When I was growing up, my mother gave me two wonderful books. I wanted to post a picture of the covers but they have the word “copyrighted” on the pictures on Amazon, so I’m guessing that means I shouldn’t cut and paste the picture. *grin* Both books are by Sesyle Johnson and illustrated by Maurice Sendak. They were books on manners or, as described inside the cover: “A Handbook of Etiquette for Young Ladies and Gentlemen to be Used as a Guide for Everyday Social Behavior”. The one book, What Do You Say, Dear?, explained the proper response a polite person would say for a given situation. The other, What Do you Do, Dear?, (Proper Conduct for all Occasions) taught the correct action to be performed. *grin* Oh my, I loved them. They were funny and witty. And they told me exactly what to say and do. I didn’t have to figure it out for myself if perchance the Queen fed me too much spaghetti to fit in my chair. If I followed these guidelines, I would always be secure in my interactions with others.
I bet you think this is going to be a rant on manners, don’t you? Hah! Fooled you.
Life was simpler then. I think. It could be reduced to formulas. But I suppose the meanings behind the words were as obscure then as they often are now. You see – I KNOW what I mean when I say or do something. So if YOU say or do that, well then, obviously you mean the same thing I do, right? Errrm, no. It has taken me a very long time, and sometimes I still mess it up, but just because we do/say the same thing, does not mean that we are attempting to convey the same message.
My father rarely said to my mother “I love you”. He used to tease her (and she used to joke) that he already TOLD her he loved her, she knew that, why did he need to repeat himself? Never mind that my mother would have loved to hear it many times a day, probably. (I don’t know – maybe she would have gotten bored of hearing it? Who knows now, right? *smile* ) But…. everyday in so many ways he showed his love through actions. You simply had to decipher his code and hear HOW he said it. He warmed her car and scraped the ice every day in winter. She always had the groceries she liked (he did the grocery shopping). He supported her acting career, taking over household chores without complaining to give her space. It was so clear to me.
I fret at times, get insecure. Yeah, *grin*, I get insecure about being loved, being liked, about people caring. It’s one thing to know this intellectually, it’s another to feel it inside always. Many of the people I have met in SL I’ve not met in the atomic world. I only know them through the written word, the occasional voice chat. I love many of them. On cold dreary fragile days, however, I worry that I am wrong, they don’t care, I shouldn’t bother them, it’s not reciprocated. The other day the proverbial light broke through the clouds. I got it. This one took the time to send me a one-line email/IM to say hi. I was focused on the shortness, missing the fact that time was taken not only to think of me, but to act on it. Not everyone likes to blither on and on (/me clears throat, abashed). That one pinged me after not chatting for a week and when I said “what’s up?” said “nothing, just wanted to say hi” and that was all you wrote. The other one, I realize, always responds extremely quickly when I IM. I could go on and on. So could you, dear reader. Everyone has their own way of saying “you are special to me”. Those responses seem to be such trivial actions. And, in a sense, if it were I doing them, yeah, I’d probably say a lot more if I were trying to convey importance. *laugh* But some people just don’t talk a lot. Some people are really busy. Some people are very comfortable with long periods of silence.
Is there a point to this blog? If there is any point, it really goes all the way back to one of Botgirl’s posts. Or it’s the famous don’t judge someone til you’ve walked in their shoes. Take a deep breath. Pause. Think. Try to hear what was sent and not what was received.
It can be said in so many ways. I love you.
I sat on this post for many days. I wasn’t completely satisfied or even certain that it said what I wanted to say. Not that I am sure what I want to say. But I think it needs one more paragraph.
I CAN hear you. As someone said to me on a different subject – we speak the same language but a different dialect. But. Sometimes it’s not enough to hear the message. Sometimes the medium is the message. And sometimes – I need to hear it in my dialect.
So I guess it comes full circle. I CAN hear your dialect. But sometimes, do try to use mine. I think we all need both sides of that equation.