Saturday, April 9, 2011

Another Personal Epiphany

Remember about nine months ago when I had a big personal epiphany? Well I was talking to McKay in the car the other day and it happened again - a big one. I should be a therapist. I'm making the connections, people!! So here it is.

I think moving every few years when I was a kid has affected me in more ways than I ever thought before. I have always felt that it was both good and bad. I loved that I got to see a lot of places, do a lot of things, and meet a lot of different, interesting people. At the same time, though, I have always been a little jealous of people who got to stay in one place and grow up with their friends--or even have friends that they've known since they were little kids. My husband, for example, is still very good friends with a lot of the guys he grew up with--guys he's known since they were little tiny kids running around the neighborhood playing cops and robbers together. So much of me has always wanted that. But then again, the thought of living in the same house all of your life until you grow up and move out for college is horrifying to me.

Moving every few years has sub-consciously engrained in me the idea (or fact?) that everything is temporary. Very few things in life are constant or fixed. I have never had a false sense of permanence or long-term continuity of any facet of my life. Again--good and bad...and maybe a little sad. I see now that this has affected me in every single area of my existance and personality. One example: I don't have a lot of "stuff". I de-junk once or twice a year. If there is something that I haven't used in the past six months and it holds no sentimental value (and it is a rare occurrence for me to attach sentimental value to anything), I throw it out or donate it.

I am not a shy person. Never have been as long as I can remember. But that is no coincidence or a roll of the dice of personality traits. It was forced on me. I HAD to be socially adept. I lived in a sink or swim world when it came to making friends. There was never an old, trusty BFF I could fall back on, because even if I made a friend that close, he or she would be gone in a matter of a few years or less. I had my brother and sister and my mom. I always knew they would be there. I always knew I would have them. Even while my parents were married, my dad never seemed like a permanent fixture in our family. That is probably because his position in the Navy took him away from us quite a bit. (Now, don't get me wrong--I LOVE my father and we have a great relationship now. But I don't have the same connection with him that I do with my mother. Maybe it's the difference between a mom and a dad in relation to their children, but I think it goes deeper than that.)

So, yeah, maybe that's a little sad. Again--I see the light and the dark side of it. The obvious good point is that I have no trouble meeting and socializing with new people. I grew up in a constantly changing and unfamiliar outside world and that's really okay. I have always been a rather outgoing person who has no problem walking up to and conversing with a complete stranger. Again--it was do or die for me, so quickly making friends with the locals was always a necessity for an interloper like myself. My dad refuses to believe that I ACTUALLY KNOW all 788 people on my facebook friends list. But I do. (I'm not trying to brag about my friends list--that would stupid. Just making a point.)

The dark side? Looking back, I see very few people in my life that I really ever connected and/or attached myself to. There are a good number of people that I have considered friends and have known for a long time - and I still do consider them friends. Good friends. But if I'm being completely honest--and I am--there aren't many of them that I would be totally devastated about losing (as friends). Now, that may make me seem like a horrible person, but I can't help it. I unintentionally program people into my life as temporary additions--so when they're there - great - but when they're not, don't be upset or surprised because nothing was ever meant to last. (<--And I know that is untrue. But again - only for very few things in life. ) 

Taking a long, hard look at myself and my life I see that I have probably come off as a somewhat shallow or perhaps even fake person. I see that and I own it. I'm going to stand in my truth and say that I KNOW that I most likely seem to be that kind of person to who-knows-how-many people. I know that and I also know that it's because I have an unhealthy awareness of the temporary nature of life and the world and everything in it. I have turned off that part of the brain (or heart maybe?) that makes you sad when people don't like you. People may think that I just put up a tough girl front or maybe they think I'm being bitchy, but the truth is that I just don't care. The even bigger truth? I don't know how to care. At least not about that kind of stuff. If there was some kid in high school that didn't like me or thought I was a freak or whatever - one of two things happened: I either didn't know about it (because I didn't care to know) or I did and it just didn't matter to me. I have this maybe probably most likely clouded vision of my high school experience being a generally easy and pleasant time where no one was really all that horrible to anyone and we all pretty much got along. But who knows?! I was only partially giving a crap! If I had a friend one day and lost him or her the next, I might have been bummed about it...or I might have pretended to be (<--more than likely the truth) because that's how you're supposed to feel when someone stops wanting to be your friend. Gotta fit in in at least the core concepts of the most basic human reactions and interaction, right? (or you have to be a decent actor, and I believe I am)

So to anyone who might be reading this who knows me or used to know me - I apologize if I ever came off as fake or shallow or calloused. I am sorry if that hurt your feelings at some point or is just now hurting your feelings after reading this. PLEASE know that it has/had nothing to do with you personally. I am just kind of broken. And maybe I shouldn't have said anything, because my friends may start questioning our relationship. But if that's the case, continue on because I am about to clarify a few things.

I am at a point in my life where I don't like to waste time on stupid crap that doesn't matter--like making fake, shallow, temporary friends. I don't have the time or patience to pretend to like people just because that's what society expects us to do. Sure, I tolerate people. And I'm an adult, so I can at least be civil with even the most horribly obnoxious or impossibly stupid/dramatic/immature morons. But I'm also the type that doesn't like to lie just to save face. I'll tell you the truth or nothing at all. So if you think we're friends, we probably are. If you're not sure, don't sweat it. We don't NEED to be friends. And who cares if I don't like you? I'm not that important.

Aside from the social impact my migrant life has had on me and my ability to make real friends, there have been some other internal side affects. For instance--I just realized that I am not a patient person. I have little tolerance for dilly-dallying. I don't care about temporary things (and I mean things that really are temporary--things that you think/know are temporary too). McKay is a worry wart--he stresses about everything.  I am constantly telling him to "Let it go! Stressing about it isn't going to solve anything. All you can do is continue working your hardest toward your goals. Whatever is supposed to happen will happen as long as you do your part. And stressing out about everything is counter-productive." Remember a few posts ago where I mentioned that things that won't matter in five years don't matter now? Well I think that thought process is rooted here. And guess what connection I JUST made? A typical military duty station is about three-to-four years. My criteria requires that a person or idea or situation outlast a military duty station assignment. Wow.

Anyway--so I am impatient in general. I can accept that. I also get bored really easily. But I say that in a broad sense. I don't have ADD. (I know--I've been tested, along with my brother and sister who do have ADD--though my sister denies it. We still love her though.) What I mean is that I get bored with the general layout of things--and that is both literal and metaphorical. When I was a kid, I would rearrange my bedroom furniture every other month. In my adult life, I have moved countless times for whatever reason. I am half-afraid to decorate my house (yeah--it's not decorated....it makes me sad and angry at the same time) because who know if/when I'll get bored with it or change my mind? And then I'll either be stuck with it or I'll have to spend a bunch of money to redecorate.

So maybe I have a fear of commitment? I think I do. I my gosh, I do....it's probably because I don't know how long that thing or person will be in my life and I know that the only thing I have complete control of is myself. I think this played a good chunk of a part in my divorce. I think maybe the idea of being in a committed, eternal relationship with someone scared me. Not because I didn't want it--probably because I was afraid of giving myself to something that I could never really be 100% sure of lasting forever. And no matter how much I KNOW that McKay loves me and wants to be with me forever, I know that, again, the only thing I can ever really have total control of is myself. So I guess I sabotaged things because my life has taught me that nothings lasts forever.

It's not a complete tragedy though. There are very concrete, solid, permanent--even ETERNAL parts of my life. I have learned and grown a LOT over the past couple of years. I have become more confident and sure of myself and my ability to maintain control of my life. I have gained a stronger sense of security in my relationships with people that really matter to me. I know that my love and marriage to the most wonderful man on the planet is forever. It IS eternal. I know that I have a beautiful and amazing son who absolutely will be mine forever. No one can take that from me. I am not as afraid to invest myself in relationships--be they personal or professional.

I am learning.

I am growing.

By golly--there has always been hope for me! Know why? Along with all of that crap ^ , I also have always, on some other subconscious level, strived for continuity and familiarity. I see it in things like me always ordering the same thing at restaurants and fast food places. I keep shoes until they are absolutely falling apart (my size hasn't changed since 7th grade). If I find something that I really, truly like--I stick to it. That holds true for everything from food, to certain friends, to great blue jeans.

So what does this mean for my future? What does this mean for my child(ren)? I want them (we plan on having more, God willing) to experience different places and things like I did. But I also want for them what I never got. I want them to have an emotionally fulfilling life with quality, long-term relationships. Where and how do I draw a line? Does a line need to be drawn? How can I be sure that my style of parenting isn't going to be damaging in some way? I'm sure my mother didn't know or think that I would process things the way I did--shoot, I didn't even know. Being a mother is the best thing ever. There aren't words to describe it. Ask any parent. But it's also very scary. We want the absolute best for our children, but who's to say what is "best"? I am still learning. I hope I never stop.

Thanks for listening reading.

4 comments:

  1. I love your posts and that you are so introspective. I'm not saying our lives were exactly the same in everything, but I felt that I identified with you on a lot of things.

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  2. @CaliIt's always nice to find someone that you can identify with on any kind of level. Makes you feel more sane. More human!

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  3. Hey man , thanks 4 sharing but this page doesnt format correctly in IE it is doubled up.

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  4. @Anonymous I just tried it in IE and it looks fine for me.... Don't know what to tell you... ???

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