Thursday, November 22, 2007

On Feeling Grateful for Possibility

This thought just came to me in a flash. A rare thing, a great thing, about getting to know a person is in the fact that as much as each person in a new... dyad... may have revealed, that there is this repository of things, inconsequential, silly, important, whatever, that are still yet to be revealed and that, when it feels like something good, each gets to look forward to revealing.

It's funny: there was a time in my life when I thought this could never be true. When I broke up with my First Love, the thing that I mourned most was that he knew all of my things, and I just couldn't imagine revealing all of them - or wanting to reveal them - to another. Now, the two of us broke up about 13 years ago, and clearly I've revised my thoughts on this matter as I gained more experience. That said, I still tend to forget that this wanting to know another person that way, and wanting another person to know me that way, is a possibility. And when it happens, it feels like this amazing gift.

Because it's easy to forget that it's important for a person, in order really to know you, should know that you still resent the fact that you never got a toy cash register for Christmas when you were a kid. Or that you in the right circumstances have what others might call a "good" singing voice (even if such a singing voice is these days only apparent when you're either alone or too devastatingly intoxicated or into a song to forget to hide it). Or that Thanksgiving is your favorite of all holidays, or that there is a certain look on a tired face that in your family is called "Muffin Face." It's easy to forget that it's possible to want to tell another person those parts of you that aren't on the surface. It's easy to forget that those parts of you that aren't on the surface matter in really important ways. And, maybe more importantly, it's easy to forget that the wanting to tell matters. It's easy to convince oneself that all of those things aren't really the point ultimately, that when you meet people at this point that obviously there will be things that there will be things that they'll miss or that will go untold, blah blah blah.

And then a person comes into your life, a person whom you want to know your things. And you're surprised, because, really, it's surprising. And you find yourself opening up, and you find yourself telling about the resentment about the toy cash register. You find yourself telling things you never thought you'd tell again, or never thought you'd tell period. And it's scary and weird and perhaps stupid, but when you find yourself telling those things, you remember a self, a less cynical self, who wanted to tell everything, who wanted to give everything, who thought that telling and giving everything could result in happiness rather than pain.

It's easy when you're 16 to do that. You don't realize the cost; it feels natural. And then you think you learn in the intervening 17 years that it's not natural, and that indeed you were incredibly stupid to have believed that such things could be good or true. Until a new person, a special kind of new person, happens. And sure, it's fucked up. Sure, it feels uncomfortable. And you find yourself revealing parts of yourself that while seemingly inconsequential ultimately go pretty deep. And you freak out a little bit. But this thing - this revived belief - it's a thing to be grateful for. It's something to cherish. Even if it might not last, it's a kind of possibility that one should acknowledge as important, as special, as something for which to give thanks.

And that, really, is the thing I'm most thankful for on this Thanksgiving. That once again I feel this possibility, that I'm excited about this particular variety of possibility. And sure, it might all end in tears. But right now, the possibility matters infinitely more than the potential outcome.


Krista said...

How wonderful for you! (Also, I'm a little in love with that third paragraph. Such lovely words.)

Nik said...

Funny. We were talking about this last night--five hours after turkey and 6 hours after starting to celebrate Thanksgiving. What I like best about the revelations that happen with real and new friends is the ones that reveal something I didn't know about myself. Getting to know someone new (or more deeply) is like meeting yourself all over again.

idgie said...

what a wonderful epiphany! i am interested too in how people listen to and remember other people's things. my first marriage ended partly because he just wasn't interested enough, and couldn't seem to remember, small things that seemed so important to me on the telling. it's as if i felt i was being erased. so the capacity to listen and affirm these little confessions is really important too.

~profgrrrrl~ said...

I love this post -- and it's so true. There's something pretty amazing about getting to know someone new, someone who you want to know all of those random facts, someone who cares about what brand of chewing gum was your favorite in 4th grade and who knows exactly what to do with those secrets. Hurrah! I'm glad you're feeling this possibility :)

Maggie said...

Beautiful post!

Dr. Crazy said...

Thanks for the comments, y'all. I'll note that when A. read it she said that she felt like she puked in her mouth just a little bit, which probably says something about the cynicism that she expects from me in these matters. That said, the person who inspired the post thought it was lovely and thanked me for it, so I think that cancels out A.'s objections :)