When I was a child my mother had a friend, Marion. Marion was married to Mr. Thomas, but I am not sure where Marion was from. She had a very strange accent…or at least how she formed her words was odd to me. For example, instead of saying “wash” she would pronounce it “worsh” and when she referred to one of her sons, Darryl, she would say it “Daaaahrel”. This always stuck out to me. I found it fascinating and a little bit exotic. I don’t remember ever saying anything about it though. I think, even as a child, I was aware that it was the subtle differences in people that made them intriguing rather than off-putting or threatening.
Then in high school I met a girl who spoke like she had a Yorkshire accent. This was not an actual accent because she was not from that region of the world. Both of her parents and both sets of her grandparents were 100% Canadian. But she had this fascinating way of speaking. I was dating her friend, and it was actually she who first mentioned the accent. That was when I was informed that her friend was born with some kind of a speach impediment and that the result of a few years of therapy was this accent that would land her in Yorkshire, according to any linguist worth their weight in salt. This I then found even more fascinating.
It got me to wondering just how many factors are involved in making up things that we just take for granted within ourselves. For example, I am a tetrachromat. For those of you who are unaware of what that is, it means that I have 4 cones in my eyes instead of the average 3. Color blind people have only 2 cones. Being a tetrachromat, I am able to perceive 100 million distinct colors. This is why when I describe the color of a red car, I won’t just say “red car”. It will be burgundy, wine, scarlet, vermillion, blood red, fire engine red, the list goes on. This is what is likely behind my artistic nature as well as the fact that I tend to see the colors of the aura way before I perceive the human form that the aura belongs to.
But what, in all the millions of things that could possibly have influence over the genetic makeup, was the ONE thing that determined that I would end up a tetrachromat, when one of my siblings is color blind? How does that work? Surely it is not just the roll of the dice. It makes me wonder if my mother did something like eat water mellon before conceiving me, whereas when my sibling was conceived she had eaten cauliflower? I will never know now. And she would likely not remember anyway.
It really makes one take pause and consider what is underneath, behind and entrenched in the way people speak, but also in the way they act. Admittedly, I can be very quick to anger when it comes to someone acting like a total idiot or in some abusive way. I have a very low threshold of tolerance for that sort of thing. But I still wonder what the heck has led them to thinking that that was either acceptable or normal behavior, when there are so many other options at hand? Sometimes I will ask them. It is amazing what will come forth.
I asked a roommate why it was that he always took a shower after having a bowel movement. I know. Too much information! Thus I will not mention his name. But I did ask him. His reply was that his mother taught him that wiping too often can lead to irritation of the anus and possibly lead to damage that can then lead to hemorrhoids. She suggested that after 3 wipes if you are not still clean just take a shower and let the water do the rest. I think his mother would have been a prime candidate for owning a boudet. I don’t know if her information was correct or not, but at least I knew why he was staying so long in the bathroom and having so many showers. The alternative was a little wierd.
It really can be quite amazing to discover these sorts of things about people. And it makes one understand how important it is to not make assumptions based upon someone’s behavior. There could be various situations and circumstances behind the scenes that motivate them to behave certain ways. This is why it is so important to ask questions and find answers.
Just last night I was having some intestinal distress. It was very uncomfortable and the result of that was that I got a wee bit short with my dog and with my partner. Okay, snippy. Okay, I was a total ass. But when I finally was feeling better I could see that I had been an ass and so apologized for that immediately. When in agony, a person does not even know that what they are saying is possibly hurtful or insulting. The mind goes to the shortest, quickest, communication possible, which usually is laced with some expletives for emphasis. But this can leave those around you feeling abused. Rightly so. My partner knew I was in crisis because I am not normally that way. So he gave me room to just be in my agony and work it through, knowing that if I needed him he would be there. When all was said and done, everything became quite peaceful again.
It made me consider how often I have had interactions with people in chronic pain and how I have noticed an abruptness and sometimes a rudeness to their communication style. Without knowing of the chronic pain, an outsider would be left thinking that this person was a total douche bag. But when you find the reason underneath their communication style, it all begins to make sense.
The way we speak, be it with a particular accent or with a particular tone or a particular attitude, speaks volumes to those around us. But those volumes may actually be inaccurately written because of assumptions made. Sometimes it is a good exercise to observe how others react and respond to our own communication. Do we need to alter the way we speak for clarity of intent? Do they need to alter their assumptions about us based upon their own biases? Is there a way to find a common language that we both can understand? It is worth the exploration.