My brother-in-law has called me on the phone.
He says, “I want you to know I love you.”
I say, “Thank you Ron.”
“And,” he adds briskly, “although you have always been an irritant in my life you have made me a better person by doing it.”
What? He loves me but I irritate him? I irritate him?
“And whenever I need help you are always there for me and you always stand up for me, no matter what. And I love you for that.”
“I am an irritant?!” I say.
“What do you mean I’m an irritant?!”
“Ah…well…I really don’t know…except that you always call me on my stuff and tell me, bull’s eye, whatever it is. You are always honest with me and tell me straight and you tell me to knock it off.”
“Well…I don’t know…but it’s a good thing I married your sister and not you. I just know that you have always been an irritant in my life and I love you.”
“Gee. Thanks for the call, Ron.”
Later that same evening my cousin Elaine sends me an email.
At the last family party she had suggested that I teach her how to make money and in return she said, “I’ll work with your anxieties. I have training you know.”
Here’s the email she sent me later:
“Hi Venus…Just a question I am thinking about. Do you ever wonder if you calmed your anxiety that you might also be trading off your brilliance and intensity?”
Gosh. In one evening I find out I am an irritant, I’m anxious, and I’m prone to brilliance and intensity.
Has everybody been drinking tonight, or am I the only one?
If we all called and asked a dozen people to tell us what they think, wouldn’t it be fun to find out how each person sees us?
Then we could throw the way we see ourselves into the mix and we’d get even more diversity.
My sister Candy always says, “Oh, it’s always all about you, Venus!”
Of course I think she’s wrong.
It’s not always all about me! It’s all about my brother Jim! Even he will tell you he can’t think about anyone but himself.
When our mother was very ill and I kept trying to tell him what lay ahead for her, he kept nattering on about his troubles.
Finally, I said, “Jim! This is not about you! It’s about Mother!”
Jim said contritely, “I know. You’re right. It’s always all about me. It’s always me, me, me! No matter what happens I only think of myself!”
He was serious and near tears at his self-centeredness and I spilled out laughing. How can you be mad at a fellow who freely admits he’s totally and completely and always absorbed in himself?
Another sister, Polly, says I pick on her and that I embellish things.
I do pick on her. Sometimes it’s by accident.
Once when we were talking, I told her, “Polly, you’re a boar.”
She said in a trembly voice, “I know I’m a bore sometimes. I just rattle on and on.”
“No Polly..I mean in a Chinese horoscope you’re a boar!”
She was much relieved. But…she’d been willing to take on the title of Bore! She was anxious to take on yet another person’s perception of her to add to the list.
My mother once asked me what I thought people might write on my tombstone. All I could think to say about myself was: “She Was Very Productive.”
My mother’s assessment and possible inscription was much kinder.
“Venus Loved Life and We Loved her!”
But, we expect and hope that our mothers (at least) will see the best in us..although sadly this is not true of all mothers. Or fathers.
My father hated my laugh.
“Don’t laugh like that!” he’d snap. “It’s annoying.”
I learned how to be even more annoying.
My father would fly into a frenzy when I would do an imitation of a preacher I made up and called Brother Springer. I could make my father act and yell like a maniac when I was Brother Springer so I liked to be Brother Springer…a lot.
My ex-boyfriend thinks I’m a snob because I have a Jaguar car.
“Why can’t you have a small cheap car like everybody else? You’re a snob.”
I think he knows me really well, so when I whimper to my friends about his picture of my character they all huff up and tell me I am the least snobbish person they know. They tell me he must be living in a cloud of dandruff.
So who can we believe with their assessments of our personality and character?
What is perception, anyway?
Maybe we all see only what we can see…or what we want to see…or think we see…maybe we’re all dead wrong about ourselves and the other people we know?
The other day I told an ex-husband that his current wife only married him for his money. He thinks the woman is cute and wonderful. He loves to hand her wads of money for her gambling habit. He is shocked by my cold observation.
Maybe I just wish he’d been as generous with me when we were married. Or maybe the statin drugs he takes are altering his brain, causing him to hide $100 bills under loose carpet in his house and in pill bottles and jars at the back of the cupboard so the current wife can hunt them down, find the cash, and race off to the casinos.
Or maybe not.
Maybe he’s just pulling a Brother Springer on me because he knows it makes me nuts?
Actually, here is the “real truth” is as I see it:
The Universes and all Beings in them are all God in Its many wonderful and interesting manifestations.
Every thing and every person you look at is simply another version of yourself.
I look into your face and I see myself as you see yourself in me.
We are indeed All One so what does it matter if another one of My Selves doesn’t like my laugh or thinks I’m brilliant or hides money in full flour canisters or in deep wet holes in the backyard?
Indeed…It matters not.
But, it certainly makes life more interesting.
Apparently, God does not like boredom.
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