Last week I was talking to someone about LIFE. Yeah, I know, that’s an awfully big topic, but we weren’t tackling the “big picture”, just little clips of it. After that conversation, I decided that I wanted to write about the “Shut Up and Deal Dance”. Then, as I sat down at my desktop this morning, I realized (again) that the issues, problems and situations I write about are so minute in the grand scheme of our world. That doesn’t make those concerns unimportant or inconsequential, but I never want to lose sight of the “much bigger picture”.
On Friday night, as I watched the news reports about Paris, I was shocked, afraid and sad. I love how the United States of America has wrapped her arms around France. To do that is, of course, loving, empathetic, appropriate and right. I think for some of us it’s easier to associate with Parisians because they seem more “like” us, but it doesn’t matter whether the people being attacked are living in a culture very different from ours or very similar to ours–pain and loss is still pain and loss.
There is so much tragedy happening in our world. Even if we only take a snapshot of the terrorism going on, it’s overwhelming. In Asia (Iraq, Pakistan, Israel, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Turkey, Syria, India, Saudi Arabia, Yemen), and Africa (Kenya, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Somalia) alone, the amount of violence is unimaginable to me.
You might wonder what this conversation, about the state of our world, has to do with “the dance” I started the post with. On the road to a peace-full world, there’s a need to create peace-full homes and peace-full lives. The Shut Up and Deal Dance is something that impacts how we live.
You may know some simple dance steps that you practiced once and “got”. The Shut Up and Deal Dance is not learned in one lesson. It takes time. It takes another person (or group of people) to “teach it”. You have to keep going back to that well; keep being told (verbally or non-verbally) that, “you don’t matter”, before you learn the steps by heart; before you can replay them in your sleep. The dance may have begun when you were a child who was discounted, ignored or unloved. The dance may have begun slowly when you were with someone and expressed an opinion or feeling and it wasn’t acknowledged.
If you’re unheard for enough time, that becomes your reality; how life simply IS for you. Regardless of how you got there, if you’re in a relationship where you’re not validated, it’s likely that you’ll end up doing that dance. You decide, for reasons that make sense to you, that it’s more important, or necessary, to remain with that person than to have a voice. You CHOOSE to “shut up and deal”.
Once you stop expressing your thoughts long enough, you think that’s the way you’re “supposed to be”. Every once in a while, you might take a chance and dip into the well of “I AM worthwhile–I DO matter” and try again because you know, deep down, that you ARE important. Sometimes what happens is that your spirit gets pushed down so often, and for so long, that it bursts out and says, “I NEED TO BE HEARD”. Then when the torrent of words start rushing out of your mouth they’re accompanied by tears or anger. You say to yourself, “I’m STILL talking to myself even though there’s someone else in the room” and you swear you’re never going to do it again, but you do. Eventually you’re broken. You acquiesce your power, not to God, but to another human being. You walk through life in this dance of silence because you won’t be heard by the person you want, and need, to hear you. The transformation often happens slowly–like a wallpaper seam that’s come unglued. At first you notice and want to fix it: to make it right. Then you only notice it once in a while, and eventually you don’t notice it at all. You don’t notice YOURSELF becoming “unglued”.
If you live with someone who never asks, “how do YOU feel?”, or “what do YOU think?”, unless it’s about mundane day-to-day things, chances are you may already be existing in the world of the “Shut Up and Deal Dance”. Your dance partner may be someone no one in the outside world would think of as controlling or manipulative. He or she may have a lot of friends or be physically beautiful or incredibly generous. Maybe that person doesn’t even realize he/she controls the dance.
When you’re stuck in the Shut Up and Deal Dance, the other person opens the door and invites your insecurity through the mistreatment–the abuse by silence.
That person not only invites your self-doubt, but holds a flashlight, like an usher at a play, and directs you to the best seat in the house, where you watch your insecurity grow.
Soon, you’re on the stage, play-acting and doing a dance that you’ve practice so many times that you no longer think about the moves.
Thinking, expressing opinions, or having feelings is not allowed.
You’re a bit actor who’s voiceless and small.
Please, always remember to dance in tune with your spirit, to honor the precious, valuable and worthwhile person you are. Honor your voice; so many in our world are not heard at all.
God bless the victims of violence and persecution in Africa and Asia and Europe. God bless all those who suffer at the hands of others in our country and around the world.
God bless you,
©2015 Peace Full Home/Intentional Living
p.s. from “The Checklist from Z to A”: #35. Get in touch with your inner child; I don’t do this often enough but I know how important it is to go there and see the world through child-like eyes, and maybe even understand a bit more of why you are who you are.