This Sunday I wanted to continue dissecting the meaning of the word understanding. This time, I want to discuss the idea of different sides. There is always another side, another heart to be broken, another viewpoint to be seen…and can we truly understand the other side? Can we honestly know what it feels like to be on the other side??
After last week’s Philosophy Sunday post, I received a text message about it from a very good friend, Sarah. Sarah is a very intelligent young lady; she is logical, introspective, analytical, opinionated, and deep. I love her! The questions she posed to me following last week’s post combined with the novel I just finished reading and a spot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 3, will be the basis of this weeks post.
Sarah: I love your blog post for today. Such an interesting question. Do you think understanding means to be known by others, or to be known and appreciated/respected by others?
Funky: I think understanding is the acceptance of others, even if they don’t know you. Understanding that you can’t understand everything. And offer respect, because you accept.
Sarah: Understanding that you can’t understand everything. I like that. Because I don’t feel like I understand other people in the sense of what their motivations or intentions or desires are. Or how to respond to others, lol.
Funky: That is one of the hardest things to understand! And most people cannot even answer that question for themselves! “Why did I do that? Honestly?” I’m slowly beginning to accept that I won’t always know the why,,,
Sarah: That is probably true but so frustrating to my analytical brain! Haha a guy actually broke up with me because I asked him why he did/thought/said something too often. And because I’m not Christian, but minor details :p
Funky: You’re telling me!! This former Christian really wants to understand the REASON of life, the meaning, the method, the why’s-this-(bad word)-so-hard….but no. And ha, I had this guy quit being my friend cuz I asked him why he broke up with me, too often. He never did give me an answer. That was my first bf.
Sarah: How is it so hard to just give an answer? That’s so annoying haha.
Funky: Maybe they don’t understand the question?
Sarah: I think a lot of people in general just don’t care about their deeper feelings and motivations. You, Megan (Lollipop), and I are more introspective people by nature, so we’re more able to articulate and understand our feelings.
Funky: Oooh! Very wise!! Too true. Eh, I understand that people suck, generally, haha!
“I don’t feel like I understand other people in the sense of what their motivations or intentions or desires are…” This is so unbelievably frustrating, don’t you think? I have no idea why my first boyfriend broke up with me, and I have little to no idea why I am single now, hahaha! Maybe it is, as it may have been then, because I ask too many questions. I ask too much of people. I want to know people, through and through, so that I can understand their motivations, intentions, and desires. Why does the question, “Why?” bother so many people? What does it really take to dissect your own intentions so that you could possibly give someone else a reasonable answer that they could understand? Of course, I also know that other-side to this particular coin, when you get the straight answer and it is so far beyond what you want to hear that it breaks your little heart…For example: “Why did you not want to go out with me?” Sad eyes and gaping mouth from the young man I posed this question to, “Is it because I’m fat?” …….”Well….yeah….” Oooh! Burn!
I also like the last statement Sarah made, that “a lot of people in general just don’t care about their deeper feelings and motivations.” Very sad, but probably true! Sometimes searching yourself for the deeper meaning often brings to light some unsatisfactory realizations about yourself. Like the young man I just spoke of, he found out he is a shallow jerk, hahaha!
The Dark-Hunter Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon **Possible Spoiler!!!**
“There are three sides to every story: yours, mine, and the truth.” One of my favorite fictional characters, Archeron Parthenopaeus, consistently gives this advice to the men he leads; which is ironic only in the sense that he did not take his own advice and he is a topic of conversation in this blog. “Everyone creates their own reality,” a bit of advice from Archeron’s twin brother, Styxx. This means that every single event that happens is dissected, assimilated, and committed to memory on an individual basis. You and I might witness the exact same thing, but my memory of it will be different from yours, and because my past is different from your past, this new information will affect me differently than it will you, and our own emotions will color the memory differently as well. So, you will have your side, I will have mine, and the truth is that middle ground, what actually happened if we were to abolish the individual perceptions.
I have read several Sherrilyn Kenyon novels, including most of the Dark-Hunter series. If you have never read any of her books, do not start with Styxx! Ugh! Such a good book! But you definitely need the love and respect for Archeron before you hear Styxx’s side of the story. All of these books include at least one Greek God, and whatever pantheon that the new Dark-Hunter hails from. Styxx starts out waaaaay back in the day, when Atlantis was still a city to be respected and feared. In fact, this book gives a pretty plausible reason as to why the city of Atlantis is no more. The reason I say that it is plausible is because, according to this book, it was destroyed by its own gods–whom seemed to be every bit as back-stabbing, vengeful, and spiteful as the Greek gods! Anyway, this book made me cry about 100 times, and it is the epitome of the three-sides-to-every-story mantra!
So Styxx and Archeron are twins, born to the King and Queen of Didymos, but their birth wasn’t the happy occasion that it should have been because the gods were involved. Archeron, having obvious signs of his true parentage, is basically discarded. Taken in by his horrible Uncle Estes, he is on the outside looking in at his perfect brother who has everything that Archeron could ever want–most especially the love of their father and the title of Prince of Didymos. Obviously Styxx’s life is perfect and beautiful and he is nothing but a spoiled little brat that doesn’t want for anything and doesn’t appreciate it; while Archeron is treated like the unwanted excrement of the worst of whores. Lo and behold, Archeron doesn’t know jack! Styxx’s life is not good! Not beautiful! And he is not a spoiled arrogant little prince, and in some ways, Archeron has it way better than Styxx does! For over 11,000 years (because they’re immortal, duh), these two are wracked with hatred and pain! They’re twins, it should be brother’s, always and forever…but it wasn’t.
Eventually, they know how the other feels, felt, and survived. I don’t want to give too much away, because I totally recommend reading this book, but I was literally yelling at the characters to listen to each other, to stand up for the other, and to just say it!!! I swear a little communication goes a long way! When someone actually stands up for Styxx, I celebrated! Bah! Terrible, uplifting, nightmare-inducing, laugh out loud, horrifyingly beautiful book. Full of revelations and people learning the sometimes terrible consequences of actions made in anger. So, read Styxx, by Sherrilyn Kenyon, but don’t make it your first Dark-Hunter Novel, or else you will just hate Archeron, and he is special and beautiful, even if he was absolutely horrible to his brother.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 3, The Introduction of Faith
Here is another prime example of three sides to every story! Here’s Buffy, the one and only slayer…in Sunnydale, California, that is. Just in case you have never seen the show, there is supposed to be only one slayer born every generation. Once one dies, the next is called. What’s special about Buffy is that she did die, but she didn’t stay dead. She had drowned, but Xander was able to revive her. However, she technically died, so another slayer was called…and that one died in season two. Sorry Kendra! The end of season 2, Buffy had to kill her true love, Angel. This put her in such a bad head-space that she bailed…totally ran away from everyone and everything. So when she came back, all who were left in Sunnydale were mad at her, hurt by her. So not only is Buffy dealing with the loss of her love all by herself, everyone is stand-offish and mistrusting. Buffy feels justified by her leaving, and the gang feels angry and alone. It was hard to reconcile! And then, here comes Faith, the newest of the slayers! She is a frisky little slayer who, like Archeron, was on the outside looking in at Buffy’s perfect little slayer life–a mom who knows and cares, friends who help, and an obvious bond with her watcher. All Buffy sees in Faith is everyone’s joy at having a new member of the group, who is cooler, hotter, and more interesting. Both Buffy and Faith forgot to look for the bad. They forgot to look beyond their own jealousy to actually see what the other’s life is actually like. As a result, Buffy and Faith have a tumultuous relationship, taking them almost four seasons to truly appreciate one another.
There are three sides to every story–yours, mine, and the truth. The truth is the hardest one to see, because we, as human beings, see everything tainted with our own emotions. Is it possible to see? I mean, I will never be able to see the world from your eyes, so is it even possible for me to truly understand it? If I heard the truth of the matter right now, would I accept it? Or would it be tainted as soon as my brain processed it? I just don’t know.
So, as you go about your business this week, think about these things; especially if there is some sort of altercation! Try to remove yourself from the equation, and look at it as if from an outsider perspective. How did you come across? What did you do from their perspective? Why did you do that? What were your motivations and intentions? How would you feel if you did this to yourself? Trying to be an outsider looking into your own life is rather difficult, but understanding our own motivations might help us understand others…