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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Can't you see I've changed?

Life is funny.  Not funny ha ha, well sometimes it is but funny as in strange.  It is truly a journey and it really only ends when you die.  I'm hoping I'm far from the end of my journey but I'm kind of proud how far I've come.

By the time I was 11 years old, three of the most important men in my life left their wives so I got the message early that men leave.  By the time I was 24 years old, five of the most important people in my life had abandoned me in some form reinforcing that people I love and thought would always be close or in my life, leave.   I never understood what it was about me that made it so easy for people to leave me.  That was always how it felt, like they were leaving me even though they had things going in their lives that had nothing to do with me.  But I was hurt by the fact that they didn't trust me enough to tell me they were going through something or they were considering a big life change.  It was one day, they were the most important person in my life at the time and the next they were gone.  It is hard to build a home on a quicksand foundation and that's what much of my life always felt like.  I felt like if I got too comfortable, the other shoe would drop and there I'd be.  This did not do much to bolster my self confidence.  I spent the first 10 years of my relationship with the Mr being very insecure, controlling and had a tendency to shoot first and ask questions later where my temper was concerned.  I was very much my father's daughter, but then again, after my mom's hysterectomy, I guess you could say I was my mother's post surgery hormonal daughter as well!  LOL  

The first year of marriage they say is always the hardest and at the end of mine, the Mr told me in a paraphrased way that I needed to basically chill out because he wasn't going to live with someone so paranoid and controlling.  When I realized he was paying for my father's mistakes and it wasn't fair.  I made strides to lighten up and he could see that.  I was far from perfect but I did take it seriously that I needed to deal with some of those issues.  There are fundamental things about myself that I still can't stand like my penchant for negativity when I am so desperately searching for a balance of peace in my life.  I wish I was an optimist or even naive because those people seem to have a better life but unfortunately I always find out they are just better at hiding their inadequacy in life than I do.  I have a tendency to isolate because of rejection and I don't like that about myself but it is so ingrained in me because of how people still treat me.

In the past 10 years, I feel like I have broken many chains of my youth and I think a lot of that just naturally comes with age.  You just kind of stop giving a crap about the stupid things that don't really matter.  But I'd be selling myself short if I didn't give myself the credit of the work I have done.  I have worked hard not to be so controlling and insecure.  Even though I always claimed to not give a crap what people thought of me, in the end, I always did, still do.  I mean we all do to some degree.  I think the thing that bothers me the most is when people still treat me like the person I was 20 years ago.  I'm talking in the full blown bat out of hell phase when I said what I said, take it or leave compromise, mic drop.  Like I think if I were in the situation with my grandma 20 years ago, I would probably have been disowned from the family because I would NOT have held my tongue the way I have now.  I have always been 'tactfully blunt' but I know this situation is a landmine and I'm not going to be the one to tear the family apart so I observe, pray and give up what I cannot change.

I am much more laid back where the Mr is concerned because I used to need to know every detail of his time with his mom and what they talked about to see what new dig she got in on me in a backhanded way.  Now, if he wants to tell me, fine, if not, don't.  If after 25 years she still views me this way or that, I can't change it.  Though he did make a point to say she was very complimentary toward me recently which was nice.  I was always coming up with some inventive lie about why we couldn't come to family functions instead of just saying "every time we are all together with the family, you all ignore us and even when we do show up to things, you still act like we never came so therefore we're not."  It was like when you used to call in to work back in the day, you felt like you needed an excuse to give the boss instead of just saying "I'm not going to be there, put me down for a sick day,"  It's much less stress on everyone to just say no to the things you don't want to or can't do and yes to the ones you are willing to do.

I am not interested in trying to jump through hoops for people who keep raising the hoop higher.  I've got bad legs, they can't take that anymore.  I am not going to shout from the rooftops how much I've changed when people don't even bother to ask me what's going on with me anymore and don't care to get to know who I am at this point in my life.  People who claim they "know" me and yet couldn't tell you the first thing about ANYTHING that applies to my life now.  We all change.  None of us are the people we were 10 years ago much less 20 years ago.  I don't feel like I do that much to others anymore because of how aware I am of it but I constantly run into it with people toward me.  We allow people to still pigeonhole us into an old mold that we've long since broken out of.  It can be a variety of things not just willies around the in-laws or a parent that treats you like you're still a teenager in the way they speak to you and their expectations of who they think you still are.  It can even be in your own marriage because it's easy to grow accustomed to the punch in/punch out mentality of each day once you get to this age.  Let's face it, all of the "big things" in life like getting your license, graduating high school and/or college, getting married, having kids if you chose to have them and then turning 30 are all you really had to look forward to as far as big life changes.  You hit 40 and society puts you out to pasture like you should be playing pinochle and slamming prune juice shots.  The kids are growing or grown up and having their parents involved in the day to day isn't high on their to do list.  Life begins to look like Groundhog Day a bit and you kind of think, "is this it?"

I know, it sounds like I'm in the middle of a mid life crisis and I am.  It's not just for dudes to bone their secretary administrative assistant and buy a red Challenger to tool around town in.  No one warns you of this time in life when it seems to be on auto pilot and we take for granted that as long as we still have our heads above water, all is well.  It's okay to want more for ourselves.  Whether it's your job, your health, making sure that your marriage is on solid ground and working to fix it if it isn't, planning road trips to get changes of scenery or making sure the people in your life are good quality people that are lifting you up and not tearing you down.  You can be far from who you used to be but still need to do a lot of work to be the person you are destined to be.  It's good to re-evaluate every now and then and especially to do it before you start to feel yourself sinking because it can all get overwhelming.

I don't know why I'm rambling like, I do.  Because this year in particular, I have felt like I've been judged more on who I used to be than who I am now.  I know that isn't unusual but it can be an isolating feeling and I want others who may be going through the same rut as they approach middle age (when the F did that happen!?) that they are not alone.  It is important to acknowledge the work you have done to change yourself for the better even if you don't think others see it.  It's okay and necessary to re-define terms of relationships to make sure people know who you are now even if you have to spell it out because being subtle doesn't help.  If you haven't gone through this period in your life, I'd say be glad but know that it IS coming whether you think it is or not and if you can somehow prepare yourself for it, you'll be a step ahead of me.  I'm still treading water but I've got my few key people helping me navigate things as I try to figure out what this part of my life is going to look like so when I get 20 years down the road I am not looking back with bigger regrets.  It'll be a process but one I hope has me coming out on the other side a person that I can be proud of.

How have you changed in 10 years?  20?  Do you find people still treat you or judge you on who you used to be?

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  1. If there is one thing I think I've learned in my 43 years now, it's that we all pretty much carry some burdens from childhood well into our adulthood, but I think when you truly mature is when you break those chains and finally find your own way. I think you're there but the people around you need to catch up and that is the hardest part because of that innate habit of people to just "fill in the blanks" in terms of how we tend to view others based on past experiences.

    1. Who knew the ghosts of our childhoods and the way we were raised would still affect us long after it ended. There's nothing worse than people filling in the blanks.

  2. I think it's just human nature to always see someone as being the person they were when we first me them and got to know them. In the case of parents that first meeting is when we are infants so... Yeah. Sometimes it's hard to break out of the mold we've been in, and sometimes other people just don't want us to because it's easier when everything and everyone fits neatly in its box. People have to make an effort to see the changes/growth in others and at times it's easier not to make the effort.

    Also, sometimes I think we don't give people enough credit. I know I always feel like I'm about 16 when I'm with my parents (dad in particular) but looking at in objectively there is nothing in their speech, tone, or actions that should make me feel that way.

    1. Yes, I find the neat little box theory is in full effect most times. I would love nothing more than to have deep conversations with family and friends because it's kind of exciting to see how people grow and change as they age but it's hard to do when people don't want to go beyond niceties.

  3. "playing pinochle and slamming prune juice shots" -- that is one of the best lines ever!! Truly does paint a picture, doesn't it?!

    I can so relate to what you're going through because I've experienced it as well. I had certain family members who labeled me years ago and instead of removing the label, they just kept putting tape over it so it wouldn't change. I struggled with all the insecurities and control issues you spoke of, while at the time, thinking it was "normal" behavior and that I would never be a controlling person. Bah! I look back and cringe at the way I felt/acted/behaved/believed. And you're right, there comes a point (and it's not always a conscious moment either) where suddenly the things that used to stress you out just don't hold that much weight anymore. It was an exhausting way to live, to be sure, but it's equally exhausting when you feel you have to constantly prove yourself over and over again to the very people who should SEE how far you've come. And I always find it interesting that those very people have their own crap to work on, and yet they are so busy examining our own behavior under microscopes. You're absolutely right about giving yourself credit for working hard to overcome the childhood challenges that we viewed as being the gospel truth. We don't have to stay static, even when others are more comfortable with us staying in those roles.

    1. Nice visual eh? LOL!

      I think when family does it, it's even worse because it's like "'re the ones who are supposed to support me not suffocate me with your labels!" Yeesh man!

  4. I thought I was reading about myself. You give me hope even at my age (soon to be 70 😱) and I thank you for that. Don't ever change as I really like you just the way you are. I look forward to finding you in my mailbox each and every day. 🌻

    1. Oh my goodness, you are a sweetie pie! Thanks so much for that, it is definitely going into my "happy moment" journal for the day! ;-)


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