WordPress brings to mind processing my words, pushing them through, extruding them into interesting and useful designs. This post is not that.
I’ve been thinking instead about word relationships. Or … how things feel, what I think, and how to put those ideas to words so they can be shared and tested and honed into something helpful for others.
I’ve been thinking about the difference between performance and connection. I thought about this the other day while I was dancing. When I’m dancing with someone I haven’t met yet, sometimes I feel (and maybe they feel too) some pressure to perform. It makes things less fun. Other times, people clearly aren’t putting any effort into the dance at all, and that’s not very fun either. But that mutual effort … that’s magic. That’s fun. That’s connection. And that (along with the built-in movement, touch, and music appreciation) is why I love dancing.
I was thinking more about effort. I mean, performance requires effort. This post is not going to be any kind of performance, at all. I just want to jot these ideas down so I can stew on them later. And maybe see if someone out there has thoughts they want to share too, or ideas they’ve heard of, or a recommendation on what to read? And yet if I don’t put in enough effort to clean it up, would anyone even bother reading it?
I was thinking about recognition, and how that plays in with performance, vs connection. And I was thinking about the differences between gratitude and recognition.
I was thinking too, about progress. And achievement. And maintenance. When it comes to dancing, I enjoy it more if I maintain myself a bit. I don’t get as hot or as tired or as sore afterward. I can be more flexible and do more interesting things. And then hey, there I am back at performance again. Or is it connection because I recognize the mutual effort?
I was thinking about maintenance at home. About unloading the dishwasher again, and again, and again. Wondering a bit peevishly about the ratio of how often I’m the one taking care of that task compared to others in my household. Wondering whether anyone notices my efforts at all or whether they just depend on them. I think they notice… Maybe? But unloading the dishwasher and taking care of the laundry and making dinner and paying for the home… none of these feel like an achievement. None of those feel like a performance. None of those really get recognition. And given that there’s really not much mutual effort, there’s no real connection there either. It seems a thankless task. And yet nothing else I do would be possible without all that maintenance. Do they appreciate and enjoy it? Do I?
And I was sitting in tub while thinking about all of this. Clearing my head. Noticing the places where I got grout on the ceiling and where I missed a bit of caulk. Needs more maintenance. I thought about the grout lines that looked great and the ones that looked terrible. I don’t notice the great lines. I notice the terrible ones and want to fix them. But I really don’t notice the mediocre stuff. Do I appreciate that it’s done so I can soak in that hot bath? Oh yes, yes I do.
I thought about how appreciation/performance/connection/maintenance/achievement and all of that plays out in marriages. Seems the classic man and wife could either be happy together in their shared achievements and appreciation, or miserable as they seek and fail to receive recognition.
I thought about the relationships I’ve had. All lacked mutual effort and recognition. Still, I learned from them. Maybe one day I’ll get it right.
I thought about society. I thought about what a disaster a world with more Bezos and less waste management might be. I thought, as I have many times before, how quickly our world would collapse if all the underpaid, under-recognized, often unseen individuals were to suddenly stop working.
I thought about my work. Am I connecting well enough? Am I not just putting out my efforts, but seeing others efforts too? I thought about the open-source community and WordPress. Are we really connecting right now, or are we performing/maintaining separately?
And I thought about how much better it might be if all of us could see each other more clearly. I thought about balance and grace. And I thought about dancing again, about relaxing, and the enjoyment of the moment for what it is. I thought about keeping at it, doing it more often, and being intentional about maintenance and effort and balance, and especially at connection. Hopefully I’ll keep getting better at connection.
The dance is better
When it’s not the performance
But the connection