These are all things we notice daily, or do we? The subtle gesture, the head nod, the quick intense glance, the oddly timed laugh.
When I try to remember back as to what some of the gestures my Mom made growing up, the only one I remember besides her smiling was pursed lips. She never seemed to approve or disapprove in a visible way, but if I saw those pursed lips I knew she did not like something. Dad, on the other hand seemed to have only one gesture, and it was intensity. It was usually intense with a significant leaning in the direction of anger. I am sure they had more, but I don’t remember them.
It’s funny, I don’t seem to remember gestures that well at all, but I do remember the feelings that I had. I remember whether I felt approved of or not. I remember outbursts of anger. I remember rejections as if they were yesterday. But I don’t remember the gestures that bring me to those emotions. It is as if I just store the feelings.
I know I see the gestures. But I think that they are drowned out by the noise I hear. This isn’t the kind of noise that comes through the ears. This is the kind of noise that comes through the mind. The kind of noise that makes up stories about what I see. Stories that aren’t true. Stories that are the ghosts of my past coming to life in soul that I am looking at.
I want to change. I want to walk away from these false stories. I want to start to see these subtle gestures. These subtle gestures are the ones that cut through this story that I have. They bring me to a connection with the real story behind the false one. These are the gestures that show the other persons real thoughts, their real state of mind. These are the moments that convince me that I am living in the reality of the now. The moments that connect me with the real.
I write this to remind me to look up and pay attention to the little gestures and remember them. To look at the expressions and not try to interpret them too deeply. To just engage life for what it is and not what I want to make of it.
These are the moments that I want to see…
Inspired by the writing exercise entitled “Gesture” in the book, Crafting The Personal Essay by Dinty Moore on p 10.