In my blogging world, Cara is a recent connection. I don’t recall when she started reading and liking my posts, but it wasn’t until after she left an intriguing comment that I clicked into her blog. I’m glad I did. The first post I read on Exploring Yoga was bursting with energy. Cara, a new yoga instructor, wrote with unbridled enthusiasm about pulling together a killer yoga routine. She reminded me of me when I first started instructing spin classes–full of joy and full of future.
Recently, Cara’s blog to a unexpected turn. It veered into mental health and what my psychiatrist dances around with the euphemism ‘dark thoughts.’ It opened up an additional dimension to Cara that I wasn’t expecting, something I hadn’t prepared for. It reminded me that when we connect with others, we get a package. We get upbeat yoga and dog-walking in the woods, but we also, sometimes, get depression, unhappiness and self-doubt.
Still, nothing fuels effective writing like raw emotion. The best blogs recount the ups and downs of life. And undoubtedly, it’s the downs that give Cara the cred to write this post.
I don’t remember how I stumbled on to Jeff’s blog. I wonder if he remembers when a strange girl started shuffling through his posts and liking everything. I was quickly appreciative of his style. I enjoyed that his descriptions were clean. The posts were never lengthy, yet I usually pulled back from the read with an emotional connection. I was intrigued by his running stories and instantly enjoyed the pieces of his family that he shared.
Jeff’s voice was familiar in my mind. It sounded like my dad. It wasn’t so much the similar age, and I hope I’m not making an incorrect assumption with that. No, it was the no nonsense attitude, the simple yet powerful descriptions, and the confidence. He shared similar interests with my dad and while their views politically are different, the calm, logical approach is the same. When I read enough about someone’s life I begin to build an image of them in my mind. Jeff, I assumed, was quiet but his voice in my head was quick. For some reason I pictured him calm, not one to talk with his hands. Instead they would sit at his sides, palms relaxed. Similar to my dad, he would make his points with his words rather than his gestures.
So when I read that he had Tourette’s it jarred my image. I only know one person with Tourette’s Syndrome, and I vividly remember being the bane of his existence. I could never wait to let him finish a sentence. Every time his tic, an onslaught of rolling r’s would choke him out I would try to guess what he had been saying. I was a poor listener to most, never mind to Matt. I couldn’t quite line up the voice I heard when I read Jeff’s words with the stunted conversations I’d had with my high school friend. The image of the calm and quiet stranger was cracked with gripped fists and involuntary eye rolls.
I imagined meeting Jeff, not knowing his blog. Would the cadence of our conversation allow for me to hear the wry humor I’ve decided he has? Could I sit still long enough to appreciate the points he makes about running, writing, and SEO’s? I didn’t even know SEO’s were a thing until I read about it in Jeff’s blog. I’ve never been officially diagnosed with ADHD, but whether I have it or not I imagine my restless demeanor is a pain in the ass for people who are forced to learn patience from involuntary movements their body demands. Would my casual impatience jilt me of an intelligent and intriguing conversation? A lot of wondering for a girl who doesn’t even know if the guy makes small talk or what his tics actually are, but wondering is like my full time hobby. I was instantly grateful for the blogging world. Not only for connecting people all over, but also for opening a dialogue that requires me to stop, reflect, and change my patterns.
I don’t picture people shouting swear words all over when I think of Tourette’s. Instead I imagine a legion of people being endlessly interrupted by their tics and the world’s impatient listeners. I think of people smarter than me having to deal with pitying, confused, or judging looks from strangers. I see infuriating instances of being misread. I imagine that and hope that if I ever get the opportunity to sit down and ask someone with Tourette’s what it’s like, I’ll be the type of person who stops and listens to the answer.
Please drop by Cara’s blog Exploring Yoga.