Sunday, 2 May 2010

Does the Method Matter?

Sometimes I find life so very frustrating. Things I can see that are very obvious to me are things others cannot see. The reverse is also true. They say patience is a virtue. I pretend I am patient, but really I’m not. Beneath my calm exterior lies a mind that runs a million miles an hour. Sometimes this is an asset sometimes it isn’t, particularly when your body moves as slow as mine does. A million scenarios play out in my head that never come to fruition. Every contingency is accounted for. In these imaginary scenes I am brave, I am strong, and I say the things that are on my mind. Reality is far different.

And so I come here to say the things that I am too cowardly to say. Last week instead of writing here I wrote to some friends documenting the events of the last six months. They know me well in one of my two lives: the calm controlled bureaucrat who never second-guesses himself. However what they did not know about was the emotional rollercoaster of the past six months. Without even realising it, it seems that I have become very good at compartmentalising my emotions. Writing the events out in chronological order was briefly cathodic until I realised how many of the little things that I deemed so important were not included. I think I must have written about a 1000 words all up, but everything I was feeling would surpass the word count of my 100,000 word thesis. I have become very good at writing down my emotions not so good at verbalising them.

So I stopped writing here for a short period because this place has become somewhat of a crutch, because now I know that just about everyone important in my life comes here to read what I am feeling. That’s OK to a certain extent, but it has become a way for me to duck very important conversations that I need to have. It is so easy to think ‘I don’t need to say this out loud because I’ve already written it out countless times’. Perhaps actions speak louder than words, but does a conversation have more meaning than a thought provoking note or letter? Does the method matter as long as it said one way or the other? Does the answer to this question change depending on the topic of conversation? I have been weighing up these questions for many months and every time I think I am powerful enough to have a one to one conversation, I retreat back into the written word. The computer, along with the wheelchair it seems has become a physical barrier without me even realising it.

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine last week. They had just completed the Myers Briggs personality test, in order to gauge their own personality and they were asking me whether their results matched my perception of them. This test has extreme measurements, are you thinking or feeling? Extrovert or introvert? I have taken this test twice eight years apart, each time with the same very definite result, but as strange as it sounds I adopted the same personality when taking the test: the clinical, academic type who is confident, even a dash arrogant, a solid decision maker, strong and brave. I wonder if however my results would be different if the test measured my emotional intelligence alone. Sometimes I think that I can be very emotionally intelligent, other times I feel like an emotional cripple that is as weak if not weaker than my exterior. This seems to be the case recently. Until I am brave enough to verbalise the important feelings to the right people it will remain so.

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