Slice of Life: Confusion and Being Human

My #nerdlution15 challenge is a warm up for my SOL post.

Today’s word: confusion

Confusion — bewildered, baffled, confounded, mystified.  In a tangle of knots. Not knowing which end is up. The state of confusion is a place where we are lost and sometimes frustrated verging on the edge of anger and despair. We feel it’s our fault. Clearly we aren’t that smart or perhaps we are losing our mind. Or maybe someone is playing a trick on us; changing the rules mid-stream and not letting us know. Laughing behind our back. That is where the embarrassvertical confusionment comes in. A confused person is one who doesn’t understand their world or situation. But wait, is confusion a cultural shame? Why shouldn’t we view confusion as the necessary precursor to clarity?





If you haven’t read Anna’s One Little Word post, you should. Her words helped me find mine.

Time and being human are at odds. Humans make mistakes and messes, and the limited nature of time can magnify the impact of our imperfections.

My parents, at 94 and 87, have been each other’s best friend through 56 years of marriage. They have been their children’s and grandchildren’s biggest fans, giving what they thought was the best they could give. They have fought for their independence, never wanting to be a burden. They parented, modeled how life goes; they taught what it is to be human.

They taught me about mistakes.  How mistakes can hurt and be life changing. Number one they taught me to be brave and own my mistakes. To admit to them and apologize for them, no matter how painful and embarrassing. They taught me to reflect on my actions. To question, and if found wrong, rectify my thinking and doing. They taught me to be honest. To be honest with myself, and in so doing made me more responsible for my actions.

This Christmas there was a misunderstanding that grew from confusion and resulted in anger.

My parents refused to see my brother. This was the first Christmas my parents did not see their son. The first Christmas we were not all together.

First there was confusion.

Baffled, mystified were the words my parents used.

I don’t understand what could have happened were the words my brother used.

Then came anger. The feeling of betrayal on both sides.

I tried to piece together the events and the actions, but it was impossible. I had a feeling as to what had happened, but in the end had to rely on what I knew to be true about my brother and my parents.

They have a relationship of over 50 years of love and trust. This had to be a misunderstanding based in confusion that moved to anger.

After a long discussion with my dad on New Year’s Day, he came to believe he had made a mistake. And even if it wasn’t completely his mistake, he saw the need to reach out. “I made this happen,” he said, “I have to make this right.”

The next day, he called my brother and apologized. Not an easy thing to do.

Right after the call, I got a text from my brother, “Dad called, I think we’re in a better place.”


Being human is hard. We react badly at times towards people we love. We make mistakes.  And (if) time is linear, we must make amends quickly. I know my dad wishes he could turn back time and eliminate the moment that precipitated the trouble. But, that isn’t possible, so he did what he had to do.  And I watched, getting instructions on how to be human.

Thank you to Two Writing Teachers Blog, to Anna, Beth, Betsy, Dana, Stacey and Tara, for this space11454297503_e27946e4ff_hto share the small moments that construct and constrain our lives. Read more slices here.

11 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Confusion and Being Human

  1. Such a heartfelt piece, Julieanne. I like how you put confusion at the center of your story. We’ve had holidays like this in our family – not many, but it’s happened – and it hurts. Sounds like your family is really close and already on the way to working it out. Love (and time) heal wounds. 🙂

  2. We’ve all been there in some way or another. There’s something incredibly raw,real, and honest about mistakes. Admitting mistakes confirms just how human we are. Thank you for sharing your story. You reminded us that it is okay to make mistakes and you are never to old to admit you’ve made a mistake.

  3. I love the words your father said, and the love that moved him to make things right. Love, I sometimes feel, is all about confusion. And it takes courage to look for clarity within the tangles of confusion. So glad things are in a better place!

  4. I think your dad must be a wonderful person, Julieanne. Making amends is not easy, and he thought again and made things better. What a lesson for all of you, and us. So great of you to share!

  5. I would love to meet your parents. Mine are 78 and 81 and they are slowing down considerably. They are both healthy and sharp, but this slowing down, this fear that seems to be settling in is disconcerting to me. I am accustomed to their strength and energy. Thanks for giving us a piece of your heart in your writing. I think I need to be more patient and try not to miscommunicate.

  6. Beautiful piece, Julieanne. I’m sorry about Christmas, but what a wonderful father you have to reach out and make it better. Holidays can be so full of joy, but so full of pain, also. Anna’s post was a wonderful reminder to value our time, because, yes, it is linear, and we can apologize, but we don’t get the time back. Thank you for such an honest and heartfelt reflection.

  7. “Being human is hard. We react badly at times towards people we love. We make mistakes.” Truer words were never spoken. I can’t tell you how much these three sentences resonated with me.
    Like Melanie said, we have to value the time we have with those we love since we can never get it back.

  8. I think this line,”the limited nature of time can magnify our imperfections,” is so powerful. My dad will be 87 in a few months. My 94 year old uncle died during the holidays, and it seems their generation, the “greatest generation” is disappearing before my very eyes. Nothing can stop time, so each moment, each celebration, each missed opportunity, has such magnitude. Thanks for sharing your story!

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