[Private journal entry written on Monday, July 16, 2012]
I saw something interesting on TV this week . . . there was a guest on a talk show who had been abused as a kid. He said that until he learned a better way, his anger had been expressed through depression and extreme empathy towards other people . . .
The idea of unexpressed anger turning into depression is not a new concept for me, but the idea of it turning into extreme empathy is . . .
I wonder if that could explain why I cry so easily when I hear other people’s stories or see them experiencing sadness . . .
I had a piano lesson with James a couple of days ago. His daughter was not with him, so I knew that would give me the opportunity to talk to him about the “touch” thing . . .
Interestingly enough, during his lesson, he reached out to touch me on the arm . . . then he caught himself and apologized . . .
After his lesson, we were looking at our respective calendars so we could schedule his next lesson . . . it was the perfect opportunity for me to casually bring it up . . .
Me: By the way, I’m in a very different place now from where I was a year ago when I talked to you about my not feeling overly comfortable with you touching me. At this point, I’m way more comfortable with you . . . and I’m in a better place with touch in general because I’ve been working on that in therapy. So, bottom line, I’m okay now with you touching me . . . if you happen to touch me, you don’t need to apologize.
James: (With relief in his voice) Oh, good . . . because it is my natural proclivity to connect with people through touch . . . as a way to build trust . . . I do it almost without thinking because it is such a natural part of how I interact with people.
Me: Yeah, I’m aware of that. I appreciate your being sensitive to my needs and being willing to do things differently when I needed you to . . . but you don’t have to be so careful about that anymore.
James: Okay, thank you! I’m happy to do that!
I didn’t say anything about capturing the conversation in an email and “cc’ing” his wife because it didn’t seem to be that noteworthy of a conversation. I mean, it was a big deal to me, but it didn’t seem to be such a big deal to him; it was a pretty light-hearted moment.
So, that’s how I handled it.
James actually seemed very relieved . . . like it had really been a challenge for him to remember to not touch me.
I imagine it has been a significant challenge!
Yesterday, I received an email response from George:
Hi Marie – thank you!
I appreciate your links, and I appreciate you being open to exploring with me in front of everyone :)
I’m not at a place to take on learning the piano right now, but soon :)
Love and Abundance,
George Ira Carroll
Today, I responded:
Hi, George -
I wanted to tell you that I’m amazed that you checked out YouTube videos to learn to play . . . and it sounds like you actually were able to gain some valuable knowledge that way and develop some skills that way . . . how amazing and ingenious!
I look forward to hearing from you when you are at a place to take on that adventure! It is wise that you are waiting until you can dedicate regular time and energy to it.
Until later . . .
So . . . I guess that’s the end of that . . .
I’m not really wanting to chase anyone right now . . . at least not too much . . . I guess I’ve had enough of that to last for a while . . .