Saturday, November 15, 2008

Contrasts and assumptions.......

Life is full of contrasts. One minute high and the next, low. One minute dark, then light follows soon after. One minute fast and the next, slow. One minute hot and the next, cold. Happy, sad. Rich, poor. Big, little. And so on. In a sense, it is what makes up the unique tapestry of our individual lives. The contrasts. Shadow, light. Said, unsaid. Loud, soft. Acceptance, denial. Good, bad.

We all have bits of each of them to contend with or celebrate, each and every day. Sometimes the extended time at one end of the spectrum can make us feel that we are in the troughs forever, and that the peaks are unassailable. And time tends to slow down when we are in the pits, doesn't it. Have you ever noticed "how time flies when you are having fun"? It is true, isn't it? Old adages came about for a reason!

I am no different to any of you. I am a creature of contrasts. Strengths and weaknesses. I may appear strong, but have moments of great weakness too. I may appear confident, but have times of huge insecurity. I may appear optimistic, but there are also times when I wonder if I am being an idiot. About the optimism. And though there are some who assume I am as tough as nails, I know there is a side which is very vulnerable. I may appear to cope, but at times feel as though I am sinking. I am a warrior for other people, but am a wimp when fighting battles for myself. Just because I am an extrovert, it does not mean I don't have dark abysmal moments too. Contrasts.

People like me have great difficulty letting the weak or the vulnerable side loose. We have become adept at being upbeat and our "I can cope with anything" attitude works. It really does make other people think we can actually cope with anything. If I ever have to hear the words "God never gives you more to cope with than you can bear" again, I may do actual bodily harm. Of course He does. That is the whole point. You get to the point where you absolutely CANNOT cope with another thing, and that is when you fall at the foot of the cross and say I can't, I can't do this. And that is when you learn that you should never have tried to do it at all or by yourself in the first place. He never intended you to. He wanted to carry those burdens FOR you, but you were too stupid and pig-headed to listen. I speak from long and bitter and repeated experience here.

The hardest thing in the world is actually saying - I can't cope with this. I can't do it. I have had enough. No. I lie. The HARDEST thing is actually saying - Help me. Please. And having the rest of the world actually believe you.

That is a problem. Help? It is as though you have suddenly entered a twilight zone. Disbelief. Jokes cracked at your expense. Or nervous laughter. Because, you see, people who are the solvers of everyone else's problems, can't possibly have problems they cannot solve, can they. See? That is how it works. There will be many of you out there who know just what I am talking about. I would hazard a guess that we are predominantly the oldest children in our respective families. My own children were typical of this - the oldest used to swat away my hands and say "I do it!" "I do it by my OWN!" And my youngest would yell " HELP me!" to his big brother and sister.

This is a long-winded way (very) of coming to the point I wanted to make. Assumptions. Please try not to make them. Remember the flip side to everything. Some people use humour to mask pain. Just because they laugh does not mean they are not feeling the pain. Inside a bully may be a frightened child. Inside a beautiful woman may be an insecure fat teenager. Inside each of us, there are contrasts. Opposites. Shadows and light.

You only know the part of me I choose to expose. But do not assume that that is all there is to me. Assumptions. Making them can be a great mistake.


Personal views(Seeing+hearing) = Assumption. It does not equal Truth. Multiply what you see and what you hear by your personal view of life, and you come out with assumptions. I see a beautiful woman, who speaks well, dresses well and walks with confidence. I assume that she "has it all", is rich, clever and successful. I have made assumptions, neatly pigeon-holed her and I have not even begun to consider that there may be a whole different side to her. First impressions are not always so accurate, are they.

Sigh. I do this too. All the time. I am the first to confess that I make assumptions. I am not setting myself up here as some angelic being. Hahahahaha. But I have come to the conclusion that I cannot expect others to realise that there is another side to me, unless I acknowledge that they too have contrasts, which they may be as adept as I am at concealing. It has only taken 54 years. I am a slow learner at times, it seems.

Anyway. This has been a week of contrasts. Highs and lows. Good and bad. Success and failure. And you know what? Next week promises to be more of the same.........

That's life. Isn't it?


Chris said...

Too true, my friend.

And we both know how hard it is to keep up the funny forever when all you want to do is scream out.

Feel free to scream out any time. Any time at all. You deserve it!

Barb said...

This is, by far, the most profound and most beautiful post you've ever written, Linds.

The algebraic equation is dead on.

Penless Thoughts said...

One of your amazing, insightful blogs, Linds. I just came by to tell you I'd given you an award. When you come and get it you will be surprised at the category for which I picked you!!!! Then I came hear and read this one. I hear you......and you speak for all of us. Thanks for doing so.

I still adore the humor side of you, too!!!

Debbie said...

This post is so on target. We all make assumptions without even realizing it. And as an eldest, I can attest to the fact that we - see, there I go with an assumption - I often project an image of being able to handle everything on my own. And in reality, I'd love some help from time to time when things are really tough.

I hope the knee therapy is hugely beneficial!

Barbara said...

A good post with your usual gift of writing Linds. I am sure that the, 'not being given more than we car bear' is within the knowledge that 'of myself I can do nothing', it is through Christ tht we can bear all things and not of our own strength. A very different approach.

Edith said...

Excellent post...I'm also an "oldest" and try to do things on my own...without admitting I need help. Not a good thing at all.


Vee ~ A Haven for Vee said...

Your authentic self is shining through with this one...

We all assume, but more troubling to me is that we so often put on "the face" that makes it easy for others to assume. Hard to "assume" when one has been as transparent as you've been with this post.

Dawn said...

Wonderfully said. I am one of those eldest, too. We are given much responsibility as kids and take it on the rest of our lives. I know you have to be hurting physically, emotionally, and mentally with all you've been through in the last couple of years. I am just so glad that we have gotten to "know" you as much as we have. I love your writing, no matter what it's about.

Diane@Diane's Place said...

Even those of us that are most open about ourselves withhold a certain part of us. In some ways it's a defense mechanism to keep from being hurt by those who love us. We all know that those we trust and love the most are the ones with the power to hurt us most.

As far as I know you're not held to any higher standard than the rest of us, and you're entitled to bad days, weeks, months, whatever you need to be yourself.

If I've ever assumed, please forgive me.

If it helps any at all, the words stubborn, hard-headed, pig headed and so on have often been linked with my name. You are not alone, sister.

Hope your weekend is good, Linds. :o)

Love and hugs,


Jan said...

Well said! I loved this post.

Susie said...

Hi Linds,
I've been reading posts when I can find a spare moment here and there, but not commenting.
I just have to say that this is one of your most well-written posts and as an "oldest child" I can totally relate.

Needled Mom said...

Beautiful post, Linds. There is much to think about in your writings. I am not the eldest, but am the eldest girl in the family. My mother always said I was the take charge person since day one so perhaps it is also in our own makeup.

Have a good week ahead.

Crystal said...

Just have to tell you that your writing is so, so profound. I aspire to have your courage and clarity when writing blog posts.

And I'm the eldest in our family too - we have so, so much in common, my friend!

Have a lovely weekend :))

meggie said...

People act so surprised when you step out of character, & show another face, don't they? I have recently startled several really old friends.... & maybe, not in a good way. haha.
There I go again, laughing it off.

Mouse said...

One of the benefits of growing older is the strength to be honest about how we really are

Mary said...

One dimensional? - certainly not! Dare to assume? Wouldn't dare! I will take this opportunity of saying you are a wonderful person - warts, worries, ups and downs and all. I value you as a friend and I say bring on the truth - anytime - let us all see your many layers. As Max would say 'drop a bag or two!

Michelle (wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, co-worker, and striving to be a Proverbs 31 woman) said...

Thank you for bringing me to this post. It has touched my soul and reminds me that God is actually where He wants me to be...dependent upon Him. I LOVE what you said about God giving us more than we can handle. You are exactly right. I will never say this again. And, when someone else does, that's a nice little seed to plant when you respond that He does. What a gem. THANK YOU!

Linda said...

This really is such a wise, profound post Linds. I,too, am an oldest child. One of the most frightening things in the world to me is feeling like I am not in control. I want to solve everything and have it all over and done with - fast!
I hope you don't feel I have made assumptions about you. I think one of the difficulties about blogging is we only reveal parts of ourselves. We tend to write about the more uplifting parts of our lives and keep back those things that deeply trouble us.
I worry sometimes that I am giving a wrong impression too. I don't ever want anyone to see me as someone who has it all together. There are parts of my life I simply cannot share in this sort of forum.
I'm so glad you wrote this. We are, none of us, one dimensional characters. There is a depth to each of us that we don't necessarily reveal.
I understand how much you are struggling right now, but I can't really know how alone you are feeling. I'm so sorry Linds. I pray that this time of suffering will be over soon. I can lift you on my prayers, and I do.

Morning Glory said...

Wow, Linds, this is amazing. One of your best expressions yet. I so totally agree with you and I know you are all of those contrasts in a wonderful way.

I'm not an eldest child. I'm number 5 of 6, all the rest being boys. But I am one of the self-sufficient personalities who tries to do it all myself. When our lives came tumbling down a few years ago and we went into crisis mode with our child, I realized how very much I needed God's help. While I would NEVER want to go through all that again, I do know that I'm a different person today because of it. Some of the difference is good, some not so good, but I've learned amazing things.

At A Hen's Pace said...

Another oldest child here, chorusing right along with you on the "Do It Myself" theme!

I love what you said about assumptions--I can think of two friends, right now, that look so unimpressive, but in reality are amazing women--and one who looks so all together but is actually afraid of people she doesn't know!

Have you heard this one? "You know what happens when you make an ass of U and me...!"

Blessings, Linds--I pray those pills and your determination are doing the trick for that knee!


Kate said...

Hello, this is my first visit here but I doubt it will be my last.
I am just coming out the other side of a breakdown (work related) because everybody saw the strong person, They forgot to see I was disabled in both hands and had other problems which I try not to show.
I was the youngest child but always the one who coped - it says it all doesn't it?
Peace and Love to you,