“Misunderstanding” feels like a recurring theme for me. I have early memories of feeling misunderstood. The first memory is from second grade. Early in the year, one bright, sunny morning, we arrived at school to the sight of colorful, semi-psychedelic, white, construction-paper name-tags taped to all our desks. Our teacher, Mrs. Woodward announced that her daughter, made them for us. She explained explained her daughter used markers whose ink glowed in the dark!
Excited by the concept, I immediately cupped my hands around my name-tag, hoping to see the glowing effect. Mrs. Woodward caught sight of me and said accusingly, “What’s wrong Jon? Did you already rip your name-tag?”
“No, Mrs. Woodward. I just wanted to see it glow.” I replied sheepishly.
The second memory is third grade. In December of 1968, the Apollo 8 crew, Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders circled the moon ten times. More notable perhaps, they photographed the entire Earth for the first time. The photo is credited in part, with launching the environmental movement and is listed as one of the Life Magazine’s one-hundred photographs that changed the world. It is also the picture I defiled with a quote to start this post.
So when Miss DePeau, my third grade teacher started telling us about the mission, she asked “Does anyone know what NASA is?”
Smartass Jon immediately replies, “Yeah, it’s a city in the Bahamas!”
I made the pun because, as a technology-obsessed, eight-year old living in the Nation’s Capital, in a household that put a high value on familiarity with current events, it was impossible for me ot imagine that any of my classmates Did not know what NASA was, or what was going on.
Miss DePeau just snickered and said, “Oh Jon, you’re confused. That’s Nassau.”
I sat silent, stewing that my teacher didn’t appreciate my wit. It still irks me.
So why do these two trivial moments of misunderstanding stick in my craw. Do they somehow validate me feeling that I’ve been misunderstood my entire life?
Toward the end of my marriage, working with my therapist, I came to realize one of my challenges. I often assumed my wife understood how I felt, without me explicitly, or even implicitly telling her how I felt. Inevitably, I’d be disappointed when she betrayed those feelings I relied on telepathy to share with her.
Evidently, telephathy ain’t a great foundation for a relationship.
In my work toward authenticity, I have to keep reminding myself to articulate how I feel. Not surprisingly, It turns out the whole telepathy thing is a hard habit for me to drop. I suspect, and hope, as I become more confident in myself, as I continue not feeling broken, I’ll be more capable of putting my feelings out there and the sense people don’t “get me” will fade into a memory.
Stay in touch. Connect
P.S. I know. The quote has nothing to do with the topic. Sorta. It turns out there are no poignant quotes on telephathy or mind-reading. Go figure.
P.P.S. I love Yusuf Islam’s cover of Eric Burdon’s most excellent song. Enjoy!