Eye-Opening Moments are real-life stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives intertwined. In this episode you will hear about How to See Your Blind Spots, Part II and Chemistry vs. No Chemistry.
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Hello and welcome to episode #69 of Eye-Opening Moments where you’ll hear real-life stories of adversity, encounters, and perspectives intertwined. They are moments that can lift your spirits, give you some food for thought, or move you. For the introspective mind that likes to reflect, discover, and find solutions or meaning in a complex life, this is for you. I’m your host Emily Kay Tan. In this episode, you will hear about How to See Your Blind Spots, Part II and Chemistry vs. No Chemistry.
How to See Your Blind Spots, Part II
While we can see our blind spots through others, we don’t necessarily look for them, detect them, or even notice them. How else can blind spots be found?
Sometimes when I put my thoughts into words on paper or the computer, I begin to reflect and analyze something that happened. As I write, a realization could suddenly materialize. Going through the writing process is worth the time because it is moving, touching, and heartfelt when an eye-opening moment occurs.
I signed up for a writing class, and one assignment was to write a story entitled “The Goodbye.” The instructor said first to visualize the goodbye before writing. Oddly enough, as soon as I heard about the assignment, I pictured my mom leaving at the airport when I was a little girl. It was a fleeting picture in my mind.
When I started to write the story the next day, I started writing about my first boyfriend. He was a long-distance boyfriend who came to visit me and then was leaving at the airport. We said our goodbyes and I went home. The next day, over the phone, he said he turned around to say goodbye again and wondered why I didn’t turn around. I said we had already said our goodbyes, so I left. I didn’t think much about it. However, many years later, when I had my last boyfriend, he’d say something similar. “When I drop you off at your house, I watch you go inside before I leave. Why don’t you turn around?” he’d say. Suddenly I would remember my first boyfriend saying the same thing. They each said it several times while we were in a relationship. Through the years, I have had different logical answers, such as I wouldn’t say I like turning back to the past or I’m not too fond of long goodbyes.
As I paused in writing the story, I reflected and visualized each time I saw my mother depart at the airport when she came to visit her mother, the grandmother who raised me. I did not enjoy looking back and feeling the weight of goodbyes that only gave me sadness. Still, I tried to picture the scene, and suddenly I realized why I didn’t turn around when I finished saying goodbye to someone.
Without warning, a sensation came over me, and I started sobbing uncontrollably with heavy breathing back and forth from my mouth and streams of tears rolling down my face. Through my crying, I felt a pain I had never experienced before. I couldn’t stop crying and couldn’t believe it took me this long to see it. In my conscious mind, I never saw it; it was well hidden from me. It took decades for me to see it, and I didn’t like what I saw. But I saw it and was somewhat relieved.
Through the writing process, I discovered that I didn’t turn around after goodbyes because my mom never turned around each time I saw her off at the airport. It was most painful. The little girl that was me released all the pain that came with seeing Mom leave and never turning around to say goodbye to me. I suppose I wanted to know that she loved me, but because she never turned around, I assumed she never cared much for me as she always seemed to be dashing away in a hurry. This conclusion has stuck with me most of my life and was further evidence that she never loved me.
The airport scenes were too painful to remember, and ended up in my blind spot. I didn’t want to see it, so I didn’t see it. When I finally saw the scenes, the pain rushed to make me cry like never before. The pain that squeezed some joy out of my life was finally released, and relief was in sight. At least I know why I’m not particularly eager to turn around when I depart from others. At least I know the behavior came from Mom and the hidden pain that possessed me.
As I reflect on my life, I think of encounters that could have significantly impacted me without me noticing them. Sitting and thinking, I remember my other grandma, who did not raise me but spent time with me when I was a toddler. I didn’t even know I was with her as a toddler until Uncle Sheldon mentioned it many years later. This period seemed to be another instance where I had no memory. Perhaps it was a blind spot.
As an adult, I had the chance to spend time with this grandma, Grandma Betsy. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She would stay with her son, my uncle, at his home, about an hour away from me. After many years of not seeing her, I visited her at Uncle Sheldon’s place. Grandma Betsy didn’t talk much and was weak with her illness. I saw her weekly for several months. I sat by her bed, keeping her company. She never said much but seemed to appreciate my presence. If I had any questions about the time I was a toddler, she probably wouldn’t have the energy to tell me. Uncle Sheldon remembered me in their house but did not have much to say. At any rate, I did not know that she would give me a few words of wisdom that would significantly impact me on her deathbed.
It seemed like she was near death because family members flew in to see her. Uncle Sheldon’s two-bedroom place was packed with relatives walking around and taking turns to sit with Grandma Betsy. I also walked around with nothing to say as I was never close to the family members who came.
To my surprise, Grandma Betsy called me, “Emily come here.” Her door was open, and she saw me roaming outside as if I was lost or alone, even though there were relatives everywhere. I quickly walked over to her side. She told her daughter she needed me, so she called me in. Grandma Betsy’s weak voice said, “Don’t mind them. You matter.”
I didn’t realize it at the time, but it hit me as I thought and reflected on her words many years later. Perhaps it was in my blind spot, and I didn’t see it at the time, but as a mature woman, I now see it. Thinking about it brings me to sad tears. It was an eye-opening realization and a sadness that I never seized the opportunity to get to know her better when she was healthy and to ask her questions about the part of my childhood that I erased from my memory.
Grandma Betsy, who was dying, still had an alert brain to see that our relatives treated me as an outcast or unimportant in the family. She knew and said not to mind them. Grandma Betsy knew my pain that I never spoke about and never let me know she knew. And it made all the difference in the world for me. It was comforting to know that someone in the family knew how my family treated me; it was not all in my imagination. Most importantly, she told me that I mattered and that it was up to me not to let anyone take away my importance. Before Grandma Betsy drew her last breaths, she brought life back into me.
Write, reflect, or take the time to think; you can discover blind spots or things hidden from your memory. They’re worth uncovering to bring relief or peace. They’re worth learning to overcome pain. I thank Grandma Betsy for her words of wisdom. I also acknowledge myself for setting time aside to reflect, remember, and gain understanding and perspective. I matter. You matter, so take the time for yourself.
Chemistry vs. No Chemistry
Romantic chemistry, defined as mutual interest, easy communication, similarity in values, and physical attraction combined, is what I am talking about. Put more simply, when two people are drawn to be near each other, I call that chemistry.
I met Curtis when I was traveling with a tour group. I probably wouldn’t have noticed him if it weren’t for my new friend Alicia whom I met during the trip. She seemed to be crazy about him. She thought he was dashing and had nice clothes, which showed that he was wealthy. She looked for him and followed him. I was with her and some other gal pals, and because she lusted for him, she followed him, and we followed along with her.
Curtis had guy pals with him, and somehow, she made it where we ended up hanging around each other. It was three guys and three girls hanging around each other during the tour. Katie and I were not particularly interested in anybody, but because Alicia wanted to be near Curtis, we were in the same boat.
After spending a month on tour together, I became good friends with Alicia and Katie. Katie and I didn’t talk much with the guys and didn’t have much interest in them. However, when the tour was over, we all exchanged contact information.
I didn’t expect communication to continue since we were not from the same country. They were all from Canada, and I was from the USA. However, Alicia and Katie did invite me to visit them in Canada, and I did a year later. Of course, Alicia would call Curtis and ask him to join us in visiting tourist sites. It never seemed like Curtis was interested in Alicia, but she was clearly attracted to him.
During the next three years, Curtis would write some letters to me, and we got to know each other a bit through the letters. I don’t know why he wrote to me, but I replied as a courtesy.
Then Curtis said he was coming to the USA for graduate school and would be in my city. Perhaps he kept in touch with me because he was planning to be in graduate school in my town. Maybe he came to be near me. I never asked him. I don’t think he would have told me even if I had asked! I think he was a shy guy when it came to relationships.
Curtis arrived in my city in August before school started for him. We went out for dinner, and it felt like a date. I dressed up for him, and he always dressed nicely in brand-name clothes that were neatly pressed. It was three years since we met, but it was different this time. It was just the two of us, and we spoke a lot in person. We smiled a lot in each other’s presence, too.
Soon Curtis was busy with his studies, and we didn’t see much of each other. However, he left me with one memorable evening. Curtis asked me to cook dinner for him and bring it to his place, where we would have dinner. I cooked dinner, and he came to pick me up to go to his home. Upon arrival, he offered me a large can of beer. It was double the size of a regular can of beer. I didn’t usually drink beer but accepted it since that was all he offered.
I placed the food on a square table that he had. We sat down to eat. Lamp lights were on, and the room was dim. Curtis sat starry-eyed and drank his beer. It made me nervous, and I laughed. In turn, he laughed too. We laughed about nothing. He didn’t seem interested in eating. He continued staring at me and sipping his beer. We exchanged looks at each other; we smiled at each other in silence. He still didn’t eat, and so I didn’t eat either. Then the phone rang. Curtis didn’t pick up; he continued looking at me. He didn’t seem to take his eyes off me for even a second. I said he could answer the phone. He said he didn’t need to because he could get the message on voice mail.
This one gesture from Curtis made me feel special. His focus on me no longer made me feel like a silly girl but a woman with a man who treated her like she was the center of the universe. Soon we had a conversation and started eating. Perhaps it was the dim lighting, or maybe it was his focused stares at me that made the evening feel dreamy and romantic.
Curtis finished his tall can of beer, went to get another one, and asked me if I wanted any more. I couldn’t even finish the first can and offered him to finish mine. I was laughing while I said it and didn’t think he would do it, but he did!
This gesture made me feel closer to him. Curtis was not an aggressive or assertive guy. His clothing and place were always clean and orderly. It was surprising to me that he would drink from my can. My attraction to him was about to bubble over.
We soon finished eating and washing the dishes together. Curtis said he drank so much beer that he was sleepy and was not in good condition to drive me home. He suggested that I could stay overnight and that he would drive me home the next day. He said he could call a taxi, or if I stayed, he would not be responsible for the monster that could come get me. I threw a couch pillow at him, and he threw one back at me. I said I was not afraid of monsters but that he was scared. He said he wasn’t, and we continued laughing and throwing pillows at each other.
I secretly wanted to stay, and I wanted to get closer to him. But I was not going to make the first move. Finally, I settled down to bed in the living room, and the lights were out. Soon Curtis came over and teased me again about the monsters coming. He provoked me to get up and bash him with a pillow. He ran and led me to chase after him and into his bedroom. There we ended up on his bed with him on top of me. We kissed and kissed and kissed.
The lengthy attraction to each other was finally confirmed. The pull toward each other finally merged and fused.
I am still bewildered by the chemistry we had. Why did we have it? Why could there be chemistry with one person and not another person?
Evan, someone I have known for decades, is the most romantic guy I know. Communication with each other was easy. Mutual interests and values were present. But the physical attraction was missing. I don’t know why. I have many happy memories with Evan. We talked, laughed, and had fun but no chemistry. I wish we did. He was attracted to me, but I was not attracted to him. I wish I were drawn to him because he has so many qualities. I once thought chemistry wasn’t that important, especially if you already have most of the ingredients of romantic chemistry, as I defined earlier. But it seems that the mixture won’t boil if one is missing. And even if you have them all, it doesn’t mean it would necessarily turn into the relationship of your dreams. Humans are too complex!
But one thing is clear; you know when you have chemistry with another person. You feel drawn to be near them. You feel a connection. You enjoy being with them. Time flies. You smile and laugh together. You are focused on each other. You can sit together in silence and feel content.
You know it is a great feeling, but you don’t know which ingredients must mix and combine to make it chemistry. You both need to feel it; otherwise, there is nothing to mix together. You can’t make it happen, but you rejoice in the miracle that it is when it occurs.
Though it may not be easy to see blind spots, there is a way. Besides seeing ourselves through others, we can also find them when we reflect and write about something we wonder.
Though we may have chemistry with some and not with others, it is a joy to feel the tickle when it happens.
Next week, you will hear two new real-life stories called How to Have No Regrets and The Closed Door that Opened. If you enjoyed this episode of Eye-Opening Moments, please share it with others, subscribe, support the show by clicking on the link in the description, or go to www.inspiremereads.com and leave a message. Thank you for listening!