Learning While Adventuring
When I said that my trip was “eye-opening” in my previous post, I was referring to a few experiences, this one in particular. Let me explain.
Things that I know about myself: I can be pushy/bossy/stubborn/whatever you want to call it. I can also be overly helpful when mayyyyybe someone didn’t even want to be helped. These are character flaws that I have been distantly aware of.
After the corporate training in Baltimore was done for the day (two Fridays ago now), I went out to a local pub, on the suggestion of a friend, and sat at the bar. My plan was to just sit there and eat some food, drink some beer, and maybe, just maybe meet some friendly locals. Shortly after arriving I met the “friendly local” sitting next to me, a bartender from another place off for the night, who seemed to be friends with the bartenders of this bar. The two working bartenders, the “friendly local” off-duty bartender, and myself kept jumping into each other’s conversations so I scooted to the seat next to the friendly local eventually and we ended up talking about his current relationship.
This is a thing I do. I talk to people about their intimate details because that’s real, I hate small talk. I ask questions and I love listening. I love getting to know a person for more than their superficial representations. Maybe I should be a therapist after all. . .
At first my new friend was just showing me photos and talking about how he and his “lady friend” had plans that night that she backed out of. Me being curious about things that are none of my business (stranger’s relationships), I asked more about how they met and what they like to do in the city. After some more talking it turns out that the “lady friend” is actually married. WHAT? But. . . (it gets better) she got married while he was dating her and he only found out through (getting better. . . .) Facebook. UMMMM. . . . WHAT?
This sounds like insanity, right? And maybe you’re thinking “C’mon Jessie, he’s just trying to play on your sympathy to try to get with you.” but I assure you that is not what happened here.
He goes on explaining to me the timeline of how all of the insanity went down (which apparently was over 2 years) and 5 minutes in I stop him so I can pull out my travel journal, rip a clean page out, and document this whole mess. For the next 30 minutes I took notes, in chronological order, on paper, so that he could see – written down – just how ridiculous this all sounded. “Unsolicited Advice Jessie” was in go mode and he didn’t seem to mind, in fact he’d point out where I could write in other shitty things that happened.
After that unsolicited advice exercise he ended up taking me around to a few other local bars where he knew the people and I met new friends. I took a lyft back to my hotel and he walked home – NO SHENANIGANS. (ok, but even if there was shenanigans that would be totally fine because I’m my own person and you over there can just calm down) It was a really fun night out in a strange city thanks to what I’m writing up as, an alright guy.
In my venture to figure out what I bring to a relationship and what I want from my next partnership, I’ve been trying to uncover potential flaws of mine that I’m not readily aware of. My theory behind “uncovering” these quirks is so that I can have an idea of where trouble may arise in a relationship that I can help control on my own part. And I’m not necessarily talking about FLAWS, because that’s a strong word, maybe just habits that could be taken the wrong way in a relationship?
The day after completing the “why am I with this person?” exercise with my new Baltimore friend (read: complete stranger who knows nothing about me and my plethora of quirks) I realized I had done it again. I just up and gave my opinion then proceeded to point out how it was right, to an ABSOLUTE STRANGER! I am aware that my “unsolicited advice” and in turn, my bossiness can come across as rude, domineering, being on a “high horse”, or simply annoying. I know, I fully understand. Where I’m convinced I’m being helpful, others may find me annoyingly bothersome (or, if I find the right person, endearingly misguided??).
What to do with your Findings
I’m currently single and still attached to the idea that I have the perfect partner in crime out there (perfect FOR ME! not actually PERFECT) so while I’ve been on the path to figuring myself out, I’ve been looking at what I find from the perspective of how it would work in a potential partnership as well.
In previous relationships I have been woefully ignorant of my own shortcomings and I have dated rather nice people who were either too nice to call me out, tolerated my sh*t, or were stifled by my bossiness and thus never brought these flaws to my attention. OR, I was just running around with my fingers stuffed in my ears pretending I was perfect despite the shouts from the crowd stating the opposite. Who knows?
My point is that once these potentially irksome habits come to light in my daily living, I take note of them. Having a bipolar brain has made it difficult to really take stock of who I am, what I have to offer, where I can improve, and where my best qualities are. It’s like there’s a constant static around what I truly want to get at. From the ages of 13 to 29 I lived most of my life in the reactionary mode. I was constantly reacting to situations rather than actively creating my own situations (or learning to view life differently). Being successfully medicated for the last 3+ years has given me the space between my thoughts and my actions to step back and observe more, react less. It’s fantastic. I’m taking this new ability and using it to better myself, for myself, my friends, and whatever new relationships lay ahead.
I’m finding my potential flaws, assessing them, and figuring out where they fit into my best version of myself – one experience at a time.