Archive for December, 2013

22 December, 2013

Most people have heard the adage to tell people how you feel because you never know when you will no longer have the chance. Perhaps this is one of those things that requires personal experience to convert from an intellectual fact to an internalized truth. One particular regret shows that in stark highlight.

Years ago I was working at one of the fly-by-night companies that pepper my curriculum vitae. Perhaps it was the shared misery but the best parts of these places were the people I met. One of these hidden gems was J. Crafton Timmerman III, or Crafty as one of our friends called him. My spouse and I loved him the moment we met him. In spite of, or perhaps because of, the challenges of his earlier years, he had a positive energy and wry outlook that resonated with us.

We stayed in contact after we left that company but eventually we moved north and he moved east. It became harder to remain in touch but we tried. I remember his Christmas card one year was made out of a photo he had taken of a stained glass window. (As an aside, I think that was the genesis of our cards made with my photos.) We even talked on the phone a few times back in the day when long distance calls were not free.

I was so depressed, in such a bad place, the last time that he called. Of course, I had no idea that it was the last time we would talk. I certainly had good reason to be struggling but I had not yet learned the skills to identify and process it. I know that he would have been sympathetic but I was too caught in my own spiral to even recognize it. So that conversation was awkward and polluted with my darkness.

A few years ago I googled him to reconnect and found his obituary. It saddens me to even write this now. I miss Crafty and wish I could talk with him again, even if it was just one more time.


6 December, 2013

In my experience, the people who loudly proclaim that they are an independent person are just establishing an excuse for their upcoming rudeness. I expect most people would like to avoid being entirely dependent on someone else. As a parent and a pack animal, I understand and am comfortable with others depending on me.

It came as something of a surprise to me when a friend commented that I was an independent person. Over the last two years, I have noticed quite a few cases where my image of myself differs from everyone else’s image of me. In those cases I have been forced to reevaluate myself and change my thinking. So when my friend called me independent, I had no choice but to introspect and determine to what degree that is true.

While never stated explicitly, I learned in my childhood that the best I could expect was indifference; any interest taken in me was rarely benevolent. So it stands to reason that I would have become rather independent: I knew that I was on my own. Of course, as a child I had limited resources and that independence grew in a warped way.

I think that factors into a lot of aspects of who I am. I rarely ask for help not because I arrogantly think I need no help but rather because I am surprised when someone helps me when I ask. My first instinct is to not share what I am feeling because no one else but me cared what I felt. The experience of being an outcast manifests as paranoia and defensiveness. I strive to be strong and capable so that I can control my own destiny.

I have worked hard for decades to create a new family, a new pack, that can depend on me. I am not sure how that reconciles with my newly-discovered independence. I hope to remain polite, though.