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What Goes Around, Comes Around.

May 16, 2011

I find myself eerily back to May 2008.  Three years ago.  Wow, let’s pause for a moment.  May 2008 was three years ago.  Where does the time go?  (cue Rent’s Seasons of Love)

Three years ago I was working at Greenpeace and within sight of unemployment bliss.  I was hopelessly in lust.  All around were moaning about the state of the economy as I was spending many a work day ‘sick’, laying on the couch watching Sex and the City (SATC), sipping “cocktails” (martini glasses filled of water) and holding my roommate’s unlit, secret cigarette stash between my index and middle finger whilst making Carrie Bradshaw eyes.

Flash forward three years.  My days at Pathways to Housing doing downtown homeless outreach are coming to a close.  Blissfully.  I am hopefully in love.  And lust.  The economy still moans.  And I find myself yet again taking days off to sit on my ever growing behind watching SATC whilst perfecting my Bradshaw eyes.

Between the fictional Carrie’s writing style, as well as that shown to be my own (through many, many, many black and white composition notebooks), the question seems a large part of this life living thang.  Many moons ago I told an eternally dear friend that the biggest difference between us was he sought after the answer whereas it was the question that most concerned me.  So, I have spent my life asking questions (I remember in the sixth grade I tried to break the Guinness world record for most questions asked in a day.  I never actually looked up what the record was, but I sure as heck asked a lot of questions that day).  The key to the question is getting reallll comfortable sitting in the question and not expecting an answer.  A type of Zen meditation.

Now, at the age of 27, apparently reliving my 24-year-old existence (but better), I find myself thinking about relationships (after an afternoon on the couch watching SATC I know this is shocking).  Perhaps my knee jerk reaction to ponder my thoughts, my feelings, my questions are well and good for Whitney as a single entity period.  But, when it comes to Whitney as a single entity intertwined with another single entity, my knee jerk reaction may just be a jerk.

The problem with obsessing over the question — your own question — is that it comes from your own thought and when someone else has a different thought, you need to quiet your own buzzing mind and do something that I know isn’t the easiest thing for me to do: shut your damn mouth and listen.  The art of listening.  I love art and I am in school for social work — but listening doesn’t exactly come naturally to me.  And listening when it’s something you don’t want to hear is the worst of it.

So, when you can only exist in your own head and know (if you are very lucky) your own thought, how do you not only listen but understand?  Because without understanding, what’s the point of listening?  Is it even listening or is it just hearing?  And if you care so much about your own thoughts, your own questions, how do you quiet your desire to get your thoughts heard and truly listen and comprehend — and compromise — with another?

If we are to define listening as comprehending what the other is saying, do we ever truly listen?  Or are relationships just two people pretending to listen while continuing to perceive from their perspective — because, can we really perceive from any perspective from our own?  And if relationships do exist in which we can listen, do you change your perspective or do you create a middle ground?

Andddd, we’re back to the questions.  Questions that have very different answers depending on who is answering them and what that person has been through in life.  But, the thing about life and questions about life, are there really are no wrong answers.

Perhaps, for now, learning to keep my mouth shut and get the hearing part down is one giant leap in the right direction.  Oh, SATC is back on….

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