Interpretation and perception is not an accurate science and memory is not always an honest translation of what actually happened.
This is something I learned a long time ago, but the mind is usually a forgetful thing, so here is a reminder if what I learned.
I was young (about 12, I think) when my Grandmother passed away. I remember feeling confused. I knew what death was but I was unable to process how final the word is. I cried but I wasn’t sure why. I was sad but I wasn’t sure what the sadness meant; I just knew I was surrounded by emotion and the room was so heartbroken, so intense, and although I could not interpret this clearly, I know that I felt intensely.
Previous to this, my oldest brother had not spoken with my father for quite some time before the passing of my Grandmother. There was a rift between the two; there were hard feelings, resentment, and there was anger between them that seemed unbreakable to me.
My oldest brother showed up at the funeral home without notice. The room was crowded before the service and there I was, standing next to The Old Man, his arm on my shoulder or perhaps my little hand was held in his. I remember the Old Man was warm to me. I felt his love because although The Old Man might have struggled to cry or feel as he did at the time; he was very comforting to me while I processed my emotion.
After a few “Hello” and “How are you” conversations with different people and different family members, a man walked up to me and The Old Man and said, “I’m sorry about your mother.”
That man was my oldest brother who appeared nearly unrecognizable to my father.
The Old Man asked, “Do I know you?” with a genuine expression of curiosity on his face.
“Of course, you know me,” said my oldest brother. That’s when The Old Man recognized him and called out his oldest son’s name. It seemed The Old Man was surprised to see his oldest son.
I was there as witness to this; however, in the years following, I heard this story retold by both The Old Man and my oldest brother. And of course, neither story matches the other. There was The Old Man’s version of the story, which I heard retold by him a few times. And then there was my oldest brother’s version, which I only recall hearing once. Nevertheless, neither story was the same. Both versions were painted with different intention, different energy, and different shades of emotion. There were three sides to the story. There always is. On the one side was The Old Man’s version and on the other side was my oldest brother’s —yet, somewhere between the two remained the accurate version of what actually happened.
In this case, I was the third party between the two, young and unbiased by emotion or opinion. I was there to see this and the difference between the two stories has always fascinated me.
I find it fascinating but I too fall in this category. We all fall in this column in one way or another. We all have our own versions and somewhere between the versions of what we thought took place is an honest assessment of what actually happened.
Something I learned is my interpretation and my perception is mine; it belongs to me and it doesn’t mean people will see, think, or feel the same as I do.
In past relationships with old friends going over old times that meant the world to me; I learned the time we spent together doesn’t always have the same interpretation nor does this lead to the same meaning. In the case of days long gone and in cases which we laughed about the days of way back when, I learned the joke was not really funny to the others around me. However, I thought it was funny. I thought the world was laughing with me, which led to an inaccurate version of who I was or how I was perceived.
I think we are mathematical beings. I think we are a calculation of events that were pertinent to our lives. I see out minds almost like an old adding machine with the 3” wide, white-paper, rolled up and feeding through the adding machine as the numbers tally, add, and subtract. And like most equations, there is often an error in calculation. As I see it, we are a series of imperfections and misconceptions; we are a mental combination of miscalculations and yet, we continue with an inaccurate math, adding up like that old antique adding machine, calculating numbers that aren’t even correct to come up with an iaccurate sum for all occasions.
What I mean is emotion causes miscalculation. Get it?
An instance from our past or the emotion from past experience can sometimes create an inaccurate view and somehow skew our vision to see things in an unclear way.
In previous posts to my public journals, I have read responses and opinions of my words. I have read the reader’s response about the meaning behind my words and they mention the symbolism of which I intended to use to give the reader a sense of understanding. These opinions on what I mean or what I’m trying to say are rarely accurate.
I receive messages sometimes, usually long, misspelled ones —sometimes they are understandable and sometimes not, and they tell me about the things I write. And some tell me they agree with my thoughts and some tell me they don’t. Some will tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about. And some will thank me for writing something so personal for them and on their behalf; meanwhile, and one most occasions, whatever I wrote had little if anything to do with that reader. Hence, the word interpretation comes to mind.
We are all a formation of past events, opinions, feelings, and in combination, we are all unique in our own right and similar. We neither better nor worse than each other, nor is any of us an closer to perfection.
I used to take outside interpretation and the perception of others personally. One day, I decided I want to be happy so I made the choice to relieve myself of that kind of energy.
I cannot concern myself with the way others see, think, or interpret me or the rest of the world. That’s not my job to do this.
At the end of the day and during the final moments before I rest my head on the pillow, I see my reflection in the bathroom mirror and realize the interpretation of what I see here is what matters most.
A long time ago I learned the committees in my head are sometimes run by a roomful of childish response. So rather than respond like a child or respond out of emotion and suffer the emotional strain of inaccurate perception; and instead of behaving on behalf of misinterpretation, I learned that sometimes I need to take a step back. I needed to learn that thoughts are not always fact. Feelings are not fact either. These are just things that paint the versions of what we see.
I guess what i’m trying to say here folks is I just want to see clearly now.