“Perception is reality”

Paradox.  Irony.  Ambiguity.  Life!

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Dad used to say, “Perception is reality.”

I wish I could talk to Dad right now.  I miss him.

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Stuff started August 17, 2015.  $#%% hit the fan October 1, 2015.  I kept saying, “In a year this will all make sense.”  NOTHING lasting made sense in 2016, NOTHING.  In February, 2017 everything again turned upside down in a gut punch to the stomach.  By June and July all I could do was sit and wallow and be sad and wonder why three different men claimed to love me, yet seemed to want nothing to do with me.

I’ve been wallowing in sadness which, yesterday, I realized harkens back to 1985.

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In high school I had a great group of friends.  I considered us the misfits or The Breakfast Club.  We were a rag-tag group of kids who didn’t quite fit with any other group and yet we fit together like a perfect puzzle.  In fact, here are some of us after completing a puzzle around our graduation time.

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My group consisted of me (the nerd/brain), the stoner who wasn’t a stoner but she was suicidal/depressed until she found her girl, the preppy who loved all things pretty and posh and he is now a jeweler in San Francisco where he fits in so well, the Jesus freak who could not quite see how strongly she came across and I love her heart, the straight-laced Mormon who I have no idea where he is, the Philippine foreign exchange student who bless-her-soul poor thing landed in this group of misfits, the foster child who was our wild child and made things fun, and then the tough girl who showed our stoner what love was.

When Michelle got close to Lisa she no longer needed me.  And being needed to take care of the needy has been my identity.  Over the years I learned that being needed was the value I brought to people.  Without being needed, I knew I was worthless (yes, I hear myself).  When Michelle didn’t need me I became the martyr.  ‘

“No,” I theatrically said in my imagination, “I am leaving you all.  Don’t come after me.  I shall depart our group.”

I was feeling dumped by Michelle and I couldn’t be around her without it hurting.  So I felt like it was me or her that needed to depart from the group.  And like the good martyr that I am, I took the hit.  I left the group to go sit under the tiny window awning of the science building by myself.  I sat there by myself for a couple of days before I crawled back to the group like a poor, lost puppy.

They welcomed me back like I had never left……and….I….think…that is because they NEVER REALIZED I had left.  fullsizeoutput_833

And thus began my perception and my reality that NO ONE would ever care enough about me to notice if I was gone. And NO ONE would ever come after me.

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I am once again theatrically in my imagination in 2017 doing the martyr bit.  Good Lord, we disciples are so stubborn headed aren’t we?  How do You have patience with our repeated foolishness?

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Yesterday, Friday, John and I took a long walk around HIS neighborhood.  He was listening to me process all of this stuff.  He knows my stuff.  We ended up sitting on the grass in front of HIS house, when I realized part of my confusion with him.

I keep going back and forth between being angry that he divorced me and thankful that he divorced me.  I really can’t tell you in words how confused and distraught and despairing I have been….trying for the last year and a half to figure out what to feel about this divorce.  And yesterday on the walk it made sense.

John ultimatley did the right thing by divorcing me.  We are both better.  We had so many prior years of heartache.  And now we each have our own home, our own space, our own lives and we can be friends.  It’s so much better.

BUT, he did the divorce unilaterlaly.  He decided it and everything in its path without including me.  And THAT is what makes me mad.

It probably sounds obvious.  But truly it has taken me this long to finally figure out why I feel both gratitude and resentment.

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At 3 AM I woke up and was ready to send a harsh electronic message to the man who hasn’t spoken to me since February.  Long story short…I believed he would be the person who would finally care for me, would come after me,….but now I can’t understand why he left with no discussion or explanation.

I hesitated before sending the harsh message.  As I picked up my phone to make a 3AM anti-booty call, I unexpectedly found a 1 AM message from man #3 (who also has chosen to not speak with me, since about mid June – though I have some bit of an explanation on this one) .

It hit me that man #2, like John, made a unilateral decision to break up with me.

I can see the good …. or the GOOD RIDDANCE …. in that situation right now.  But it still doesn’t appease the wound of having a decision made for me with no abilty to engage in the terms of departure.

Grace* is keeping me from sending a harsh message out.

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For now this is my perception and my reality.

I have three men who love me very much.  All three men care about me.  All three men are choosing to do things which ultimately will result in my long-term well being.  I am thankful to them and I love them.

I am hoping #3 will work with me together and with God to make trilateral decisions of mutual love and well being.  TRINITY!  Hoping but not expecting.  People are so confusing.

My perception may be totally off…..all three may just be self-centered-selfish $$%$%$s.  But it doesn’t really matter.  What is in my head is what determines how I will move forward in this world.

What we believe matters.

I choose to believe my fellow humans are good people.  I choose to believe they ultimately want the best.

I may be wrong….but I truly cannot live with the alternative.  It hurts too much to think people are ill willed.  Why would a tender hearted person like me want to continue to live in a world full of bad, sinful, ugly people?  I can’t.

OK…sorry,…I am straying into a conversation I need to be having with someone else.

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—Snarky comment deleted—

I have been going crazy trying to figure out what happened with John, with #2, and with #3.  I am trying to figure out what is in their minds, behind the scenes.  The scenarios are vivid and detailed…..and IMAGINARY.  If I am not going to know the answer, I might as well assume the best.

If I am wrong, I will have acted lovingly to people who were mean.  Hmmmm… I seem to recall a man on whom the whole of creation rests making this “mistake” over and over.

If I am correct – that they do love me and want the best for me – and I respond with harsh, angry, ill tempered comments, I will have cut off love with hate.

Fruits of the Spirit:  forbearance, gentleness, kindness.  Tending the tree so it will produce fruit….tending it with perseverance and self-control and godliness.

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*Grace:  what is it?

Per Google Dictionary:  (in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.

That isn’t exactly what I mean.  The great theologian Dallas Willard once said, “Grace is God’s action in our life to help us to do what we can’t do on our own.”

That is the grace to which I refer.

8 thoughts on ““Perception is reality”

  1. The question I think of is – How does Woman #1 feel about you? Woman #1 is you. I feel it’s easier to deal with man # anyone’s feelings if Woman #1 always feels love. Always love you because you are strong and beautiful and caring. And the reason I feel this way, for myself, is because of the time after time after time I wanted someone to come after me, and no one did. I’m not sure which situation/people made me feel worse – the ones who never realized I was gone, or the ones who did and wouldn’t come after. Probably the first. The ones who didn’t come after me were either too world-wise already or too hurt in their own insides. It always hurts though. I hope you feel enough love from others who love you to help the hurt. And now, for some reason, whenever I have a snarky comment on my lips, I will be imaging a squirrel in my head.

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    • Yeah….I know. I know. What you call Woman #1 is what I call God. I know. I know this is more about how I ultimately love myself/believe God loves me. Man #4 told me this about a year ago. 😉
      Man #4 told me, “Maria needs to be in a relationship with Maria.”
      I know. You know.
      But right now you have man #AwesomeMike.
      I thought I had John.
      And Man #2 and I talked for hours on end about how it is God’s love that is enduring….but how sometimes we just need a real, physical, human being to demonstrate that love.
      At this moment, I don’t need a man….what I need is understanding about what went wrong. And even as I write this I hear the song that Man #2 sent to me one day as I was walking into BelAir…..so many songs he sent…https://youtu.be/j7leQB_Oe_k

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      • And speaking of songs….Man #4 (the one who joined our quirky family for Christmas…you know him….I think of him as Man #Zen) sent me this song. I listened to it 3 times on my long training run this morning and it powered me on. So now I can tag this post as part of “Pacing Myself”. It powered me through Mile 1 which ended up being the fastest of my four miles. Then I heard it again at Cole’s swim meet. Don’t take this song all too seriously….but I love it when I am in a “screw this whole world, I’m going to be happy” mode.https://youtu.be/bMpFmHSgC4Q
        Oh…I remember over and over and over HOW many people love me. OHHHHH…..I am so thankful for every single lover of my heart and soul. And it makes me want to love others back in return. Just being real about the real. I LOVE you…I just listened to the Story Corps you and I did Lil Sis. And you made it clear to me and to the archives in the Library of Congress that you would always come after me. And THAT is SO powerful. I love you to infinity and beyond!!

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  2. This is beginning to be more like a mystery novel. Weird, I think I know just about everything and the background of everything you’re writing about, but I am on the edge of my seat to see what the next sentence or paragraph will have. Don’t wait too long in between posts.

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  3. Stay strong, Maria. You know that I often tell myself “stories” that try to explain peoples actions in the best possible light. Even if I am wrong, that is the world I want to live in. But you also have to remember that sometimes people don’t have a clear rhyme or reason for what they do. More often than not, people don’t always so what is in their best interest or what is kind. That often says more about them, than what it says about you or what you did. Always remember that you are not only loved but loveable. Thank you for sharing your struggles and reflections. Your posts are always so thoughtful and insightful.

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    • You do have a wonderful way of giving people the benefit of the doubt. As the recipient of that unwarranted benefit….all I can say is “exactly” and “thank you”. Thanks for saying I am lovable….just like that picture of Grover looking in the mirror. I just took my Super Grover that you got me in the hospital over to Mi Casa. He is sitting on a window shelf, behind a curtain, keeping an eye on things for me.

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