Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hail the Gut

I don't like him. 

This effusive man in his 50s is all smiles and compliments; others are beaming at him in acceptance. He seems friendly, my head says approvingly. I twitch my lips into a polite grin, but my eyes do not match. 

Since his eyes don't match. They shift from side to side with a feral gleam, and I'm becoming nervous. My stomach burbles worriedly, nudging me to move along, like an impatient toddler. 

Don't be silly! my brain rebukes my belly. You are just giving in to your prejudices. But I don't want to be familiar with him, to be on first-name terms; I slowly recede backward into the crowd, intestines unclenching in relief while the gray matter sighs in exasperation. Melodramatic, it sniffs.

A few years later he is banned from the shul for inappropriate conduct. Told ya, the breadbasket triumphantly declares.   

One day I receive an e-mail containing the profile of a potential date. His education sounds intelligent, his photo unantagonizing, but reading between the lines as he describes himself my tummy begins to percolate. He's like that other pitiable guy you went out with, it warns. See, there is a vacancy in his gaze

Pshaw, my cerebrum scolds. You always smugly say so how "open" you are. How can you be "open" if you have nothing concrete to say "no" to? Because your midriff is complaining? It could be what you ate for lunch.

But my boch is nearly sobbing with tension. Don't! Don't say "yes"! Look into it! Please!
I look into it. "No, no, he's really not for you, he's a little . . ." my source hurriedly and swiftly dissuades me.

An acquaintance's engagement is merrily announced online, complete with photo of the couple. He looks nice, but there is an unpleasant gurgling in my middle. He isn't good enough for her, it churns. Something isn't right

My brain silences my bowels with a You're just jealous. I must be. Why else would I wish this angelic girl any ill will? 

But her marriage is undone within the year. And it's all on him.

As a Spock-fan, I've never really given that sensation in my innards much credit. "Go with your gut"? What sort of human hokum is that? Logic! Reason! Facts! There lies true enlightenment!

Yet how come my gut got it right? The Vulcan eyebrow droops.    

Yes, there have been times when my tum kept mum when it should have piped up. There were times, mostly in my childhood, when my gut overreacted needlessly. But in the wisdom that comes with age (snort), I'm taking my my belly's hysterics seriously.

One of the definitions of "gut": "used in reference to a feeling or reaction based on an instinctive emotional response rather than considered thought." 

But research has shown there are as many nerves in the gut as there is the brain; Brené Brown testifies that the gut reaction is based on actual rational conclusions; the burble and grumble is just its way of getting the message across.

I do consider myself a rationalist, but it's all about balance. Heart, soul, and faith needs brain to function.      

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