And That’s Why We Love Him

not sure if want

This is going to be a long, personal entry (yep, another one)… a warning I like to extend as a courtesy to you, my readers. Following the strain of self-reflection started with my entry, Unbold, and continued through Compromise, I’m adding on another layer to the heap of “things I don’t quite understand”.

“…and that’s why we love him” is the phrase that started this self-conversation, hence the title of this entry.  Now, this isn’t about the actual use of the phrase, as it can actually be put in a number of different ways, but more the meaning behind it.  That phrase has two meanings for me, one condescending and the other genuine.  I’ve always struggled with feeling accepted by folks, so when it’s said in certain, positive terms, it feels really nice.  Even when I consider it condescending, though, it’s generally not intended that way.  That’s why I’m thinking about it all, now…  because no matter what, when I hear that phrase I always have the same reaction.

Pretty much any time someone uses that kind of phrase with me, it’s regarding an attribute or character trait of mine that I can’t fathom someone else actually appreciating.

The rabbit-hole is getting deeper ;).

I briefly read through those previous entries to sort of inform myself on where I was at last time… and I almost see this post as a culmination of those two.  Or, perhaps it’s not.  But, those two topics reference held-back emotion, my issues of being “different”, the lack of a completely accepting and loving relationship, and oodles more.  We’ll see where it goes, though, because (as is often the case) this is simply me trying to understand something I don’t… and bringing that to you, in the hope that you might be able to shed some new light.

First, though, what exactly am I talking about regarding this phrase?  Basically, it’s an acknowledgment and acceptance of something unique.  What spurred it, this time, was a casual joke I made about watching women’s volleyball just to admire the players.  Everyone had their say, but KB wrapped it up with “and that’s why we love him.”  That was one of the times I appreciated it, but still… the root meaning boggles me.  I am completely aware that I, very often, am out of the norm in what I do/say/think.  It’s very hard for me to understand an appreciation for that difference, though.  If it’s a gift or talent, okay, I get that.. but to appreciate me simply because I’m different?  I can’t wrap my head around that.  Starting to see a connection to my issues on compromise? πŸ˜‰

In the comments on Compromise, I mentioned the movie Pleasantville.  I know the point of it all, and I think it’s an okay movie, but I’ve also always had a hard time with it.  Why?  I prefer the black-and-white world.  Everyone was the same.  I constantly hear reactions to that idea like “oh, that’d be such a boring world”, but that’s only because we know different.  I know that’s not how the world is, so it’s obviously complete fantasy… but when people are waking up in that movie, and seeing color and differences.. and APPRECIATING them, I find myself cringing – longing for the world of symmetry and unity that those characters were living in before.  To me, that’s the beautiful world… where nobody is outside or different, where everything and everyone is basically the same.  It sounds safe… and really lovely.

So, yeah… perhaps I don’t appreciate differences, because I’ve spent a lifetime BEING different, and it’s not usually been a fun experience.  Following that, when I say something in a way or do something that most folks wouldn’t, I’m usually aware of it.  Different is just different.. it’s not intrinsically good or bad, and I’m aware of that, too.  Haha, coincidentally, though.. just as I was typing this a friend IMed me saying, “that’s what makes it difficult to relate to you πŸ™‚ … you don’t converse back.”  And it’s those things that I cause me to struggle with believing anyone can appreciate those differences… because I’m more often accustomed to differences being a negative.  It’s a personal view, sure, but it’s something I’ve spent a lifetime with.

I can’t help being who I am, even those things in me that have changed that I try to work on and fix.  Most folks don’t say that I shouldn’t be who I am, of course, (haha, at least.. directly) but I know how much easier it’d be… and how much nicer.  Nick brought up the point (also in the Compromise comments) that differences can enrich relationships.  I know that there is some value in that, where we fill each other’s gaps and things like that… but in terms of opinions and tastes, it’s not a concept I can fathom.  Like I responded to him then, I like Movie A and he doesn’t.  What does that gain us?  Bringing that back to the topic at hand, how does my differences or oddities benefit someone?

I choose to do or say what I do, not as some statement, but simply because it makes sense to me.  I wear suspenders because I like how they look and they’re comfortable.  I don’t make phony small-talk because I’m okay with silence and have no interest in it.  I don’t usually share my problems with friends because they can’t do anything to help anyway.  These are all things that I just don’t give a second thought to.  Some, like my wearing suspenders, are just unique… others, like my being more closed-mouthed, I am at once told are detrimental.. and then, later, seemingly accepted for as just “Oh, that quirky Mark.”  That’s where it seems to get confusing for me – it’s like mixed signals.

I know that some of my traits annoy people.  I know that I don’t always fit in.  So, when I then hear someone saying how great a difference is, it’s almost as if I don’t trust them.  Not fully, at least… because I know what their reactions are at other times.  Heck, even with KB, whose example I used to start this post, there have been a number of times I’ve frustrated her not by being a jerk.. but just by being me.  So, I know that I can be loved by her, or other friends, or whoever, but I also know that those people don’t love EVERYthing about me.

So, this is where I kind of saw this as a wrap-up of the previous two posts.  The idea came to me, when I was thinking about this, that my issue is in accepting love.  That, I have an extremely hard time believing that someone actually loves/appreciates me for my differences,  and not just despite them.  In fact, it’s not that I just have a hard time believing it – I absolutely can’t believe it.  That’s why the ideas of compromise (at least, in regard to a relationship) are hard – because I’m not interested in finding another person who cares for me despite some of my oddities, I’m interested in someone who doesn’t see the oddities at all.  So, because of all of this, it’s a really hard idea for me to grasp – this idea of love without complete appreciation.  Heck, I’ve spent a lifetime with parents who are quick to remind me that I’m strange, but then say how proud they are of me.  You’re proud that I’m strange, too??  No, of course you’re not.  And, if you are… what’s wrong with you?  I sure as heck wouldn’t wish this on my kids.  I often say how I’d hate it if my kids were the cool, normal, popular people… because we wouldn’t have much to relate on, but man – it’d sure be nice for them :).  I don’t really like this entry, because it almost feels like it’s boiling down to me whining.  Not the intention, I promise.  This isn’t some call-out on horrible friends, or saying I need more assurance.  I’m just trying to really figure out (and explain, in the process) another concept that just goes right over my head.

So, I guess, this comes down to the idea of “How can one learn to be emotionally bold, to appreciate compromise, and to love the differences of people… when one doesn’t love those things in themselves?”  It seems like this is a very important crux to many of the issues I deal with, even if it’s not the root of all of them, though I still am nowhere nearer an answer for the solution.  This is part of something I’ve struggled with for a long time (I’m how old?) and I’m sure for a long time after this.  And so, we venture on… πŸ™‚

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About Mark Mushakian

Just a man who loves God, women, kids, dogs, movies, and every other lovely thing in life :)
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6 Responses to And That’s Why We Love Him

  1. Nick says:

    For the sake of conversation, I'll throw my two cents in. You know me, while I may act more "socially normal" than you do I am still far from it. But I think it's kind of a universal thing. Everyone deals with it, and indeed in most cases people adhere to some sort of social norm to save themselves the trouble when they don't "fit in". What I have always responded to in your character is that you are different, and you wear it proudly. We are kind of allowed to be different intellectually but it's much less accepted to be so outwardly. But having a happiness in who you are is priceless. I stand by the fact that our differences enrich the relationship. Sure, you like movie a and I don't, but at least for me hearing your point of view will change my perception if not my opinion. I think for you it's been a struggle just to be yourself because you have always had parents pointing out that it was not "normal" and that is very sad. I've always admired your style, your refusal to just do what is normal and accepted. Not in defiance of normality but just in extension of who you are. There is no normal, just the accepted ideals of the whole. And I for one never like being part of the bigger group. If anything, being your friend taught me to do my own thing and surround myself with people who love and accept me for who I am. I think your circle of friends would agree that we all enjoy you for who you are, and that your eccentricities (if you can even call them that) are just extensions of a unique personality πŸ˜‰

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    • Mark says:

      It just gets exhausting at times, and as I get older, I'm finding these times are getting exponentially more frequent. You mention my parents, but it's always been more than them. Even as you said… I'm appreciated for my differences, even put up on some weird pedestal by some, but for a variety of reasons, that's why I find comfort in similarities. It's a uniqueness that I do not want. It's human to want to belong, of course πŸ™‚ That's why meeting KB was such a big thing for me, at first – I thought I'd found someone who was pretty much just like me. It's purely selfish, but it comes down to me wanting my own comfort – where's MY Mark? It's like you've said regarding our friendship (as have Joe, and others)… I don't rely on folks the same way they might on me. Not rely, exactly, but you know what I mean. It's not necessarily a personality issue for me, though, it's more that I don't know anyone that I can naturally rely on in that way. It's not that I don't benefit and enjoy my relationships, it's just on a different level. Just as it is intertwined with the issue of compromise, I really don't want to be the only "me" there is. To enter a romantic relationship with someone who thought of me in the way that anyone else I've ever met has, is the last thing in the world that I want. And, I can be honest – that's the subject that usually sparks these internal conversations.

      I don't know why I can't fathom the appreciation of difference, but I can't. From my own life, as well as others, I've more often than not seen difference cause pain and sadness. But that's why, when out on the other side, these conversations feel silly to me – because there's nothing that can be done about it.

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  2. Nick says:

    P.S. you random beauty thingy makes it hard to respond to these at work without seeming like I'm ogling girly photos when I should be working πŸ˜‰

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  3. danny says:

    On Sunday, I had a CSR for Verizon Wireless tell me I was "very unique" for wanting to unsubscribe from their Backup Assistant service. She had never had anyone else want to unsubscribe, she insisted, and I'm very unique. Regardless of her tone, I couldn't help but be insulted, even if she meant it in a positive way (which I don't believe she did). I remained civil, but more forceful now, because I wasn't looking to be judged; I just wanted a feature terminated.

    Is being unique a good thing? Is it BAD?? It depends. If Mark absolutely refuses to say a curse word for a movie, for any different reason, is he unique? Yes. Is that good? Not for my movie or the character I'm trying to create, but it's good for Mark because he proudly stands by his values. Mark forces me to compromise if I want him to play a part. Thus, does Mark, being "the way he is" strain the friendship/relationship simply based on the fact that he is unwilling or unable to compromise or do we value that quality because there are so many other great aspects of the man? I don't know.. I'm just rambling now, I suppose. And making each character in this script foul mouthed except yours.. πŸ˜‰

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    • Mark says:

      Haha, no.. you weren't rambling. You were actually giving the perfect example of what I mean. For my non-swearing, it's a choice, but there are plenty of other things that are "just me" that I know annoy people or create some type of strain/discomfort. Heck, even just my nervous ticks and noises… they're annoying. How could they not be? They sure annoy me. My sister's laugh is something that I find irritating. It doesn't mean I don't love her, but she annoys me.

      So, I suppose.. when I hear folks talk about me in a "that's why we love him" kind of way, it reminds me of the stupidity involved in puppy-love. There's that mood people get into, where they see the faults/annoyances/differences of a significant other adorable. Not that I'm calling those who can enjoy differences "stupid", but in my head it seems to be on the same level as that period of blind-love. I can be annoying, I can be difficult, and never because I'm trying to be (haha, at least, mostly never), but simply because I'm being myself. So, Danny, you gave a great sample, and re-asked the question I've been driving at. How can someone look at a difference/annoyance/unique quality, that is NOT easy to live with or that has some other negative connotation, and then "appreciate it". Is it that there's a differentiation there (one that I can't do myself), between unique and bad? Are people ignoring the issues that come up (sort of like with your script example), simply because they still like me otherwise?

      Like I mentioned in the post, I've had friends talk about how it's hard to converse with me, sometimes, because of my logical points or whatever else. I can understand putting up with that (in a friendship, at least), but why mention it in some kind of seemingly positive light? Or, are they just actually brushing it all off with a simple comment so as to avoid the whole thing?

      Hmm πŸ™‚

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