|Excited to see some blue between the clouds after|
a few weeks of storms and snow.
We were only a few miles from the town of Keokuk before he turned his attention to engaging me in conversation by asking me questions about the pictures I was taking out of the window. I explained to him that I was traveling across the Country and a blogger. He quickly turned the focus away from me finishing telling him what I was doing to talking about him and asking if I wanted to take his picture, however he didn't ask in an inquiring way, more of an accusing way indicating that I was somehow attracted to him and wanted to take his picture. Every time he spoke to me he would reach forward and touch my shoulder which I was not all to happy with. My first reaction was defensiveness at my bubble, my space being intruded upon. I wanted to say... "dude, stop f-ing touching me!" I let that thought pass and calmly turned around and looked him in the eyes and said genuinely... I am happy to listen to you, I understand you want to be heard, however, you do not need to touch me when you speak, it is an invasion of my space to be honest and unnecessary for our conversation. I don't know if it was the calmness in which I said it, the look in my eyes or what, I think it was the energy I expressed it in, no defensiveness, just awareness that I didn't wish to be touched and expressing it without any negative energy but he got it and actually calmed down a little bit in his tone and words.
At a rest stop the other woman and I had a moment to talk alone and she thanked me for calming his behind down a bit, we got on the topic of him over talking us, interrupting us and I said to her... "I can learn more about myself from listening to him than I can learn about him." Her and I got into a very deep, connected conversation and were sharing a lot with each other when he came back on the bus and injected himself into our conversation again, we allowed his input a few times trying to continue the deep moment we were having while he kept trying to turn the conversation to him. Our peacefully allowing him to say his say and continuing on was not the result he wanted so he began the sexual innuendo again, touched me once more talking about my red hair trying to pick up on him and I turned around again and looked him in the eyes again and asked him this question...
"how is it that the color of my hair could be responsible for the way you are acting?"
He replied... "Oh, man I am just playing with you, I love my woman, I would never cheat on her, that doesn't mean I can't have fun on the bus on my way home now does it?"
"Fun for who?" I inquired nicely.
"We're just having fun, us three, nothing wrong with a little flirting." he bellowed back.
"Except, what you are doing isn't really flirting now is it! I mean me and her are having a very deep conversation, she is sharing something about a painful time in her life, we are talking about how God has worked in our lives. You are right here and know the tone of our conversation, you keep interrupting it to turn the conversation to you. We have both been very polite and engaged you to return to where we were and that wasn't where you wanted this to go. Can I ask you why you felt the need to touch me again after I asked you not to? Can I also ask you why you are not allowing her and I to have this moment to talk? Maybe if you recognize that neither of us is flirting with you in any way and drop the act and just listen, talk when you are moved to say something of meaning that adds to our conversation you can enjoy this deep moment too."
Something kind of amazing happened, his face softened and his voice lowered again. He looked at me with an inquisitive look in his eyes as if genuinely wanting to know and asked me what I meant by "act".
In a very calm voice and completely centered in love I responded... "I get the sense that this fast talking, shuck and jive thing you are doing with us is a defense of yours. I have a feeling you have much to contribute to this conversation if you would allow yourself to listen as much as you speak and realize that you don't have to be sexually attractive to us for us to value your presence."
"I really don't mean nothing by it, I am just trying to get your attention, I wasn't trying to offend anyone." He genuinely and calmly replied.
"Well my friend there is a much easier way to get our attention, just be yourself and trust that we will listen to you without being pushed to acknowledge by your uninvited advances." I suggested.
We all had a pretty good conversation after that. And, even more so he and I had a very deep conversation also where he got real honest about some things he had been carrying for a long time of a past pain that made the act much clearer to me. I remembered a time in my own life where I would seek negative attention rather than have no attention at all and understood in that moment exactly how he had built up this habit of being acknowledged and paid attention to this way.
For me I realized how positive of an outcome I can have in any situation if I do not act defensively simply dismissing others as annoying or not worth knowing. In some little way I made a difference in two lives on that bus, in a big way I made difference in my own.
I love you all from a place of knowing that what I see in you is a mirror of myself. When I see beneath the surface I understand how connected and alike we all are giving me the ability to learn as much about me as I can learn about you.