What I call honesty, you feel is tactless. What you call caring I say is control. And one woman’s fabulous-dahling taupe is another woman’s plain old mushroom. Where do we find common ground, why can’t we agree, and what is the answer?
Each week during construction, I read my blog post out loud to Mark. The difference between reading on the screen and saying words aloud is profound; try it and you’ll understand. After I read him last week’s post he quietly commented, “and where was I in all this?”
“Well. . .you were there” I replied a tad defensively.
“Yes” he said. “I was there. A horse, a HUSBAND and cancer. . .remember?”
I re-read it and he was absolutely correct. I had obliterated him from the picture, assuming everyone would know he was by my side, making things happen and loving me, because he is as much a part of me as life itself. But from Mark’s perspective you didn’t already know that.
Then I had a brainwave. I would re-write the post from his point of view by thinking how he thought and giving those thoughts a voice. It wasn’t an easy exercise, and as I set to work, I realised being with someone for thirty years does not mean you know very much about them at all. I translated Elaine into Mark and got something back that was neither; I got it completely utterly up-sh*t-creek-without-a-paddle wrong.
I love writing my blog and your reciprocal comments have boosted my confidence, and pushed me into taking writing more seriously than I anticipated. Ego is a strange thing; when common sense screams NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ego smiles its sly little smile, claps with glee and says oh yes, yes yes YES, and I became mere putty in its hands. Without considering the content realistically, I read aloud what I was writing about Mark. To Mark. And his perspective was not as mine. Pride cometh before a fall? Never have I fallen so far, so fast, and without a handrail in sight.
Perspective is borne of upbringing, experience and personality. Internet trolls and political fundamentalism are an outcome of free speech, but like everything else we humans do, we flout the boundaries of respect. However, respect is only a perspective. We all have different starting points so it’s not a competitive sport; all we can offer is our interpretation. It’s another of those intangibles, but this week I have learned that to understand someone else’s perspective, mine needs a lot less ego and a lot more flexibility. Life. A learning curve or what?