I haven’t blogged about anything in several weeks, despite my firm declarations that I would blog more this year. So much has happened and yet nothing really has happened at all. I have been trying hard to keep up with our AFS blog, since a lot of other host parent bloggers fell off that wagon pretty hard, and our blog is all over the AFS website.
The other night I was mentally composing a blog post in my head and it was BRILLIANT, I tell you. BRILLIANT. I was listening to Sarah Bareilles’s King of Anything on the radio and singing along. That song has become a personal anthem of sorts. There are so many great parts in it, but here are some that really resonate with me:
You’re so busy making masks with my name on them in all caps, you’ve got the talking down, just not the listening…
You sound so innocent, all full of good intent, swear you know best. But you expect me to jump up on board with you and ride off into your delusional sunset…
Now I have forgotten much of my brilliant post, but I’ll try to formulate below…
February was a month when a lot of people disappeared from my life. I have done a lot of soul searching in the past 18 months or so, and I’ve discovered that if I had one complaint about myself, it’s that I allow people to treat me as a disposable commodity, a convenience to pick up and put down at will.
There is a part of me that has always felt “second best” and been eager to accept any mere crumbs that have fallen my way. Everybody’s pal, but nobody’s best friend (don’t get nervous, Lesley! :-D). In one of my favorite movies, The Holiday, Arthur tells Iris she’s never the leading lady, only the best friend, and Iris realizes she should be the leading lady in her own life. That part has always felt to me like the true soul of that film.
Until a year and a half ago, that was enough for me, or at least, I was willing to put up with it, feeling I deserved no better. I thought that if I disagreed with my family or with my friends, it made me a bad friend, a bad daughter, a bad sister, a bad wife, a bad mother. I would go so far as not to express an opinion about anything—books, movies, music—until I had a gauge of everyone else’s opinion first and if I disagreed, I would just nod rather non-committally and refrain from expressing an opposing view. I think during the first 5 years my book club was in existence, I may have opened my mouth just a few times to express anything. I was (and to an extent, still am) terrified of saying “the wrong thing”.
So many things I’d say if only I were able, but I just keep quiet and count the cars that pass by…
All my life I’ve tried to make everybody happy while I’d just hurt and hide, waiting for someone to tell me it’s my turn to decide.
Through a lot of help and especially recently talking with a good friend of mine who had similar patterns of behavior and thinking, I’ve come to realize that the worst thing that can happen is that you lose people who can’t accept that you are changing. That you are demanding just a little bit of respect. (Remember Dianne Wiesst in Parenthood? “Not a lot, just a little!” I’m full of pop cultural references today!) That you expect honesty in your relationships. One thing I can really and truly say is that I am sick to death of being lied to. And I do believe that dishonesty is a major cause of many relationship problems that most of us have.
Regardless, I am not entirely innocent either and I definitely am willing to own up to my mistakes, and I have made more than a few. So to those of you who have been offended by something I said or did, I am truly sorry.
One interesting aspect of having Penny here is that I do feel it is more incumbent on me to be a role model. I make no show of hiding how I feel about many of Penny’s friends, who are obnoxious and rude little shits. :-D Since the day she has arrived here, they’ve sent her nasty messages via Facebook and the things that she’s told me about what they say to her and how they treat her when she is in their presence is literally shocking. And I suggested to her, “You are so desperate not to be lonely that you will tolerate any abuse at all just to have someone to talk to.” And she agreed with me, which is sad. But I have also talked with her about my own relationship issues as they’ve come up while she’s here and let her take the lead in deciding what should be done about them. Some decisions she’s made wouldn’t have been done the way I think I would have done them, and she’s found it very interesting and I think a learning experience to see what happens in relationships and that you can survive if people you are related to or people you think are your friends bow out. I have tried to explain to her that you can say good bye without feeling resentful.
One thing we’ve talked extensively about is how each of us has our own perspective on things. One of the things we’ve talked about with regards to friends is how whether or not I think something is true, my friend views it as true and I have to at the very least attempt to respond to their reality. For instance, someone recently remarked that she wants to be friends with Penny but that Penny never talks to anyone. Penny disagreed totally with that statement. I explained to her that whether she agreed or disagreed, that was how other people saw her was as a person who didn’t want to talk to anyone. So she renewed her efforts and now has been making good progress in the past week or two at talking with people and seeing them respond to her as a result. (Of course, she is pissed it is now March and she is seeing results, but it’s taken till March till she’s made this type of effort!)
So, yadda yadda yadda, just some things that we’ve been talking about, things I’ve been thinking about and discussing with friends. In light of this, I recently cleared out my friends’ list on Facebook. I cleared off nearly 100 people. There are more that I certainly could clear off, and I may. Every couple of days I go back through the list and chuck off a couple more that I never hear from, that I was just being nosy about, people who weren’t especially nice to me “then” and who I really don’t care about hearing from now. In preparation for Lent, I’ve been thinking about last year’s experiment in giving up Facebook, and I’m going to do it again. During that time, I’ll make a list of the people whose updates I miss most and delete pretty much everyone else…
In other news…
Leah’s 2nd birthday is planned. I was going to have it at Toddlin’ Time since that is her favorite place on earth. Then when I went to reserve it, I came to find out they already had a party booked on that date, so I had to look elsewhere. I really didn’t want to clean the house and go to the expense, and frankly after looking at it, the price to have a party elsewhere is cheaper than the expense and trouble I go to having a party at home. So I booked her party at Wiggle Worms and then found out that the party at Toddlin’ Time is for one of her friends at TT, and we are invited to that party. That mom had her invitations professionally printed and the whole 9 yards, and since I hadn’t, I volunteered to move Leah’s party, which I was able to do. My dad is going to make it down since I’ve moved it, which is even more exciting! He is also going to come down on April 20th and give us a night off for our wedding anniversary. Woo hoo!
Choir rehearsals have started up again. I am enjoying it. Our theme for this year’s gala is “Going on a Sea Cruise” and we are doing all songs about the sea, so it’s right up my alley. I have been busy helping with the silent auction by soliciting donations and I’m happy to say I’ve gotten some pretty awesome ones, so that’s cool. I have made a lot of connections in the past 2 years of being here in the community full time, so it’s paying off for the choral society anyway! If anyone has eighty five dollars they don’t know what to do with, feel free to come on out on April 17th at UMW and listen to us. Tonight we started learning choreography and stuff, so it’s going to be a lot of fun!
Well, I guess I should go to bed. I’m tired and I’m babysitting my neighbor’s son tomorrow. There’s more stuff going on, like my great yard clean up this year, but that’ll have to wait for another post!
Good night, everyone!