This series comes at an interesting time. Finding people I can successfully collaborate with is weird. I have had scores of people that try to co-opt me into their work: “I want her on my team!” But of course, that person gets to be at the tip off while I get stuck as a point guard. FInding people that see what I’m doing and want to be on my team – like really, it falls right in with their creative interests – that’s rare and difficult. It’s why, where many people have a dream lover locked in their minds, I still have the running fantasy of the dream collaborator.
This series will help me pinpoint why I have had so many failures – and what to look for on the way to those rare and precious successes. While the baggage of others is the single greatest cause of my collaboration fails, there are definitely other problems.
So – people that chronically mishear me.
R1. Seriously. I can hand the man written directions and he still gives out wrong information. I know he thinks it’s funny, or that my snappishness is funny. But he’s not choosing to do this at times when the outcome is funny – a core skill in that particular type of comedy. So really, he’s just being an asshole. Since any conversation with me that isn’t about him and his interests causes his eyes to glaze over – *Shrug* – it’s not a language I want to learn. i’ve taken enough abuse from narcissists. I’m glad I no longer have reason to work with him. I’d be a terrible leader if I made conversations about me all the time, but it needs to be about me sometimes – and not as a patronizing gimme.
R2. His ADHD is so bad he’s in state care. It is genuinely a miracle he was able to drive to my house as often as he did; he only got lost twice.
We used to joke about my mother and the “‘Alice filter.” No matter what was said, she took it to mean whatever justified her latest mood swing. There’s one conversation I had with her when I was first away at college. I don’t recall the topic – but I do recall her response. She sent me a birthday gift of embroidery material. I had NEVER been interested in embroidery – and I really did not want to sit, staring down at highly detailed work after the highly detailed work of studying. Whatever that was, it went through one hell of a filter. Also, she was nuts. She probably thought stabbing myself with a needle and giving myself additional migraines would make me want to find a husband, drop out and make babies.
My ex-husband. There was one year he bought me a plug in the wall phone … as a birthday gift. He genuinely did not understand why a household necessity made a bad gift. (No, really, would it be OK to give toilet paper or Clorox?)
I generally feel misunderstood in writing and in person a good chunk of the time – it’s haunted me since childhood.
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