Yesterday morning as we were getting ready to leave the house, the Englishman made a comment about his boss who was in town and that random collection of words led us down the path where many things we had previously not discussed about his life before he met me came to light. A sign post of crumbs led from each new piece of information to another and like a hungry bird I followed them all until my head could handle no more. Much of the night was spent sleepless as I tried to process all of this new information. He could not fathom why new information which he considered irrelevant bothered me so much. So I tried to think of a way to help explain what it was like to me.
Knowing stuff makes me feel in control. I equate it to a situation of a blind person feeling like they could navigate their own living room as long as know where every stick of furniture was located. I, like the blind person felt secure as long as nothing new was brought into the living room. And yesterday someone had brought in a whole truckload of new furniture. I had known of course that there were a few shadowy corners of my living room that I didn’t know very well and had managed to leave them well alone until then. But when the new furniture was thrown in haphazardly, I could no longer find my way to the front door. To accommodate the new furniture, the existing sofas and chairs and coffee tables had to be moved from their locations. Suddenly a place where I felt safe and secure when I woke up that morning had turned into a minefield by evening. Every direction I turned I kept tripping over things and feeling hurt.
The only way I could own my living room again and feel confident about navigating my way from the kitchen to the front door was to handle each piece of furniture personally, examine it and place it precisely in a location of my own choosing. I had to keep doing this with every piece of furniture, both existing and new until it had all been placed in places I knew. Although blind, I still wanted the matching bits to go together and fit the overall theme. There were things that could not be changed like the curtains or walls and these had to be coordinated as best they could with what had been brought in that day because, once in, it could not be taken out again.
I think this analogy was lost on the Englishman. All he could see was my asking lots of extremely and uncomfortable personal questions and then revisiting old ground; none of which he could see any reason for. But this how I process information, especially important information. I would rather do it this way than sweep lots of stuff under the carpet and find I just keep tripping over stuff; permanently. At least this way the pain is short lived and once my living room is in order again, I can go back to feeling safe……