I have noticed an unfortunate tendency in myself to test friendships and family relationships through waiting for the other party to get in touch with me. I am usually the one to call or write, and perhaps this has set me up to be disappointed when people get used to me being the first to get in touch and don't think to contact me because they feel I will always do so eventually.
They are right, I almost always will get in touch with them before they try me. This isn't bad, but I sometimes interpret their silence as a perceived lack of enthusiasm for spending time with me. I fear that they don't care about me at all. This is probably not true, but it feels bad to want people to want me around and feel like they don't care either way. It can become quite a large dragon in my head, and result in me deciding to test the relationship by withdrawing and waiting to see if they approach me.
The ineffective part of this test is that no matter what the other party does, I find a way of holding onto my doubt of their affections. If they call me the very next minute, I wasn't actually testing them anyway and the thought is forgotten for now. Or, if it takes them a few days, and they sound thrilled to get in touch, I still have a snarly glum dragon in my head that tells me I should still doubt their interest in me. Maybe they only got in touch because they need something. Maybe they called because they felt bad for me. Maybe they really do like me, but not enough to make me a more prominent part of their world.
It is laughable that I have a desire to be the center of everyone else's worlds! It is hard enough to hold the center of my own. And truthfully, when I find myself in the center of several other people's attentions, I am uncomfortable and unable to keep up with the demands I believe I will have to live up to in order to remain there.
Most of us want to be the master of our own destinies, and so we believe that the more people that hold us in constant regard, the easier it will be to control our future. We will be able to harness their attentions and launch that energy toward the future we want. Ironically, as more people hold us in their attention we actually lose more control and start to take on a kind of collective will. Our momentum may be bolstered by others, but equally it can become altered or even reversed. Presidents are a great example of this, or any public leader. We all have experienced mob consciousness in one form or another. It is when we break from the collective flow and start to think on our own and try to direct the flow ourselves that we feel out of harmony with everything around us.
It has been my experience that I like to try to fulfill the wishes of each person who is paying attention to me. If it is just Derek, that is good. I won't always succeed, but each disappointment is relatively minor. Once I add in my work companions, things get a little more complicated. Add in a circle of friends and it gets harder. Add in clients, it gets more difficult. Add in family, it becomes even crazier. What is hilarious is that I can get swept up in what I think all of these people want of me, but it is actually just my own dragon babbling away in my head.
To be the master of my own destiny, I will first have to realize what I am all about. If I am busy trying to get everyone else to back me up and help me along, I actually get confused as to what I am doing and why I am doing it at all. I try to be impressive and to do everything in a grandiose fashion. Bigger location for work, more difficult pieces to work on, more appointments. Move to a new house, bigger kitchen, better meals. Paint to show off or bolster tattooing skills, to have more to show, to become worthy of teaching and therefore offer even more at the studio.
What I am learning is that my desires are more simple than I make them out to be, and if I could just accept them for the humble things they are, I would be much more content. I want to enjoy tattooing. Enjoying tattooing means enjoying the clients, enjoying the drawings and stories, enjoying the process of applying the tattoo and enjoying maintaining my space. It doesn't mean continual expansion. It doesn't mean constantly upgrading or bringing new workers in. These things only add stress right now, and will come about naturally if I can just sit down and enjoy the tattooing!
I want to enjoy learning more about energy and how our bodies work. I want to enjoy learning to calm my mind down and to be able to enjoy time that isn't spent running around being confused and upset all the time. All I need to do is relax and show up to class when I can. Stressing over a missed class due to sickness is silly. Stressing over meditating is ridiculous!
And when it comes to my friends and family and my desire to be a greater part of their lives, I can realize that they are all important to me. I am important to them, too. We can't always spend time together, and if I suddenly had to spend time with all of my friends and family, I would be overwhelmed by that, too, because I am blessed to have a lot of them!
I think it is true that we all do what we can. None of us can keep up with the crazy amount of demands floating around in the ethers. We can choose to accept this, and be happy when it all works out and we get to have a meal with a friend, or share a phone call with a loved one. And we can accept when we are too busy to call or too tired or sick to get much done. We can realize that everyone else is the same as we are, so there is no need to get angry at them if we wanted them to call and they can't or didn't know we were sad and lonely. They could be feeling the very same thing.