Jeremy asks that we shut up and listen

15 Jun


Another week, another step in our journey, Jeremy’s third testosterone shot is today, and we may even have it all down to a fine art of pre-lodging a prescription to cut down on hospital visits.

The physical changes are small but still noticeable, his voice is starting to change, there are a small yet definite number of real facial hairs on his chin, he’s even closed that weeny gap in height between himself and his brother.

In the middle of doing school work and paid work and socialising J had an upset moment.

When he was very little his small chubby hands would grab my face and say to me “Mummy listen to me”.  This bright spark bubbled on and on and on and on singing songs and telling stories that as a busy mum sometimes the important stuff got missed.  Often the “Mummy listen to me moments” were tales of woe, easily addressed with a hug and agreement that Minka the cat was a bugger, or that it wasn’t fair that Lukey didn’t want to share the PlayStation all the time then a discussion about other people needing space or the cat not being the kind of cat who wanted to be dressed up.

Now as an adult the day is filled with snippets of information, the flow is still constant and he gets frustrated.  Sometimes, just sometimes, he needs full attention.  This very social creature has greater expectations of the people around him, he does not have the every day exchange of conversation that his nature needs that people who are employed or at school have.  He fills his day with the everyday chit chat and the important stuff that needs full attention sometimes gets lost in the babble.

Last week he did the adult equivalent of “Mummy listen to me” face grab.  He told me that when he talks to people he gets ignored and that he is puzzled and hurt, do people not like him?.  I’m unsure how people ignore him, and then I get it.  In a world where we reduce messages to 140 characters, blog posts, texts, people keep conversation to a minimum here is Jeremy who craves a more fulsome interaction.  His nature needs  long in depth conversations about cabbages and kings, politics, snake handling or whatever topic is occupying his mind.  He needs a friend or two who will join in the conversation.  Salem is a good companion but her cat conversations are limited.  J is lucky that he has in his circle an amazing young woman who has been a friend since they were six years old. She listens and laughs and contributes, her own journey has been fraught and she shares her experiences openly and with trust and love.  Sadly she lives in Canberra so face to face conversations are limited.  But that is a vital connection for J and he knows that friendship can be that complete and rewarding.

Perhaps the solution for J is to find a happy middle ground.  We can’t all of us be all things to all people at all times.  He admits that acknowledging that something has nothing to do with him is hard, and he is working on it.  Maybe he needs to realise that often people are not ignoring him but that they are involved with their own lives and problems, that to get the kind of conversation that he craves he needs to be clear with the people that he talks to and to be selective about his audience, to acknowledge that not everyone can articulate their thoughts and feelings with the skill that he can and often people are uncomfortable with such self examination to be able to respond fully.  By directing his communication he will get a better response, be more fulfilled, be a better friend and in turn receive better friendship and, like those awesome Galileo thermometers, people in his life will find their levels.

I worked hard in my professional life to be able to listen and problem solve for others, to seek solutions.  To be able to use that skill again for Jeremy is a delight.

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Posted by on June 15, 2015 in Uncategorized


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