Tuesday, June 19, 2007

And Thinking a Little More

So I'm still thinking and "blogging everything out" (I like that term, Courtney!- "blog it out"- exactly!). It turns out, my dad really liked the tee shirt! Hurray! But more than that, I talked with one of my favorite people this weekend who I don't get to talk to as much as I would like because she had her first baby a few months before I had Elspeth and well, everything has changed since Elspeth came along. About that, people have different ideas about how many kids it takes for you to feel like everything is out of control. For me, it was totally three. I mean, any semblance of order and routine and structure is completely lost. For some people it is two kids, for some it is more; I thought things were crazy with two, but I just had no idea. I am just throwing that out there as a plea for mercy both from everyone who might have noticed what a (bigger) mess I am and for everyone who I secretly or even not-so-secretly thought was a mess in the past. For that second group, I am just so sorry, I had no idea! Have I already mentioned that? I am just feeling like I am experiencing much "karma" lately! In a good way. Anyway, my friend is the kind of person is who is always ready to laugh. I love so much how she laughs at the stories I tell. She makes it even easier for me to laugh. And I was telling her about my dad and she was just cracking up. And she adores her own dad and could even tell me how her dad was very similar to mine in some ways. It was so helpful because it reminded me that some things are people's personality and not a direct response to me. I am such a people pleaser and a reactor. I am often just reacting to the people around me. But everyone is not that way. A lot of people are pretty true to who they are all the time and it doesn't have anything to do with the people around them. That's actually pretty cool. I am totally revealing how codependent I am aren't I? Oh well. I'm sure you've all known it all along! Anyway, I told my mom that that was making sense a little now and she reminded me how a lot of things about my dad really are funny when you remove yourself from it because we have always said how much like George Banks (as played by Steve Martin in Father of the Bride) is like my dad and we think all of those parts in the movie are hilarious. And it is true. My life as a movie would certainly have Steve Martin cast as my dad (incidentally, George's dad would be played by Dave Letterman as he often reminds me of him though I am not sure why. George's brother could be played by either Vince Vaughn or the guy who plays Janitor on Scrubs. Again, not sure why, but just always think that and since we're casting people for my life story... who should play me?) Anyway, I think sometimes relationships that don't feel right to me become all bad in my mind. In much the same way, people who I love, like this friend or my sister or my friend Michelle or Jennie almost can't do any wrong. It is so easy to let love cover over for people who in every way make you feel special. If they fail to in some small way, you barely notice. And conversely, in a relationship where you have not regularly received a loving message, it is easy to interpret very minor things as contributing to a negative message even further- like when someone doesn't like their gift.

But my friend told me how her dad doesn't get excited about gifts they give him and that he really doesn't get excited to give gifts either; he writes checks, but he doesn't pick out presents. I am very much a gift giver. I get so excited about sending people little surprises in the mail. I can't wait until they get their "happy"and hope so much that it lets them know how I'm thinking of them and excited about them. But some people are not this way. My husband is not really that way. So I should be used to it and know how to let people off the hook. But when it comes to certain people, this very thing seems to sink them into even deeper trouble with me. It is most unfortunate, but it is something I can totally change! Everyone is not like me! Surprise! Or didn't I just say that the other day? I know, I think I say things like that all the time. But I forget.

One of the reasons I forget is that I don't really know myself very well. I think I run around being people pleasey a lot and don't think about what I really am good at or want to do etc. and of course I think I'm just bad at everything because I also have that focusing on the negative habit. But for anyone I think, it is hard to recognize your strengths. But if you don't then you think everything you do is normal and easy for everyone, and then you feel bad when people don't respond to you the way you do to them. But if you can see yourself as different from other people for better and for worse, it is much easier to see other people for who they are. If I just know that I am a "gifty" kind of person, I can stop getting my feelings hurt when people don't seem excited about what I get them or don't get me a gift for something because I know it's not me they are not liking or forgetting; it's just not their personality. I should know better really. I have a family member that is evidently a "hugger." I am so not a hugger. A lot of people either are or they aren't. I had one really good friend in high school who gave huge bear hugs to everyone in sight. Two of my other best friends barely tapped you on the shoulder in a side hug. Anyway, I'm a sideways shoulder tapper for the most part. And this family member told me how it upset her that I didn't hug her. And I felt bad. But at the same time, I just know I'm not going to be a hugger. I tell George pretty regularly to stop hugging me so tight or just stop altogether. And I told her that, just to let her know it wasn't personal and that it's just me. And she said "I know that. I know that you just don't feel that way about me and that is just not something you are comfortable with with me." And I thought "Hello?! I just said I don't like to hug my husband!" This was so infuriating to me because it was like she was determined to take it personally. See what I mean? Karma!

So I just sort of feel like I am able to kind of look at some of these relationships that have felt so hopelessly dysfunctional in the past, even in spite of prayer and confrontation, and kind of hack away some of the extra stuff obstructing my view of the real relationship. Not sure if that makes sense. But if I can chop away at some of the things that really amount to difference in personality and have nothing to do with the relationships, I can see more clearly what the problems really are. Or even if there is a problem?! As fate would have it, most of the people I tend to have chronic trouble with have similar personalities to one another. My friend Annie would probably call them type A's if she knew any of them. And George always says there is some sort of sociological rule that says the anxiety level of a group is dictated by the person with the highest level of anxiety. So if you have a type A, who is also really impatient and irritable if things don't go perfectly and right on time and very organized as type A's would have it, there is likely to be a high level of anxiety in the group (of which I am a part). And as I am a reactor and a people pleaser, I get panicky and stressed when someone is impatient and irritable and start feeling like everyone is mad at me and that I am drowning. Yes, that is exactly what is happening, I'm convinced of it. It's actually kind of my life story in three sentences. Wow! And the only solution is to change those people's personality! Ha! I'm kidding! And I can't change mine either. What I can do is know how I am and be okay with that and know how they are and be okay with that. And that is how we can all get along! See, didn't we all learn something today? You're glad you read all of this aren't you?

Well, I make it sound like now that I have the wheels of my head turning, these things are going to be a piece of cake. I know that's not true because that whole sentence about "know how I am and be okay with that and know how they are and be okay with that" is huge (in the Donald Trump sense of the word). But I can start hacking away at it, praying and blogging it out. Oh I know, you're going to come back more often now aren't you? I know how you people love it when I get on my soul searching sprees. Chirp chirp chirp. Well, that's all right. Me and my pretty blue blog will work it out together and then we'll have lots of funny things to say and yummy recipes to try for you again, maybe sooner than you think!


Fittsy said...

I'm so with you on the non-hugging front, except it's not that I mind hugging, I'm just pretty awkward about it. Like you, I'm not very affectionate by nature, and I have trouble reading whether I should hug-hello or hug-bye, even with family. And then I don't do it, and miss the moment and feel really dumb. I often analyze these moments afterwards but still have trouble figuring out how I should have done it differently.

But I never tire of hugging Libby. In fact S gets her most mornings and puts her in our bed. One day I told her, in a very gushy tone, that I had missed her and needed a kiss. Stephen informed me that I NEVER tell him such things! haha

Olive said...

So, this brother-in-law you mentioned... is he as funny as Vince Vaughn? Maybe I could be interested. ;)

I'm just kidding. Kinda. I do like the funny, though.

RHB said...

in France it's not hugs, it's "bisous" (a kiss on both cheeks)- you know me, Miss Never Been Kissed until Danny, so the whole kissing thing to me is really personal. And how do you know when and who? I am in the same predicament as Fittsy with the hugs- hello hugs or goodbye? Bisou or not? At church everyone "bisous" and half the time I forget when I arrive and then feel really dumb- like a social disaster because I end up "bisouing" some and not others. AAAAAGH! Then when does the whole relationship change from formal to informal- in French one starts using a different pronoun for the person when it changes and you also begin giving the bisou. But how does one know? I am at a loss. Hopefully they understand that I am an American and just have no clue. Anyway, I know I am not the sister who can do know wrong but I hope I am a sister that makes you feel special! Love you!

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