We get to know people.
Spend time together.
Pet each other's dogs.
And then you fall in step together. Walking through your now combined journey. You pick each other up on the bad days. You help - guide ... watch over them.
And you learn them.
You learn their lines. Their hurts. Their caverns and the hard edges of their hearts. You learn their anger and their regrets and their good. You absorb them. They become a part of you. A thread of your life.
In the learning and knowing, we somehow start to become comfortable in our gained knowledge. We carry what we know in our back pocket. And then we grin at the rest of the world. "I know her so well," we call out. "I know every part of her. I have her figured out."
And you start to believe it, too. You start believing that you know all of the parts. Categories are formed. Descriptors. A list of "Here She Is" ... and you begin to worship it as The Shining Truth.
Because we don't like to be wrong, you see.
A girl laughs to loudly one too many times. Flighty.
A boy gets drunk at a company party. Frat boy.
Unprepared for a meeting. In over their head.
And we lose track of The Categories, because we've created so many of them. We so often forget that we're all just people desperately (and when I say desperately here, I mean it in that we-only-have-so-much-time kind of way) trying to make it through.
Just the very next minute.
We forget to consider each other's always evolving stories. In our comfortable, supreme knowledge, we begin to assume.
And that is when we start to miss things. BIG things.
The Categories are so often wrong because they're so firm. Immovable. But people are fluid. Situations are fluid. Days, moments are fluid.
A girl wastes her tax refund check on a new purse. People call her irresponsible.
Because: The Categories.
(There is a safety here too, I think. A solace in that space of lists and order. That knowledge. That I-know-the-real-truth scoff.)
Perhaps though, her mom just died. And maybe, for a second, she felt better with the red cross body Kate Spade bag*. And how do we know? How do we get to judge?
My point here is that once we push people into what we think they are, we have a very hard time recognizing what they aren't. And in the space of are and are not, there is a sea. Battles are waged in that water. And to cross the ocean, one person will have to relent. Admit the mistaken assumption. Pull back and take a deep breath.
And reassign The Category.
Recognizing what people ARE is easy. Recognizing what they are not ... well.
That just takes ... fierce diligence.
*I maybe bought it. My mom didn't just die, but damn I had a week and it was on sale and you know what? You would've done it, too.
. About Moi .
I love, love, love flannel sheets and I am really passionate about lists on post it notes and most of the time I'm sad that no one else is as excited as I am about Diet Mountain Dew. I also adore run-on sentences.
He saw her before he saw
anything else in the room.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald
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