05 January 2012

It Really Is Time

To grow up. To move forward. To not just 'get' over old fears but charge right the hell over them. To quit giving that little piece of ****-mentality any room in my brain. To go back to school. And to quit making a big deal out of it.

I realized with an absurd, aggravated, and earth-rattling heaviness yesterday that in trying to be a good, decent citizen my whole life long and be a good listener (a challenge back in the day as I have procured such nick-names as Blabber Mouth and Chatty Patty,) I let TOO many outside opinions seep into the inside my brain and became the wishy-washy, insecure, tormented and turmoil-ridden little creep that I was. Just read some of my older entries, you'll see. 

Okay, creep is a little too far. It just is a point of reference for how disgusted I am with this realization; and equally how frustrated.

I mean, retarded. It was absolutely retarded. Simply and finally just grabbing the realization like I was choke-holding it, it was an epiphany of the weary sort. Who woulda thunk. I thought epiphanies were supposed to be dowsed in light and make you feel like skipping all the way to school or something.

You have no idea how this whole idea has got me in a bit of a tizzy.  For no other reason than that is not how my parents raised me. Like I said in a bit part of a few entries ago: where the HELL did that monster come from?

There were two parts to this: 

1) The letting it soak in, the processing of information that had been lingering in the abodes of limbo for a time, the accepting it, the growing furiousness of wondering what in the hell "just" happened, the knowing full and damn well that it didn't actually just fly out of nowhere, and the overlapping madness of wanting to scream, yet again, it was ten or so excruciating years at my expense.

2) What. The. Ginormous. ____ Where in sam hell did she come from? 

I'm not that person. 

That is not how my parents raised me.

That is not even what I believe in being.

Did I ever mention that I think doormat people are the sorriest of people?
I don't really think anyone who knew me or knows me now would consider me a doormat, but there were doormat moments for sure.

It just doesn't make sense. When did I got from being a woman who knew what she wanted to being a scaredy-pants, little afraid-of-her-damned-shadow poser who tried to tap too hard into her old self?

Well I'll tell you what it was. I'll tell you how I got there. It was me listening to people and butting my head on brick walls. It was trying to value the opinion of others while slowly tuning out the dreams of my own heart. It was what morphed out of trying too hard to be a doormat and resenting the hell out of it. It was me forcing myself to be something I was not, and it was me making an effort and no one noticing. (So cheap!)

It was the anger and the insecurity of a person who tried so hard to be good, to do the right thing, was really dealing with some heavy crap on and on and on and on and on... along the way, and too backlogged with "whatthehellisgoingon!?" to pay attention until I was throwing syrup bottles at the wall across the kitchen. 

Or, it was feeling placated when I did try to pay attention to what was going on in and around me.  Several people, one at a time over time it felt, were simply trying to placate me or maybe placate a rage they felt on their own. Maybe me making enough gripes and slashing comments (many of which I wish I could take back) unearthed their own discontentment with feeling essentially trapped there. Who knows. I was just too inside the inside.

It was feeling cross about what was "right" for everyone else and nobody else at the same time versus what was right for Amy; and yet so rarely did what was right for me. Instead of being accountable for myself, I was accounting myself to everyone else, answering to them like a child.

It was discovering, albeit rudely, that finding a good ear was incrementally difficult to come by; and not only couldn't I get the help I needed nor rely on friends to simply say, "wow, that must've SUCKED", I didn't even get to have a 'my side' of the story without being linched for thinking the wrong way. 

I had just had enough of it.

Or I thought I had, anyway. 'Cause apparently, even after being sick of editing myself to death, I was still doing it. I was still, still saying what I thought people wanted to hear based on what truths they were able to bring to my attention. Did you catch that? I was listening to other people's opinions, digesting them, understanding their side, and trying to alter my perception to meld to some schmoozy hybrid of them both!

And then I did it one last time. With the so-called 'last' person in my satchel of people I angered to the hilt with my attempt to clean up the hot mess that I was, wanting to get control of myself AND feel validated, a final stroke of contempt plus this massive downstroke of irritating depressive moment yesterday, and it all came swirling together. That's what made me mad. Holy crap.

Have I ever let people influence me!

And then it occurred to me. Regardless of the lack of details, pertinent or otherwise, for anyone sitting on the outside of my skull, or even fragments of the story pieced together by outsiders--by anyone not directly influenced--there is only what's right for me, and what is right for my kids. There is conjecture and perception, and then there is truth. And, as much as I hate to say it, just because someone doesn't like my point of view, it doesn't mean I'm wrong and it doesn't mean I deserved nearly a tenth of what I got. It means, I made a choice.

And isn't it effing ironic that I had a whole entire life of being indecisive and letting everyone make decisions for me (or at least influence the hell out of mine) that when I finally started making my own, I would get very little respect for them.

And here's the thing. I can still hear the voices of the multitude of well-meaning people in my past saying their well-damaging things. 

I had grown monumentally resentful of it, too, relative to the time spent there. 

1 year = isolated hardship frustration times pi r-squared minus some joyous moments X 10 = clusterphuck to the nth. 


...doesn't it just SAY something about me? Yah, what a kook I am, perphaps. Because I'm the only one to have moved in and moved out, with a hefty sum of time having been served on the inside, and being so absolutely "vocal" about it. (Who really knows who reads these things. It never serves me when I'm writing something cool, only the negative. Just ask whatever anonymous person it was who printed out one of my, shall we say, meaner entries some years ago and sent it to my bosses.)

But it should also speak to how hard I was trying to make it all work--living there, working, emoting, partying, sulking, crying, laughing, celebrating, mourning.... Taking my lemons and making lemonade, if you will. Doesn't anything speak for itself?

The worst part about this whole kind of dawning-on-me thing is that it really wasn't new or surprising. And it came laced with feeling dumbass-ey and feeling freaking justified all along. Weird.

The realization that I was drowning in that deforming mentality, rather than staying true to myself. It just sucks.

I mean, family can have their own way of screwing you up, true, but isolated northerners...

And to digress a bit more, yes, I know it wasn't just people back there, that it was just my own experience, that I am grouping the people I loved there/people I did not love/people who weren't even from there and therefore possibly stepping on their toes, and that yes, it wasn't all bad and yes, there were good times there, and yes, it's true that I should not be coloring the minds of whichever 2.3 people that read this with a negative opinion of a community that happily functions at a stunted level, and that yes, I know my contempt screams through every word. After all, there is much to be said (and will be said in an entry soon-ish to come) about the life I had with my kids there, and that was plenty positive.

But I am truly confident that I am not wholly out of line when I say that there is definitely a certain "mentality" because I did live there and did give it more than just a disgruntled chance. I've seen people who've lived there and left use air-quotes around the word 'mentality'.
I did my damned best to entrench myself there, live and bloom where I had been planted, and deal with all that I had been dealing with at that time in my life; and contrary to what I have been told in regards to post just like this one, I am not slapping people in the face. I'm slapping a mentality which does afford me some room to gripe. Not to mention that some of the dearest of my friends there admitted, or at least relented to, there being major disadvantages to living there.

I guess it just didn't didn't work for me. For whatever reason. My very two different, Gemini sides were very present through pretty much my whole ordeal there: from start to stop.

02 January 2012

A rambling year in review: 2011 in some parts

-So yeah, I don't know. That's just what my thoughts are on it. I think the biggest thing, in rereading my religious entries, is that I am still not satisfied with my answers. Perhaps that may be because I don't know what question I am answering, and to figure that out directly would mean answering directly. It would mean taking a defined stand on something I specifically and intrinsically do not feel I can do, for I see the errors in representation on all sides.

-I had to put some barriers between me and an old friend recently. It really sucked, and I am rather sure she was on her way to doing the same before I even resolved to, but the real pisser of it all is that I was trying really hard to be the kind of friend she wanted and needed and still failed miserably (for a multitude of reasons both sides contributed to) while trying with great difficulty to overlook the fact that we both were probably always friends with each other out some sort of sense of condescending obligation. I mean, that's not to say our friendship was or is a farce. No. Never. But just ended up being more on the ritual side of a prolonged, long-distance relationship, and then when I tested the friendship by making a decision she could not stand by nor overcome, the ugly reality of it basically divided us. I really don't harbor a whole lot of ill will because she had to stand by her convictions and I had to stand by mine. But what compelled the need to put more than a little space between us, and it's more complicated than I give credit here, is that at the end of the day, she could not be there for me.

-I started playing bassoon again and realizing a huge portion of an old dream: to perform for a living. I did not make a living off of playing come true, but I DID get to just focus on playing, practicing, performing, and making some good friends for life while doing it. I realized that I have a ginormous fear of accomplishment and/or failure, and that to get past it, I had to suck up a buttload of old preconceptions and misguided notions. About myself. About others. About success and failure in general. And I did it French.

-Learning French was a much needed benefit and blessing. As a result, my vocabulary and ability to communicate has improved somewhat. I have found the ability to articulate more clearly and be more concise in my communications. Being that French is a more direct language and puts the kibosh on vague and otherwise useless constructs of language, I have figured out how to more accurately state no more or no less of a given main idea, which has helped in my writing, but has also aided in my personal psychology, making introspection and even moving forward more easily accessible. On top of that, I can now listen and appreciate French music and television much more as well as watch movies in French without subtitles. I can walk into my girls' school and utilize my newly acquired French-speaking skills. Overall, it has made my life a much richer experience.

-I never, ever, ever, EVER, ever. Ev-er. Want to live without my daughters ever again. And while that may be just exactly what happens as they go to live with their dad next year, I will scream it from the rooftops of Blogger here and through tensely clenched teeth: I. Do. Not. Want. This. At. All. It is not because of their father. In fact, if there was anybody else to take care of them when it's not me, I would rather it be him. But it is because living without them last year was absolutely hell. My entire adult life has been constructed with being a mother. I do not know who I am without them, nor do I really want to know. Whatever sweet moments of living like I was a freely independent woman and cohabiting with a crazy wonderful man that I just adore to have existed last year were intensely subdued with the pain of being without them and the terrible, terrible state of limbo I was in without them. My life is complete when they are with me. It doesn't matter that I will just have to deal with their absence when they leave home to go to university or whatever mission in life, what my mom said about that absence being like a practice run for me is the shittiest thing I've ever heard.

-I realized how negative I had become. Again. Who knows why or when, and it almost certainly has to do with the tremendous ups and downs of the last year, from divorce to epic disagreements with mon conjoint to living without my daughters, but in rejoining my children's lives to mine, my oldest has been keen to call me out on it point blank.

So, after a negativity/positivity quiz kind of acted like the final smack upside the head, I just kind of, sort of snapped out of it. I quit dwelling or brooding. I realized how easy I could do it. I realized that I couldn't handle boring without brooding, that I had brooded all last year, that I had gone back to brooding after successfully changing my outlook TO be glass-half-full back in the day. I realized that if my daughters could live through the kind of year they had and still be happy, well-adjusted children, well then, so the eff could I. I realized I don't like brooding. So I changed it back again.

It doesn't mean I'm cheery or with sunny disposition all the time. But it does mean that I have, yes, reassessed my life, realized that even with all the stresses of starting over, of tight budgeting, of cleaning up after everyone, of maxing out the overdraft, sewing holes in clothes (rather than getting new ones), scrambling to make rent---in addition to this being the THIRD time in my life that I've started out from scratch and been poor. as. fuck.---my life is still pretty good.

Maybe the third time's a charm. Maybe it's because I have this really cool French boyfriend that my daughters are trying to establish a relationship with. Maybe it's because people are so friendly in this town, or that I'm doing what I love for a part time job. Maybe it's because I have cool friends and a sweet neighbor lady and family that still loves me. Maybe I'm wiser now. Maybe it's because putting all the crap behind me is working and I'm not hiding behind anyone or anything anymore (even WITH the drama and scandal of what I did.) I don't know. But I just know that things are getting better. I know I am seeing signs of hope, joy, love, and exciting times passing my way and just as sure to come.

-Bottom line of the last year: not apologizing for myself ever again. This is not the same as being sorry for people I've hurt or mistakes I've made. But it is about correcting those mistakes, making right the wrongs, and moving forward. I have not always moved forward so decisively. In fact, I pretty much never have. I have blabbed to just about everyone I've had a problem with in email form while continuing to spin out on either 1) blame/wanting someone else to take the responsibility of any given gripe (early on) or 2) force their side of accountability. I will probably never quit trying to be a mirror towards people, but I will not be focusing on what I can show someone else--I will only be worrying about choosing the paths and turns I am taking to be happy and to bring happiness to myself.

In the words of a very dear friend in regards to all the naysayers and judgmental critics: f*** 'em.