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Flipping The Switch

October 30, 2013

I’ve been at this for a week now, being on the “positive path”. Right now it feels like a backlog of anger and sadness and everything else I am trying desperately not to act on instinctively, impulsively.

Kadie seemed to have some issues and I am starting to get the feeling one of them is me. We are like magnets facing the same way: we really want nothing more then to stick together and take on the world…but we can’t seem to stop pushing each other away. But that’s a blog post for a different day.

It has only been a week but I am constantly having to stop myself and remind myself that there is a new way. One of the setbacks, especially this weekend, is that I am not what one would call a “pre-thinker”. If I thought about things before I said them I probably would have a completely different life right now. As an ass clown with a mouth the size of a small elephant, here I am. I find myself walking away from conversations, sometimes mid-sentence. More often though, they are fights. Or arguments. Or something else I have probably started. If not started, I most certainly added my fuel to whoever’s fire.

But less and less these thoughts are coming after the fact and now during. I think this is a good thing except for the complete derailment of any previous thoughts and actions as the flip on the positive path gets flipped and I find myself at the next cross roads. The switch always ends up in my hands. I don’t always know what to do or say. Sometimes I apologize for the most smallest the smallest things or something I know I don’t owe an apology for. This is not me trying to be apologetic. This is me knowing (or at least thinking) I owe an apology…even if I don’t know why.

I don’t pick up on facial/social cues very well so I can’t always be sure when or where someone became offended or angered or bothered by what I’ve done. By a certain point even I can tell when someone is upset but figuring out why, or how they got there, that’s harder. Unless you breakdown crying on your knees right when I said it, I probably don’t get that it hurt you. If you tell me it hurt you I still might not get it. I’ll understand the words but I won’t always pick up the meaning. Maybe that’s why I have always like words: I can put it bluntly enough even I can understand it.

I’m trying to be better about the words I use and listening to the words of others. I gave up on facial cues a long time ago. I can usually discern three of the big six: anger, happiness and sadness. But even the big six can hold me up (I don’t even know how to look disgusted without thinking I look angry).

Psychology professor Brian Knutson had a portion of his piece “Facial Expressions of Emotion Influence Interpersonal Trait Inferences” published in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior (Fall ’96). It discussed the further possibility of not only reading a person’s emotional state from their facial expressions but also their personal traits and immediate actions. It seemed like facial palm-reading to me. I read it with all the believability of science fiction. But I guess if I can suspend my beliefs enough for lightsabers and backwards talking puppets, I can suspend them for the well being of myself and those around me and flip that switch as many times as it takes in a day. Better to read the writing on the walls a little late then the expression on your face never.

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