Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

May 02, 2004

so much to feel about

This weekend has been so full of emotional experiences, all positive for a change! and it opens my heart more and makes me think about things with a little more light and hope. I thought I would just get worn out this weekend, and was having a hard time thinking past it, but now it seems like a glorious beginning instead of an ending. Time to get to work.

I was telling Liz today that this weekend, and especially this morning's performance by Red Grammer singing the Tablet of Ahmad, makes me see better the potential future of the Baha'i Center and what it's like filled with happy people. He (Red) was such a great ambassador of love for Baha'u'llah and a good example of spreading love and divine principles practically to every person. That's such good energy.

And our discussions at Biaggi's last night (among four young couples, or parts thereof) made me think of this question that I've only really talked to Billy about, but I wonder what other people have experienced or figured out. I should preface it by saying that while Billy and I have a lot of important things in common, we communicate really differently from each other and while this makes our relationship exciting and creative, I often get the feeling that I'm talking to someone from another country who speaks a different language, even though we're both speaking English. As an ESL teacher, it's a little frightening to find that I can't effectively communicate with a fellow native English speaker. It throws my whole training into question, or at least shows up a whole other layer of complexity to language that I couldn't even begin to teach my students. So the question set is something like, 'How can two people from the same culture communicate as differently as Billy and I do? I can't beleive that it's all gender differences, although I'm sure it plays a part. Does that mean that personality is a more fundamental part of who you are than culture? I know it's not that simple, as there are many reciprocal relationships between them, but it makes me think- Are there double the communication differences when you are in a relationship with someone from a different culture and how would you know which aspect you are really dealing with? And yet, I don't think it plays out that way, and maybe even the opposite sometimes where two people with really similar personalities and similar societal roles in their respective cultures can communicate really easily. Am I making that up? I think I've experienced that but then I wasn't married to that person from another culture that I seemed to be communicating well with, so I never really got to the level of intimacy that I'm trying to figure out here. It's so hard to tell which variables are coming into play sometimes that I don't know how to even verbalize the whole thing. Blah blah blah. To get more specific, there's the whole issue of body language. I grew up learning to be very sensitive to people's body language when they are speaking (and especially when they are not speaking) and learned to tell when people are feeling open, and when they close or aren't comfortable, and I thought that this was relatively universal to European-American, Illinois born and bred, middle-class people. But Billy has this whole other body language that I habitually misinterpret because I didn't know there WERE different body languages within this same group. But there ARE. And he didn't learn mine either. And I don't even know what to call my body language versus Billy's body langauge. Are there words for such local details of communication?

And if this small issue is so complicated, then my question goes global: Are people from different cultures and with different languages doing a better job than I am with my same culture, same-language husband figuring out how to communicate about important things? I don't know quite how to answer that. The EU just went from fifteen countries to twenty-five. But then there are nations and groups with such huge misunderstandings that they all want to kill each other. So, on what foundation do we build from here? The only (but big) thing I've thought of is the creative power of love (personal, as well as divine) to build bridges over unfathomable distances. That's as far as I've gotten with it, but it's really fun to try to figure it out in this happy, constructive way. Very refreshing.

Posted by Bahiyyih at May 2, 2004 10:10 PM