Thursday, 23 May 2013

No Two Are Alike

I'm a people watcher. They are so intriguing. I'd love to be one of those scientists (or TV show personalities) who does experiments on the kaleidoscope of reactions people have to different stimuli. Maybe I could make my own. Stand on the corner and secretly video tape the distinctive reaction hundreds of people would have if I told them it looked like they had a bleeding nose.

Not really. But the reactions would by diverse. Some would initially recoil in embarrassment (I saw someone cry once when told they had food on their face). Others would instantly feel gratitude for the help. Some would stop and talk. Others would run away. Our reaction to anything is unmatchably interpreted through innumerable filters. From learned filters to the basic I had no sleep filter (oh, the reactions I have suffered from that one!).

All of these life filters have been long and complex in the making. Pieced together bit by bit since birth by our parents, siblings, friends, teachers, TV shows... Formed and then chipped away again until they are smaller. Or reinforced and grown larger by the unique betides of day to day life. Two people can live in the same home and be part of identical major events but their perception of each will greatly differ because of each and every little morsel of uniqueness and all the incongruities in their lives.

My brother and I differ in so many ways. Where one of us took an I'll-never-do-that reaction to an aspect of our childhood, the other had a this-is-the-way-it-should-be take. What one is drawn to the other runs from. Where one sees appreciation for something, the other sees frustration. Where one learned a lesson, the other was oblivious to the contributing factors. Here we are living different lives, and even more amazing, remembering a completely different world than the other!

Does he remember the same people? Like Michael with the long hair who took us in the train? Does he remember the same frustrations? Like being made to bundle up in winter and then taking it off and hiding it before we got to school? Does he recall the same food? Like the broccoli grown in our own garden that was covered with green worms? Talking about our past is like reminiscing of different worlds. Some very unfortunate similarities of course, but more differences than you would expect.

There are more disparities between people than you would speculate at first examination. What one person finds offensive another may see as a blessing. What is a want to someone is a need to their neighbor (Satellite TV? I don't think you need it). What is a humongous feat to one is a walk in the park to someone else (I think you must roll your eyes when I tell you of my pride over my great 'accomplishments'). What would be rude to this person may be necessary to that person. What makes a particular individual outright uncomfortable may warmly welcome another. Some have few words while others ramble (hmmm, how long is this blog post getting?).

Another intriguing difference in people is their honesty in their reaction. Some people say it is okay when it definitely is a problem. They first and foremost don't want to offend (my biggest developing pet peeve right now is the response "I'll be fine"). Some people exhibit nervousness in all their reactions which might give the situation a different light than they intended. Some people are quiet when excited, and in contrast others are loud even in normal conversation. Some people appear sad every day while others are so flipping happy no matter what is tormenting them inside.

I remember going to school with a girl who always appeared to have quite a blithe spirit. I was jealous of her ability to keep positive, something I could not grasp for even a single moment. Years later I had the pleasure of working with her. To my surprise, her comments and actions, even with her unrelenting grin, made it clear she always worried. I realized that you can't assume how someone is reacting as you don't hear their inner voice. My negative thoughts, unfortunately, were plastered all over my face in plain sight. And I think my face got stuck like that.

But I am thankfully learning peace and joy. And appreciating my uniques. I think chocolate and books are necessities. Company stresses me. Paper money is dirty and gross. I play with and exercise my dogs but like to wash my hands after petting them (therefore they aren't lap dogs). I don't talk well on the phone unless I have to. I would rather read than watch television. I am horrible at finishing a chore. I am a master procrastinator. I am creative. I could never find someone else just like me. And even if I thought I did, I would be wrong.

No two are alike.

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