I was making the bed yesterday – it’s nice, you should try it sometime – and an unexpectedly contemplative thought fluttered through my brain.
So you know how on television, in movies, in books – you know how when someone is struggling internally with something? Like a Big Decision or Big Secret or Big Problem? And us as the viewer/reader/observer – we know what’s up and we’re all captivated (sometimes) and thinking “Oh, how will this Big Decision / Secret / Problem be resolved? How will it
unexpectedly burst forth from this protagonist in a fountain of mental garbage?
Depending on the intention of that character’s creator, we look forward to or dread this emotional volcano (side note: I’ve found my tastes lately lean more toward the “too real it makes me cringe” level of entertainment. Anyone else? I haven’t put forth the effort to explore why that is but I bet that’ll be a fun adventure).
But sometimes – a mitigating factor is introduced. Another character picks up on the cues given off by the one experiencing the Big Decision / Secret / Problem. Those cues can be Super Obvious: Hernando hasn’t bathed himself in a week and he appears to be sweating vodka, maybe something is wrong or Not So Obvious: Lillian didn’t remember to put the cap back on that pen. Something is definitely wrong.
And we, viewer/reader/observer, nod our head. Yes, how perceptive of that friend to notice the other’s struggle. I, too, would have arrived at similar conclusions after seeing that pen drying up on the table.
But, like, would you? These made-up personas possess sometimes superhuman powers of observation and empathy, and the Hernandos IRL aren’t necessarily openly Leaving Las Vegasing themselves.
This is a drawn-out way for me to say that we should all check in on our people, whether we think they “need” it or not. I know, I know. You’ve heard this a hundred times. I’d heard it too. But it wasn’t 115% clear to me until that analogy materialized in my brain because it’s drilled into us – and this is WHETHER YOU ACTUALLY BELIEVE IT OR NOT, the stereotype exists – that people who need help will eventually reach a point where they’ll ask for it or that there exist enough perceptive others to notice something is off and confront it head-on.
Happy New Year, y’all! And if you’re the type to resolute things on this arbitrary calendar day, here’s a quick and easy and rewarding one: Ask your people how they are, and mean it, and listen to their response, and probe if you have to, and make sure it’s ABSOLUTELY clear – both in your word and deed – that you care about and love and treasure the ever-living fuck out of them.
May 2019 be a year marked by compassion and a satisfying, yet moderate amount of cheese-flavored snacks.