Thursday, December 29, 2005

I Live in the Center

I recently heard a political pundit say that the killing fields are in the center.

I live in the center. Put me with any set of points of view, and I’ll be in the middle trying to translate for them—not that they want me to. That would make some folks seem to be an approval seeker or a fence sitter. Not this one. I don’t change my mind with the wind. I don’t follow the polls or bend to what the neighbors think. I know exactly who I am, and I know exactly what works for me. I just find the like matter in between the differences.

It’s not that I can’t handle conflict. I’d fight for a cause, and I’d die for more than one. But I learned early on that most tenets are not worth the cost of a night spent in heated argument. I’m not likely to change what you believe, and why should I want to? Why should I think that where my heart has gone is where yours should want to go too? The idea is arrogant and disrespectful. I don’t want to see myself as being those.

I come from where every point of view has value.

It was ingrained in me from the start. It's how I grew up.

The four in my family who came before me were distinctly separate, unique human beings. They were unconditional love, vulnerable strength, reflective compassion, and thrill-seeking amusement. I stood in their center, a neophyte. I looked up to each one of them.

My role had to be the perceptive observer. It was the only thing that they were not.

I learned. I yearned to understand everything that made them tick—what they thought, what they did, what they said, how they said it, why they responded the way they did. I was constantly taking information in and looking for patterns, and finding algorithms to match their actions. I was a human behavior search engine. I learned their points of view by practically crawling inside their skin.

None of them had an investment in changing the others’ thinking. Thinking was part of who you are, not something that you did. Arguing was kept to the typical parent-child variety—mostly mother and younger-older, risk-taking brother, who preferred an emergency room or a reprimand to even a second of boredom.

He once told me, “Hey kid, if you’re going to get in trouble for doing it five minutes. You might as well do it an hour and have fun.”

He would get yelled at. I would get the anxiety for him.

My mother once said my only problem was that I had two brothers who were opposites and I tried to be like both of them. She got it right, but she was off by two. I wanted to be all four of them—mother, father, and two brothers. Still do. Still am. You can see them in almost every thing about me. I can tell you which one influenced almost every word and every gesture in my repetoire.

Learning about other people in that same way was almost self-preservation.

I was lucky to have four good points of view to draw those original conclusions from. Those conclusions prepared me to live inside the world, instead of outside looking in. Of course, I ended up in the center, always crawling inside other people's skin to understand their point of view. I'm often seen attempting to restate what someone is saying.

I come from where every point of view has value.

It was ingrained in me from the start.

I live in the center. It's the place that the pundit called the killing fields.

No wonder I feel so few things are worth the cost of an argument.

—me strauss Letting me be

12 comments:

mergrl said...

I’d fight for a cause, and I’d die for more than one. But I learned early on that most tenets are not worth the cost of a night spent in heated argument. I’m not likely to change what you believe, and why should I want to?


wow Liz, I could have writtent that myself (not as well of course LOL) but thank you for that, so many people think that because I won't argue with them that I don't have strong feelings about something.

Of course, I ended up in the center, always crawling inside other people's skin to understand their point of view

its like you crawled inside my brain and put it into words, amazing.

thank you for sharing your talent and gift with us, I know I've said it before, but I'm gonna say it again :0)

(hugs)

ME Strauss said...

Oh Trace,
It's so good to know you know what I'm talking about. I'm sorry you misssed the one that I just put up that was supposed to come before this one.
It's there now.
How's the sun?

smiles,
Liz

mergrl said...

was just looking at your test results :0) anytime I take tests like that, I skew them so badly with my answers that they are usually at a loss as to where to place me in their little boxes LOL always knew I couldn't be categorized LOL

the sun, sand and surf are wonderful, and restorative :0) can't believe I only have 2 more days then back to the cold :0)

hope all is well with you my friend!

Doug said...

Hear, hear!

ME Strauss said...

Hi Trace,
I wish myself there in the sun with you being our uncategorized selves there together. :)
Liz

ME Strauss said...

Doug,
So glad to know that you're listening to me. :)
Hope your holidays are still merry.
Liz

Cheryl said...

Blessed are the peacemakers, even when their text formatting has added wiggly bits.

Nice post.

Trée said...

Liz, I made you some cookies. Hope you left room for a little dessert after dinner. :-)

ME Strauss said...

Hi Cheryl,
I wrote about those wiggly bits. whathappened to my comment about them? hmmm.
I'm so confused.
Liz

ME Strauss said...

Hi Tree,
I was just thinking of you.
Now you entice me with cookies. You got it.
I'm there.
Liz

Melly said...

Well, you know me. I love, heck I live, for a good debate. I don't call them arguments, and even if I did that would be fine, because like you said, every point of view has value (I mean, unless it's Hitler's). That's why a debate is actually something that validates others' point of view, gives them a stage on which to speak it.

But, and that's a big but, as opinionated as I am I don't think I'd sacrifice any life (mine or others) for a cause, perhaps in a situation, but not for a cause.

ME Strauss said...

Melly,
Every time you comment I smile. I love your heart so. It's so strong and filled with purpose. You are a rare one, one I admire.
Liz