A study in personal relationships, and true friendship assessment
Did you really see me? I’m sure you’ve asked yourself this question after you’ve been relegated to a status where you thought it could have been different. Perceptions can be disillusioned expectations gone in opposite directions. How often are we overlooked, misjudged, and undervalued by those who think they know you, or from those that for some reason just failed to see the real you? This essay is written to illustrate the finer points of some of the quirks and situations associated with people not going deeper to assess and assimilate true bearings from someone that may be close. Take the following five characters here, and try to imagine with me the scenarios I paint to create a canvas full of the dramatic renderings that define, label, and subject us to whims and fancies of being seen in ways that may not be indicative of truth. Jessica is a recently divorced mother of two, faced with the reality of raising her children without a father, she has shunned the dating scene, and looks at men warily and is reluctant to venture out away from comfort zones established to guard against hurt -- real or imagined; Theresa is single, a liberal, free-spirited and lives life for the moment; Shelia is in a married from hell, with a philandering husband, and in a disjointed family setting…she has issues and problems galore; Bernard is an intellectual with a plan…he’s a caring fellow, bent on carving his niche in creating and finding a viable relationship. Then there is Jason. Jason is a bona fide playa. His street-wise and conniving ways have catapulted him to heights of power. He is handsome, gregarious, sly, slick and ever so wicked…women are just tools that he manipulate for his own pleasure.
Relationships, be they intimate, platonic, or casual can both be fraught with angst and paradoxically be the harbinger of things amenable. One should know too, that they could bring out the best and worst in us. We’re human and are susceptible to life’s ever changing demands for legitimacy and accountability. With this in mind, I’m mindful that my five characters here have played into the frameworks of life that says you are the masters and mistresses of your destiny, whereas you alone are responsible for pomp, circumstance and everything else in between. Jessica didn’t deserve to be abandoned because of an immature person failed to take responsibility and grow astutely to be the provider, father and doting husband she married. But instead, she now cannot trust men as far as she can see them, and worst, she’s paranoid thinking that they are all out to get what they can get. Now, with this scenario in your mindset, what’s to stop you from thinking that perhaps the next guy that comes along just may be one that may not have the baggage that you may have been used to. Pray tell that the next one is not Jason, who surely would exploit anew and find ways to get what he wants. But what if she meets Bernard, who finds her adorable and wants to explore the possibility of a relationship. They exchange telephone numbers, start to call each other on a regular basis and they bond. Jennifer on the other hand, accepts haltingly but finds Bernard to be winsome, and in the back of her mind she truly wants it to work, but the doubts are ever so present and they eventually overwhelm her enough to find ways to dismiss Bernard – to his chagrin. The question here is: Did Jessica really see Bernard for what he was worth…did she give him a chance to develop enough of a rapport to dispel those notions?
I can identify with Bernard’s situation because it happened to me, and I can be the Bernard in this essay because he epitomizes the type of integrity that should be inherent in all men seeking to be seen for what and whom they are, and not some façade that is viewed from the surface without going deeper. The fact that Jessica wasn’t willing to give him time to get to know her better, she readily acquiesced to the shallowness of rendering their relationship moribund. Some women (and men in some instances) are quick to say that the compatibility is the real reason why they tend to not stay long enough to strengthen the aforementioned. It’s times like these that render me perplexed with human nature when it doesn’t conform to a spiritual base and utilize Agape tendencies for things good and appealing. Sometimes I just want to sit, not breath, not hear, and not feel. I just want to be taken into the realm of a world unlike that which I exist in now. There are roadblocks to my quest for relationships that I can feel comfortable in. I want a helpmate who can be judged by protocol that harkens to a sense of platonic fortitude, and intimacy that speaks volumes to place, and albeit, a prerequisite for respect that should never go awry. Will I be stronger because of these roadblocks? It will be difficult but I wait for the day they will disappear, not in fear but with a controlled sense of resignation. The biggest roadblock looming ever so ominously is the specter of finding someone who sees me, really and truly who see me.
As I lay thinking of my sometimes-fractured life, I’m reminded that relationships are what you make them. I met Shelia one day alone and dejected and commenced to console her. Of course the genesis of her disposition was her husband who she caught with another woman. Shelia you must know is allowed her metabolism to go in opposite directions to render calorie intake to be generous and pleasing to the eye. In other words, she’s fighting a weighty issue that her husband just couldn’t deal with. Could it be that Shelia’s weight problem caused her husband not to see her? He looks at the outer picture, failing to see past the obvious for something much more inspiring in her character makeup. The law of averages would suggest that somewhere along the line Theresa and Jason would hook up. Both are single, and both love the free-style and no holds barred mindset for quick liaisons and sexual morass. They may see in each other all that they are looking for to perpetuate idiosyncrasies to keep doing it. But when will they stop and see themselves? I’ve known older couples that, after some 20-30 years of marriage all of a sudden are divorcing. What went wrong? What brought them to a place of disparity? Then it dawned on me the answer. They both may have seen the real other. Two decades and beyond is long enough to really know each other. When flaws are laid bare, the person closest to you can see them and know them for what they are. But that person trying to get to know you must spend the time to have viable reasons to come to a conclusion that compatibility alone caused the split.
But that brings me to this. I could harp on what she didn’t see in me all I want, but what did I bring to the table? What didn’t she see in me, which could have been tasteful to hold and cherish? I pride myself in my adult life thinking that there’s a sense of truism to my being…that as an intellectual I can conjure up words and wisdom and everything would be okay. But I’m not okay when pragmatic fortitude goes out the window and I don’t get a chance to go beyond status quo. I’m not naïve not to see me for what I am, but I wonder how others see me, or don’t see me. This is the premise of this essay. I have always viewed myself as one
who could see his own faults. One who was always willing to admit he was wrong. I’m sensitive and sensuous to my approach to sensibilities where feelings are concerned. Saying I am sorry was not hard for me. But as I look closer at how I tend to be ensconced in relationships, could I have done something different? Should I have settled and appeased just for the sake of mollification? I probably can say it truly was only surface and it’s her fault that she didn’t go deeper. I wonder if Jessica, Shelia, Jason, Bernard, and Theresa can look beyond what’s in front of them and realize that life, love and liberty should not be taken for granted…that no snakes should be hidden in grasses, and that respect should go longer and farther for the sake of understanding in a deeper way, the person. We should want to see more than we are willing to admit about our fears and concerns. Jessica should have the man she feels that can be a helpmate to her, embody all that should be in a committed marriage. Shelia shouldn’t have to wait for her husband to comply with Holy matrimony. She has grounds for a legal and reverent divorce. Jason is a fool, and should be made to respect women and get on a spiritual track for redemption. Theresa should be in the same audience as Jason to gain salvation. Bernard should be in position to continue to strive for the best and not be subjected to others’ flaws. Life goes on, and so will I.
I can STILL ask the question – did she really see me, and know that she didn’t, for there’s much more than what is portrayed on the outside. One must go deeper; look beyond and around stereotypical notions to get the gist of what has to be offered. I believe at this point in my life I am willing to hear. Not for the sake of anybody else. For my spiritual growth, I know that I won’t change that mindset. I honestly believe we individually and collectively cannot grow without this challenge of looking inside for profound introspectivity. I tell myself that everything is going to be all right because I’m a child of God and have accepted the fruit of the spirit. I will continue to let truth govern my existence, and allow integrity to bound me to the journey of my life. If indeed you understand this, then you would have seen me – for real!