dariaphoebe: (redhead)
We paused for a moment as our bus dropped the poles that had given us power as we moved quietly underground, and the diesel engine started. The operator opened the doors while doing so, and I was momentarily whisked from my train of thought. The cool breeze! The scenery! The lovely scent of the trees outside! I sighed softly, sad to be leaving. I looked at the water to my left, knowing we'd shortly turn into the tunnel that would connect under the harbor through to the airport, and my impending flight to the other coast.

Ocean to ocean, it would be. I recalled again the conversation from the previous day. As I sat in a coffeeshop, I closed my laptop on my work for a bit and made a call. With his greeting, it was evident he knew who was calling. I wished him a happy Father's Day, and we proceeded to gab for a bit. Knowing I'd be at the other ocean soon, I said as much. He then recounted a story I'd forgotten.

New Jersey, he said. He'd been cast into the ocean and told that it was time to swim.

I remembered my own childhood: too many years of swimming lessons in the local high school's pool. I passed, after a while, but a placid pool is hardly a match for anything you'd find in the world. Regardless, I hadn't drowned in the intervening years. That was something, at least.

We learn the lessons of the generation before us, what we feel they might have done better, and hopefully carry it forward. At least, that's our hope. It seems rather unlikely I've have an opportunity to do better at passing on water skills, or anything else. But I'm still going to observe, remember, and learn.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
I can't even remember how we got to that point, but she pointed out that it felt like I'd been trying to one-up her. That wasn't it, but I realized it was a habit I'd fallen into when I intended to convey empathy.

As a child I felt rather detached, emotionless. It meant that often I seemed and indeed felt unsympathetic, and I've wondered to what extent that's a lingering effect. But I was not heartless; I just couldn't well understand things I hadn't experienced. Thus the rise of empathy in my life. Similar, but not the same. It felt at times like I used empathy as a substitute for my missing sympathy, though. As a kid, in an effort to show I was not a callous, unfeeling person, I let that empathy take the fore, not quite exhibitionism, but perhaps a bit overboard at times.

Now, as I experienced manifold things I could empathize with for the first time in my life, I could only wonder how often I'd failed to even convey what was offered sincerely because it had seemed instead like an expression that devalued the experiences of the person I'd offered it to.

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dariaphoebe

May 2017

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