K. I. S. S. – A Lesson in the Art of Simplicity

Simplicity

/sɪmˈplɪsɪti/

A principle that emulates the return to the bare necessities of living. A lifestyle by which an individual renews their awareness of their own desires, which are then given expression with the necessary act of decorum to avoid the backlash of self-imposed expectation. Its about getting back to basics.

It’s storytime sweeties!

It was one of those slow and sublime Saturdays – the type where birdsong beckons and soft sunlight strokes your cheek, and no damn Disney heroine could ever match your gliding strides and your penchant for song…

And then you really kick it up a gear with a steaming mug of strong black magic (no, this is not an aphrodisiac, its coffee), play that one song that you just sucked dry since having it on repeat since last summer (still not knowing those lyrics), and grace the world with its first look at you in that sleepwear that just screamed to be left in your teenage fantasies (the world never really is ready for that kind of beauty on a sleep-in day). But darling, its like you have care! You feel you are winning at life!

My expectations of the day were few to none. I was about to rock it out in my leisure suit for a big one, doing what any sane human would do when the world wasn’t going to ask much of them: figure out how to heal the world; have a talk with myself; maybe relocate that one bit of clutter on my desk for the next time I am productive (have a laugh with myself, because I know that desk was made for that clutter); have that other talk with myself; reflect on the purpose of meaning; and take that late morning nap (because, you know, its not like I just had a good ten hours of sleep – and sleep hygiene is a thing).

So amid my third self-talk (because the other two got a bit intense and hurtful things were said) my phone gave that familiar set of vibrations of someone chaining their messages so that you obviously give notice…

Well f*ck. Now I had to look. I mean, you don’t get that kind of attention often… And who in God’s good name would ever think of messaging me while I haven’t even gathered my bits by midday. I mean… I must be special. Give the people what they want I say! Bless them.

So it was this fellow I had been chatting to for a while, after he had found and messaged me on social media a few weeks before. Since those early days where that approach just marinated in stalker vibes, he actually turned out to be down to earth and a pretty nice guy. So, a coffee date was proposed…

Of course I went! Who knows where that third self-talk was leading to… It was already scratching at childhood traumas… And… I was bored. Added, curiosity is a nagging banshee when she is not attended to!

So I whisked my hair into something resembling windblown spun gold (it did not resemble that at all); slapped on some moisturiser like a beauty influencer ready to look snatched (or because I felt that I needed something to resemble a get-ready kind of feel); and threw on a button shirt, denim jacket and some teal cargo pants. Oh… cargo pants, and in teal. Yes, I was about to crack Olympus and not even the gods would dare come down to handle all this glory!

Now at this point, I was already having hesitations. This do-nothing day was long in the coming, and I was about to give it all up for a coffee date which could have any of a number of turnouts. And this was sparking up a fourth self-talk. So here starts the lesson sweeties. When that fourth discussion rears its big ugly head, you know you are cracking the lid of Pandora’s box and should just leave things be. Especially when you are a wallflower who reserved themselves on keeping their petals closed for the day. Simple enough… right?

Yeah well, so is vanity. And after a soliloquy or two of glorious self-aggression, your main flower right here just needed to feel he could bloom a bit. So you only have that wise epiphany of going AWOL during your fifth self-talk and then the drama is already done. But like I said, I was bored. And FOMO (fear of missing out) has been my nemesis for years!

In her humorous TED Talk, The Magic of Not Giving a F***, Sarah Knight introduces the wonder of the “NotSorry Method”, where you can escape the trap of feeling obligated to do things that you don’t feel like doing. In essence, you can learn how to stop giving a f*ck (representing your time and energy) to things you do not really care much for. Well sweeties, it appeared as though my savings on f*ckbucks asked for a handsome deposit into something gloriously undesirable on that fateful day!

So lets fasttrack past some tedious details: I hopped in the car; dropped that other beat that I had on repeat since that one wedding; got to the meeting place; was welcomed by my date (whom we shall call Othello for good reason), and we were off to build some chats over a Cup of Joe. But Joe was a homely bastard that gave you diabetes with the amount of sugar my host added, and had a questionable ethnicity due to copious amounts of milk. I had after all sipped its cousin that morning, a little blend of ground El Salvador. Now he really seduced me with his exotic undertones!

But this is besides the point. So my date was not the best at conjuring up a cup of coffee (travesty as that is) , but he was of a genteel character regardless, and a gracious host. The necessities of hospitality were accorded to, and pleasantries were exchanged. And he asked me a few simple questions that showed a mild interest in my life at the least. Note: all these were already covered in extensive text messages, but we needed to follow the proper form during this meet-up after all. (My word but I hate small talk!)

So there we were, two blokes about to venture into a deeper introduction in the life of the other. A nice mutual reciprocation of shared stories, experiences and philosophies. This I could handle. All my reservations was for naught! We were about to have a spiffingly good time, I was sure.

God, I wish. I cracked the lid to Pandora’s Box remember, and this b*tch was about to release all the horrors of the world onto me! Oh and did he…. I had a front seat to the glory that was his entire beautiful trauma of a backstory. If my life was filled with monologues, than this guy would have had enough for a whole new act to make Shakespeare rethink his poetic prototype of a tragic hero! He would have this knack of building up a beautiful life event to a hopeful climax, and then create this disaster of a denouement that went crashing into an iceberg with many, many casualties.

Still, all of this was… Fine… In a very very patient backlog of my mind. But what really got me, was that Othello here did not hit pause for nearly two hours. And this wallflower came out to bloom darling, so I needed some watering as well… you know… a chance to actually respond! But gracious me, this fellow was raising his garden, calling a spade a spade and just making a big muddy mess by digging up his dirty drama! My petals were shook!

Darling, we’re talking family drama that would move Game of Thrones to Disney Channel. We’re talking sprees with lovers that would make him fill the self-help section in the book store on the psychology of love and relationships (none of which would be best-sellers, since he is writing so many… ). And then there was his claim to a German heritage that really upset my pollen. The last trace of a German practice in his family was nearly three generations removed, and he did not understand a single word of the language to boot! I guess it was his little histrionic habit of making himself seem more exotic.

He was so the drama. But a good raconteur, I’ll grant him that… being a lover of stories myself. But this story was effectively planting me back into my inner world… you know… where all the magic happens. So I was about to bloom there for awhile to figure out this dilemma.

Let me sketch this picture for you. Within a quaint little living room with two armchairs, one two-seater and some other questionable furniture, we were positioned accross from one another: me on the couch, and Othello having grabbed one of the armchairs facing me. The lighting was warm and ominous, making the whole room seem like some harlem to harbour many dirty little secrets. And I swore, I caught whiff of the traces of the seductive scent of spices in the air. There was obviously a mood here; there was a milieu I had not yet picked up on. See, here is the thing. At this point, my interest and attention had steadily wilted under the pressure of the drought that was my boredom… and my disbelief that so much strife could befall poor Daddy Drama across from me. My eyes were strained out of their sockets to keep up the appearance of attentiveness and investment, yet my thoughts were lost in the ether of “what the hell did I get myself into”.

But at this point, his story came to a screeching halt, and it threw up enough dust and gravel to blind my preparation on a response. Oh but not to worry, his mouth was revving its engines again! But this time it was a steady and idle hum in the utterance of: “So what do you really think of me? You must be overwhelmed with all I just said…” (no really, you think?) “but how do you feel about me?”

Cue dioalogue to self…

Sweetie, I think you are a hot mess, and you haven’t been to the therapist in a minute! Me: “Oh, well… Uhm… You have been through a lot. I can see you have faced your trials and tribulations, but you have shown commendable resilience through it all. I like that.” Please silence yourself. “And I can see you have gone through so much self-reflection with regards to your experiences in relation to others. I really think that is a mark of strength and that makes a man attractive.” Fool, be still thy tongue! “And considering the power of the events you have had to endure, it surprises me how you have managed to keep your smile.” For the love of the all that is good and sacred in big beautiful world… shut up you blithering idiot! “So I don’t think you have to be a product of the past, (he should revisit it though, poor lad needs to pull out those problems by the root!) and you can rather just try to enjoy to be the independent person you are instead of fixating on things that are long done. Because you are cool, and have done well. I mean, that certainly makes you likeable. ” Well, good morning Mr Affirmation, how the hell are you doing? I see you have done a stellar job with your psychology index so ready at hand… Still having trouble with honesty I see?

What happended here was what I like to call the “Daisy Dissociation”. The name blossoms well on the tongue of the wallflower admitting to their faults, but is also a playful tag on the female character in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s magnum opus The Great Gatsby. In the novel, her character often struggles with an honest appraisal of her own feelings and thoughts when the situation becomes white hot, and withdraws into her status and world of materialism to escape the overwhelming demands of the scene. In this case, I was hiding squarely behind well chosen words eloquently and sensitively conveyed.

But I was stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. My hardwon pedigree and practice of being a gentleman risked dissolution, and yet I was so keen to unashamedly confront Othello here with his talents in procuring so much (easily-avoided) sorrow… Do either, and the behaviour does not match the thoughts and feelings behind the alternative. A classic case of cognitive dissonance if you are interested in a bit of social psychology.

His response was a coy smile of contentment that brought me right back to the situation to really start smelling the roses and figuring out his angle. He excused himself for a moment, and made his way to the kitchen…

His claim to being German was about as legitimate as my claim to being Houdini’s successor, because there was no way I was escaping this as soon as I had hoped. And heaven forbid my weak stock of available alibis at that point, because I could think of no reason that I needed to excuse myself, but a million reasons why I wanted to. And intuition was shouting to me that something was afoot!

And then he strolled back in with a peculiar gait. Oh there was definitely a shift to the ambience, the lights seemed to dim at his very presence… And the foreboding of something fragrantly awkward was setting the scene. His pace slowed, and he gave a glance back at his chair before drifting over (unwelcomed) to sit next to me on ‘my’ couch. Yes mine, as in, I was seated in this ridiculously large throne, and the jester was not entertaining the king. And when I said end of the couch… I mean nearly on top of me. Oh no honey, you are stepping on the wrong flowerbed.

He scooched closer, and I lamemted to the heavens why the blood of Athena was not coursing through my veins that day to grant me more wisdom. He took my hand, and my whole essence cringed into perpetuity as I damned that trickster Cupid for his bad aim on this poor fellow. And from the depth of my navy-blue eyes, my soul cried rivers for the desperation of any flight-or-flight reaction when he neatly positioned the following words: “I think I really like you, and I think we should give this a chance”. I think I was two-thirds over the armrest by then… A deer in the damn headlights of damnation… with my own little bohemian rhapsody in questioning the borders between real life and fantasy. WHAT?! “Something like this does not come along often, and I think we have something special”. Au contraire my disillusioned little friend, this comes around quite a few times for you it seems, and special does not even BEGIN to describe it! I just bet you say that to all the boys… For shame!

So sweeties, at this point a few other lessons dawned on me, if too late. The first is awareness of your environment. Never sit on a seat that allows more than one occupant – especially on a first date. You never know when you need to jump the boat… or the couch for that matter. Secondly, drizzle a little less honey on your words and serve your tea piping hot, but with that touch of refinement. Thirdly, avoid self-talk on Saturdays… And don’t get so excited by things that vibrate in the mornings… LORD!

So I turned my gaze to look him squarely in his bespectacled eyes, twisted the rest of my body to face him in the least seductive way that I possibly could muster (which was hard, because you should never underestimate the desires impressed upon others by teal cargopants), and said. “Look, I think you are nice… good job, keep at it… and I am flattered that you would want to be with me… Literally, no one cares! Spill the tea sis! Throw that pot right at him! … but I am just really not ready for a relationship right now.” Oh for f*cksakes

So here is the problem with that line: ‘right now’ does not take into account a ‘later’ or a ‘one day’; your lack of feeling ‘ready now’ does not account for your possible readiness later; and your habit of dishing affirmations can turn an open and neutral comment into a hopeful prediction… for the other party. Basically, he was about to take his time sipping the tea I was serving, and would bounce RIGHT BACK with his advances once he finished his cup. I had delayed the drama…

And he looked about ready to consider other ways of convincing me… sooner (since I had not used my pronouns effectively in explicitly conveyeing my disinterest in him)… And his eyes were trying to strip me bare of my inhibitions. But he gave a nod, and what I believed was an understanding smile, and gave my hand a pat (as if I just earned a gold sticker on my report card) and went back to his own seat. “Maybe we can get to know each other for now. I think you’ll come to like me”.

I think the nerve endings of my hand flared back to life about a week after… But boy were those neurons firing in other places sooner to conjure a self-directed caveat for dating.

I carefully tended to the scenario which planted a few key observations in memory after that day. Firstly, my words were blunt shears if ever their intention was to convey hard truths without a hint of consolation or simply to knip the problem at the bud. I preferred the trimming of a situation with well-chosen words. Normally, I applaude this little disposition within myself, but when it comes to those particularly uncomfortable situations fellow bloomers, your escape is only imminent when you sharpen the blades. Speak your truth!

Secondly, we are entitled to our judgements or opinions, but that does not permit anyone to be an arse. Actually, you are permitted to be that as well, but the likes of approval do not then becometh you. However, you may not care about approval, in which case you would proceed regardless. But a blossom blooming alone amidst arid views, is wiped away by the flood of criticism. But roots entertwined with that of a few others, could perhaps just stem the tide (we all need friends, so be careful of what you say).

The moral of the story, is that honesty should be cultivated carefully, but allowed to bask in the sun when the situation calls for it. Truth, if dealt in a timely manner, is never unwelcome. It permits growth sooner than does misdirection. So fellow bloomers, learn to say no to invitations that ask your energy to be invested in those things you care little for. Resist hiding behind the words that sweeten the circumstances too much that you need to drink in. And… for f*ck sakes… when you reach that moment where unnecessary complications need to be weeded out, be your own bloody valentine and give yourself a K. I. S. S. …

KEEP IT SIMPLE SWEETHEART

Love and Light fellow bloomers!