to it to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating. I wasn’t. I can’t say I enjoyed the version – it was just too freaking bizarre.

“Heathcliff” was then followed by a Andrew Sisters type version of “Panic” by The Smiths.

It was very… strange.

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