Talking to my sister about internet presence for artists yesterday.
“I know what they want,” I told her. “They want me to explain the internet and software in a way that they understand, using what they already know. They want me to simplify it enough that they don’t have to stretch and think in new ways.
“The problem is that software works in its own context. It’s a context that is deliberately made easy to understand, but it is very specific. As the gal said at the end of her Computer 101 class, ‘Oh! I see! Computers don’t do what you want them to do, they do what you tell them to do.’
“If you aren’t willing to see things in a new way and attend to new details, aren’t willing to open your mind, computers will never open themselves to you. Mastery will escape you.
“In that frustration it’s easy to blame the teacher for failing to make the process understandable at your current level of knowledge, to make it accessible without you working to understand new systems and ways of thinking.”
I can show you how I think, express how I feel, can explain how everything makes sense to me. But if you don’t choose to open to that, well, then I just look messy and inconsiderate and crazy and weird and deliberately off-putting and nasty and all sorts of other bad things.
All I have to do to get you to understand is to put it in terms that you get. Is that an unreasonable thing to ask, people say. After all, they are smart enough to understand everything that they have grasped to this point, so if they don’t understand what I am offering, well, whose fault is that?
This is when I start to pound my head hard in frustration. I slam my mind to try and stop the feelings, thrash my noggin to try to regain the mental discipline to just do what others ask to understand me, to make myself simple enough to be lovable rather than a porcupine.
Can I ask other people to understand, to feel, to grow, to heal, to grok on my schedule? Is that a reasonable expectation? Or do I need to let them come to opening in their own time and own way?
That chasm between their understanding and my expression is their identification of where I am overly complicated, overly emotional, overly cerebral, overly rude, overly demanding, overly messy.
So I pound my head more as my heart breaks and end up in a pool of my own mess.
It’s so simple. But not if you aren’t ready for it.