Yesterday’s prompt asked us to think about having a talk with someone I don’t know very well about their life and their background, and it reminded me of something my department encouraged a few years ago. but first, some backstory:
There was a man I went out with shortly before Cohiba, and I thought the world of him. We worked in the same agency, and understood each other when talking about work problems. He was cute and funny, well-read and considerate. We would email each other linguistically outrageous messages, playing with words. He gave me a gift of O. Henry stories and we would read aloud to each other. He also had a rich and glorious understanding of God and was “intentional” in his service and generosity with others. He loved Battlestar Galactica and first showed me the miniseries, which hooked me.
After a few months together, he got some memories back. Memories of childhood trauma and violation that he buried to protect himself. He told me about this with great shame in his voice, and a short time later, he broke up with me. I think in part because he wanted to process the trauma. But also, I just don’t think he was really that into me. Simple as that.
About the conversation: I transferred to his department, where he was working as a Jesuit Volunteer. (Oh yeah, he had done that, I had done AmeriCorps*VISTA, so we had that in common, too) He brought a number of ideas to the department to help us work better together and to better help the clients.
One of the ideas was a “dyad,” where two people (presumably who don’t know each other very well) would be excused to go out for coffee or lunch and get to know each other better.
Because I was new to the department, I didn’t really know many people that well, but there was one woman in particular, Christina. I had an icky feeling about her, but not for any particular reason. For my dyad, I invited her to get coffee. The conversation was so strained and forced – it was a weird encounter.
Over the years, as I got to know her better, I didn’t like her at all. We never meshed well, and I thought she was entitled and disrespectful. My icky feeling was right – trust the icky feeling!