What Gets You Observing?
Over the years of my life, including my childhood, people have confided in me. Apparently, my husband, and a couple of my coaches have asked, “How do you get them to talk?” I don’t think it’s magic. Yet, it may be a sort of blessing.
Before I went into the alternative medical field as a bodyworker and massage therapist, I had been in the corporate financial and accounting fields. My first job interview for such therapy work, I showed up after my day at the office in a sharp navy blue suit with skirt, a long sleeved, high collared, white colored, tailored shirt, as well navy blue low heeled pumps, a gold watch, small pearl earrings, and my hair pulled back in a bun, no pins showing, no adornment. I have been and was at the time quite reserved looking. That is where I’m most comfortable still. In almost a strategic looking uniformed appearance.
The man interviewing me looked like a financial manager type. I showed up fifteen minutes early as I’ve learned that is the way you show up to become employed, in any field. I had an impressive resume, and I was fresh out of school for the profession. I mirrored the suited man’s apparel to a degree. The corporate look he gave, I gave back. I’ve learned to mimic the stance of the person I’m speaking with or position my eyes, my body language to be congruent with theirs to a degree. Seeing how they respond, can tell me a little bit about them.
As the interview began, I immediately had a bad feeling. I read him. I felt fear from him. It wasn’t my reflection. It was his fear. I realized my resume was better than the man’s sitting in a chair across from me. At that time over a quarter of a century ago, I would have told you that was not possible. My thoughts at the time were, ‘I am hirable. If he is smart he will hire me’. But my soul said, ‘No. He doesn’t want what you have to offer’.
‘What was it?’ I wondered for a few seconds. Then I realized that I was about his age. I was already married for about a decade. I had been in the military service and had all three promotions in a short period of time there. All meritoriously given to me. I was working, and had worked most of my working life in a man’s world and was successful. There were many things he had no clue about. For they would not be something you put on a resume. Yet, it gave me more wisdom that I have only realized in the last decade of my life.
So, enter these thoughts today as I drove to go food-shopping. These thoughts happen quite a bit. A person whether a client, a person in a dojo, a complete shopping stranger, a cashier, basically in a variety of places I have been or do or frequent. I have had people tell me stories of crimes they’ve committed as much or more than fifty years ago. Crimes they’ve witnessed. Yet, they could never speak of to anyone. Crimes committed against them. Crimes committed against their child. People’s fears when they’ve not done anything criminally wrong. Fears for not being good enough as a parent. Fears for them thinking that they will be crippled for the rest of their lives. Fears that they’ve hurt someone in their family, yet it was not physically, neither was it criminally. Perhaps, restrictive thoughts have now taken their peace away. Fears that someone would find out that they actually were fearful. And not so much the brave man they wanted others to envision about them. Fears of them dying or getting old and being alone.
I’ve had people in my office tell me about their bigotries, their hatred for others due to race, color creed, sex orientation, well you name it. I am someone who remembers at times really quirky things. Sometimes in conversation of someone else, my brain will blurt out, ‘Yes. I remember that day. It was sunny, sixty-eight degrees, the gym smelled like…’ In the end I think it is all about the choice one makes to become the observer in life. That’s just what I do. And I can tell you a few reasons, why. By age eight, my Dad would grill me. And I mean grill me, about my surroundings. Yet, he didn’t necessarily do it to teach, it was a bullying tactic. Because that’s just what I witnessed him do. It was the message I received throughout my knowing him.
Another reason for being observant was that, my mother was not well. As I got into my ‘tween years, I knew to be attentive for what she may need. And to allay her fears, that I would take care of her only son. It gave her peace of mind. I’ve observed that is what people needed. Especially, when they are ill. The next reason I knew to be observant in reading my surroundings and people, was unfortunately there are wolves out there. They desecrate families. Some are social vampires. Some murder and maim. The one thing I know, our fear doesn’t make them go away. Quite to the contrary, those that would injure thrive on people’s fears. Better to be and remain observant. Become prepared instead of scared. That’s peace of mind. Being observant is how I get people to talk.---Jody-Lynn Reicher