Being heard is very important to me. Ask my poor husband- 75% of our arguments and misunderstandings can be traced back to hurt feelings over this issue. At one point in our marriage, I was extending far more grace than I am now (never stop starting) and I would give my husband a verbal “heads up” that I was about to say something to him. “Sweetie, can I ask you something?” “Hey, can we talk about something?” Those are not hard things to do or say. But I HATE having to do that. If he is watching TV or reading or focused on something else, I still desire for the sound of my voice to get his immediate and undivided attention. I really hate repeating myself. I feel disrespected and unimportant.
That seems unreasonable, even as I write it, but I have that capability, so why doesn’t he? Why doesn’t every other person in existence? Wouldn’t life be nicer if everyone had that ability? Or at the very least my three children?
I discovered in college that I am very sensitive to sounds. My sophomore roommate always hated it when I listened to classical music while I studied. She said they made her nervous. (I get it now, Mer. I think it’s the woodwind instruments- they do it to me too!) Likewise, I always hated it when she studied to N’SYNC. (Somehow, we survived our year as roommates beautifully.) I got distracted by anything with lyrics, even if I didn’t know them. (And come on, of course I knew all the lyrics to the entire “No Strings Attached” album.)
I’m still like that. I cannot read, study, concentrate, or navel-gaze at Starbucks. I’ve tried. I get distracted by the conversations around me, the friendly but chatty baristas, the music, and the sounds of various beverages being made. Barnes and Noble is better, but not much.
I can handle a noisy place if it is so noisy that the conversations become white noise. Our favorite date night spot is small, crowded, and loud. It’s the perfect spot for date night because the service is slow but we don’t even care because we’re so thankful for the extra time to chat.
I don’t know where I’m going with this.
Just tell me I’m not alone.