After I had been dating someone for about four months, we were driving around deciding where to go eat when he turned to me and very solemnly said; “There is something you need to know about me…”
Right here time stopped. The seriousness in his eyes and the tone in his voice were such that my mind immediately soared around a whole universe of chaotic secrets, looking for the one I could be on the brink of discovering. In less than a few seconds my fertile brain had already considered a variety of diseases, abnormalities and conditions …perhaps he had a sixth toe, maybe he was really blind in one eye, or deaf in one ear… which would certainly explain why he never seemed to listen to me. Maybe he was a felon and needed to borrow a rug for the body he had in the basement… even though he didn’t have a basement nor I a rug. The chaos that I was able to imagine had no end, maybe he was a Spy!!!… as long as he didn’t want to borrow money!
All of this mental chaos took place in between his opening statement; “There is something you need to know about me …” and what followed immediately, “… I don’t do Spaghetti”
Now here I must confess my brain had a bit of an issue, “…I don’t do Spaghetti” left me with nothing, I had nowhere to go from that. Had I heard correctly? He had said it with such intensity that he couldn’t be kidding. It would have taken the acting skills of Meryl Streep to pull that off. He explained to me that he had a rule to NEVER eat spaghetti because he had discovered that when he did, he would end up with spots of marinara sauce all over his shirt, and this he would not put up with. So I intelligently replied, “Ow-kay”
The funny thing, besides the obvious, is that I didn’t feel any relief about the fact that none of my imagined chaos came to pass and there would be no dead body to move. Instead, I became focused on how stupid this issue was and got a hankering for Italian food. Then, being that I am an “Awareness Expert” I told him, “Well, honey if that is the case what you MUST do to get over that is eat Spaghetti!” to which he refused.
During the following years, ‘doing’ spaghetti became a sore spot bubbling up any time we had an argument. I would use it to prove he needed to lighten up, and he used it to prove how I was always telling him what to do. We almost broke up over it. I mean how could I be with someone who wouldn’t ‘do’ Spaghetti…right?
How many things in your life have you gone ‘spaghetti’ about? and then again, how many things are you fiercely focused on ‘un-spaghetti-ing” about another person?
Both cases boil down to two of the most damaging characteristics of our human condition; 1. Taking ourselves too seriously, and 2. Our need to control. Joy and peace cannot exist in our lives, nor the lives of those around us when we are in the grasp of these two forces.
When we take ourselves too seriously, our need for control has no middle ground and we become spectacularly absurd, but we don’t know it. We take the ‘things’ we stand for just as seriously. For a long time, I thought he was ridiculous because he wouldn’t ‘do’ Spaghetti, all the while not seeing how ridiculous I was for wanting him to ‘do’ it. We were both in the prison of our unawareness.
The solution lies in being vigilant and aware of what is truly going on whenever we are in a negative emotional state. Then we simply MUST learn to laugh at ourselves because we truly are the funniest thing around.
… if you must know…. he finally had a plate of Spaghetti… and, yes, he ended up with marinara sauce spots all over his shirt…. His fault, I told him to wear a bib.
Shayla Rivera #AwarenessBeginsChange