Chacos column: Warning — taboo topics ahead
I’m part of the personality type that likes to bring up taboo topics just to hear your opinion. Most likely you know someone like this because there’s usually one at a dinner party, at work or in your extended family. We like to strike up conversation that would make some squirm or blush.
Within minutes of interacting with one of us, you could find yourself feeling unguarded but completely relaxed talking about religion, sex, finances, relationship woes or your own bodily functions.
The recipient of these types of conversations also has to meet a few criteria. The individual has to have a degree of confidence in the process. They need to be open, honest, maintain a level of humor and know that they are never being judged. We like to cut out the formalities, get to business and find out what really makes someone tick.
We know this can make one feel vulnerable because we feel it too. But we like it because we genuinely believe there’s just not enough time for only the fluff.
If either of us is drawn back together for more candid conversation, I know that’s where the magic is going to happen. We may never be best friends or invite each other over for dinner. We may only pass on the street with a wave or give a quick hug at the market accompanied with small formalities. Sometimes we’ll work to reinforce our connection over a cup of coffee. And sometimes, unfortunately, we’ll never have the opportunity to connect again. Such is life.
So why even bother opening up and showing your underbelly? For starters, when I share my own shortcomings I am able to look at situations through someone else’s lens. I throw in a bit of self-deprecating humor without feeling sorry for myself. This seems to level the playing field and proclaims that I don’t really have it all together, either. I like to share my struggles when things are hard and joy when things go well. I genuinely want others to feel comfortable to do the same.
Right about now you may be shaking your head thinking that enjoying life’s ride with a smile and a wave is delusional, daydreaming horsecrap typically reserved for naïve youth.
My husband would agree with you. For the past 20 years he has stated that he’s grounded in reality, not somewhere in the ether.
But when life throws its curveballs and we’re blindsided one Thursday afternoon, all perceptions can change.
When our youngest son was 3 we were sitting in the neighborhood pizza shop and received the call. We were told to head to the local hospital as our son needed further testing. We admitted him late that night and didn’t return home until many days later with a Type 1 diabetes confirmation and more information than we could handle. We had no time for a pity party as we scrutinized our every move, analyzed food like a nutritionist and started to overhaul the family routine. We were treading water for over a year as we fumbled to gain our footing.
Now, five years later, we still wake multiple times a night reading our son’s blood glucose numbers, taking turns and dosing accordingly. We meet regularly with teachers, coaches, doctors, other parents and have become advocates for his rights all the time. Our other children look after their little brother with care and intensity that’s just not fair to ask.
After some missteps, we know that’s just what needs to be done. There’s a constant low-level stress and fear that hangs in our periphery, but we choose to carry on and enjoy the ride instead.
We decided we just don’t have it in us to be angry anymore. We’re too tired. There’s no more room for blame and no more energy to get worked up in frustration. Every time one of us starts going to the dark side, the other one is forced to come the rescue. And once, when we both started to fall as life’s other pressures took hold, we almost didn’t make it.
Now we just go with the flow and work at happiness instead. We gingerly move around life’s obstacles if we find the energy or blaze up to a new challenge if feeling motivated. We try to see the absurdity in lots of situations and laugh directly at them just because the alternative doesn’t serve us. We must trust that life is unfolding as it should.
So I invite you to come and enjoy life’s ride with me.
Andrea Chacos lives in Carbondale, balancing work and happily raising three children with her husband. She strives to dodge curveballs life likes to throw with a bit of passion, humor and some flair. Her column will appear monthly.
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