Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Mid-life crisis tears local blogging mom asunder


To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. --- e.e. cummings, 1955


As with any navel gazing, I re-read this about a 1000 times to make sure it wasn't self-pitying, overly negative or presenting a false impression of what is merely one facet of myself, and most of all didn't ring out like some sort of, "Don't hate me because I'm so beautiful...it can be hard, really!" I hope I have presented the following self-indulgence as the productive journey it really has been. If not, please, feel free to edit and correct for me in your mind. :)

Hi.

Don't mind me. I'm just having a developmental spurt aka identity crisis. It makes me a little cranky, and a lot self-involved. Believe it or not, this isn't a mommy identity crisis. This is a personal identity crisis. It might even be a mid-life crisis, which makes me worry for my longevity, but at least takes off the pressure for planning for 50 years of retirement (as if I'm the sort who will ever retire) (or am I) (who knows) (it depends) (on who I am or am not).

What precipitated this?

Well a lot of things. But the straw that broke the camel's back came in the form of a nightmare the other night about Harry.

Who's Harry?

Harry is this guy I knew briefly about a decade ago, and had more or less forgotten until this nightmare. I met Harry when I started a new job in Cambridge at a small technology start-up. Some red flags had gone off more than once before I even took this job. I'd actually turned it down, twice. They talked me in to taking the job anyway.

On my first day, I met Harry, who would be training me. Harry dressed as if ready to bolt out the door and climb a mountain. He had on hiking boots, multi-pocketed REI special shorts, and several layers of shirts under a sweater (it was March, in MA). He was too tan for the region and the season, but he was my age, seemed like an interesting sort, and would be training me. As is typical of me, I thought, let's make friends!

Harry put the kabash on that lickety split.

Harry, you see, was losing his cash cow, thanks to me. Although I had been told that I got the job because Harry was moving to South America, in actuality Harry was a contractor being replaced by an employee (me). I had no clue that the South America jaunt was his annual cycle and prior to me, he'd always had work to come back to.

Each year, while living in a cardboard box to the side of Boylston or something like that, he'd work until he'd earned enough money to hike his way through South America. He'd come back and work more when he ran out of cash.

I thought that sounded really interesting...what a different life. I had no idea one could do that, but I was immediately smitten with the thought, and figured my husband would not need his arm twisted to agree.

I tried to be nice and inquire about this whole contractor and travel lifestyle but Harry basically told me to mind my own business. Sometimes he forgot to be an asshole, and would wax poetic about traveling hither and yon, share a tale, tell me about a great local restaurant that did that native cuisine well...but then he'd snap back and recall I was Public Enemy Number 1.

During all of this I was baffled by what seemed like a nice enough person treating me with such resentment and impatience. He was doing a dreadful job handing off the job. In fact, sometimes it felt like he was trying to sabotage me. I didn't understand why. I didn't even comprehend the depths of his hatred of me, until he made The Comment.

He was running through a file with me, explaining his logic, showing me his code and where he stored text. It wasn't making sense to me and I must have asked about three times about it. He was getting irritated with me, and I with him. I was thinking that him on a mountain in Ecuador sounded good about then.

Finally he whipped around and snapped, viciously, "I told Boss she made a mistake hiring you. I said you were too high-maintenance, too high-strung!"

Holy crap.

Wow.

I'm not really sure exactly what high-maintenance means---I never have been. It seems to vary by person. However, a statement like that means more about the speaker than the target, in my experience.

I'm not even sure how either trait---did I happen to possess them, which I admit I do to some degree---is necessarily a negative. I had kinks to work out. No doubt.

However, I had always been well-liked at work. My performance reviews were always great, and bosses and co-workers had always said they were glad to have me on their team.

Of course Harry's comment was sour grapes.

But man, it stung. First, because I couldn't believe that he had actually been trying to sabotage me. That's low. Second, because it wasn't the first time I'd heard that dig.

I've lost track of who and when and where and how many times I've heard something similar about me just being "too big" or "too much" or "challenging" or "scary" or "intimidating" or "overwhelming." I was just plain "too."


Nobody puts Gisele in a corner, "...you have to be authentic and very different -- otherwise, you'll be pushed into a corner."


I think it must have been in my early teens when I first started trying to be who people wanted me to be, just enough, so I could be accepted, just enough.

I was still me but I kept it under wraps and developed a public persona. I spent years trying to tone myself down to an acceptable level for public consumption. I realized I needed to get by.

The problem was, my public persona was only good for a limited duration. Sometimes I was so busy sustaining it that I missed some really important things right in front of my face. Sometimes I was so busy focusing on being this persona that I was careless or thoughtless. Sometimes I was so tired of being this persona that I retreated entirely for a while to fluff up my mask. I often had many different types of friends in order to allow different aspects of myself out of the bag every now and again. Because I was frequently spread thin, I rarely formed deep and abiding friendships.

Ultimately, I lost not so much who I was, but got off-track with my goals and priorities about who I should (and needed) to be. Thus, instead of spending my youth maturing, I am spending my adulthood maturing.

I've spent many years working to understand who I am, what is valuable, and how to be okay with who I am, as I am. To stop trying to be who and what other people want me to be, as if there is something wrong with who I am. It's hard, though, because I'm not the easy breezy covergirl sort of girl that people often prefer---which, trust me, I often hear about.

On the whole, I am okay with me. What I am still not okay with is the reaction to me that I sometimes get.


How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone. --- Gabrielle "Coco" Chanel


I've never quite understood why certain personality traits are so preferred.

I suspect---and I do not mean this cruelly because it truly is fair enough to a degree---that in large part it has to do with which type of person makes it easier for me to go along my business with less need and demand, perceived or real.

My next boss was described as "high energy," which, although true, was a euphemism for something negative. She was very busy, very active, did many things, most of them quickly. She moved fast, spoke fast, and expected fast results.

One day, out of the blue, she came to my office, really frustrated, "I used to think David was my favorite employee," she confessed, referring to one of the engineers on our team, "And I like him, I really do. I always thought I preferred laid back employees like him to any other sort, you know, like someone really motivated, like you. But you know, sometimes, okay almost always, these laid back people have no sense of urgency. I just can't seem to light a fire under him!"

"Umm, uh, okay," I stammered, "Uh, did you just need to share, or are you looking for some ideas about how to motivate him to meet our deadlines?"

She just wanted to share. Vent, really.

But there it was again: the backhanded compliment. Over time, smart, motivated, talented, organized, capable, good leader, etc. are words that have been used against me.

Even here in the blogging world, now and again, I've gotten comments such as that I am a scary/intimidating/smart/person/writer, that sometimes I don't leave any space for anyone to say anything because I say it all and so well. Well, color me absolutely and totally bummed from one of the nicest compliments.

I don't want to do anything so well that I don't leave any space for anyone.

And maybe that's the trouble---maybe all too often I do provide just a little too much. And people feel extraneous, thus resentful, or they feel stepped on, thus resentful. That's likely when I get the "positive" turned into a "negative."

The "motivated" and "high-maintenance" traits allow me to be an excellent worker and friend, but also mean that I ask much of those around me.

So why did I have a nightmare about Harry?

I suspect it is because I am once again struggling with the balance between who I am and who others seem to need me to be. I am also trying to receive comments such as "you're too much" as "not my problem."

Sure, sometimes it is, but the bottom line is that my character can't be on a volume control that I dial up or down based on other people's preferences and insecurities. Of course there is a time and place for that---to some degree we all alter ourselves depending on company and situation. And to a degree that's okay.

The part that was not okay in my past was how I changed who I was, tried to act less intelligent, less capable, less something in order to put another person at ease, in order to not intimidate them.


Let the world know you as you are, not as you think you should be, because sooner or later, if you are posing, you will forget the pose, and then where are you? --- Fanny Brice


It just so happens that I have recently entered a new arena, a new stage.

Each time I enter a new arena, there is the initial honeymoon period, and then I reach what I call the First Fight stage. (Don't take the fight part literally; I'm merely sticking with the marriage metaphor.)

Suddenly, I have been "too much" for someone and I am back in my epic struggle. Each time, I have to stop and evaluate, "Was I really too much in an out of line way? Is this case of too much about me? or the other person? Is there something different I need to do? Or is this one not on me...not within my control because it asks me to be someone other than who I am?"

I have to tamp down my ingrained response of apologize, placate, and hide my light under a bushel. Or tamp down my hot surge of angry resentment that this might be expected of me, by myself or others.

The nice thing about being older is that I am aware of this continuous journey of self-improvement, and am fortunate enough to know many folks on the same or similar journeys who are pretty understanding. The other nice thing about being older is finding more acceptance, a greater degree of appreciation of different personalities, and a more mature approach to grasping where one person ends and another begins.

All of which leads me to my starting joke about being in a mid-life crisis.

I have always wondered why suddenly becoming introspective about who you are and thoughtful about whether you want to continue on your current path is described as a crisis.

To tell the truth, I think it is called this not as a descriptor for the person undergoing the introspection, but rather as a descriptor of the feelings of those around this person. It's not easy to transition, but I think often it can be harder for those "left behind." I have a new appreciation for this feeling as my own kids often leave me in the dust, gasping for air, "Buuuuttt wait! What about the stroller? Don't you want to ride in the stroller any more? What is with all this walking everywhere all the time?" and "Buuuuttt wait, what is with all this 'you'll read the book' stuff...don't you want me to read the book to you any more?"

We expect children to change, but we expect adults to be grown-up, as in done, finished, formed. So when an adult starts acting off-script, well, it can indeed be someone's crisis, especially because we don't immediately seize on the best new lines. Sometimes we have to write and re-write to get it right.

And that's me right now, flush in the middle of an edit and rewrite of my character and story.

Well you know what I always said to my students and writers: never fall in love with anything you write because it might need to be edited at any time.

I can usually spot a spurt in my kids. It's usually a trying time for everyone, not leastly for that child. I always joke during it that afterwards the kid better be able to spout off string theory and jot out (in crayon, on the walls, of course) how to travel in space at the speed of light. This is my way of setting myself up to expect a change, and my way of making light to deal with some of the challenges of the difficult journey.

I won't have any ideas about how to build a better mousetrap, but maybe I will have an idea about how to be a better me.

Thanks for listening, and even more, thanks to those of you who make the effort to leave comments---and such interesting ones at that---even though sometimes (like maybe now? LOL) I am "too much."

copyright 2007 Julie Pippert

24 comments:

atypical said...

Okay, I just have to say it. There are some pretty strong differences between you and I (in a good way, since individuality is a wonderful thing), but really, in reading this, there were several times that I heard myself muttering, "Are you me?"

Toning down certain aspects of myself...ah, here you have hit upon such familiar ground. The urge to placate and apologize running alongside the resentment. Yeah, I call that the battle between my inner three year old and the diplomat.

Also, although I spend so much of my life asserting the notion that we should never stop growing and learning until the day we die, I struggle when someone near and dear to me acts somewhat out of "character." In all honesty, I think that probably has more to do with my own insecurities (questioning my ability to feel the thrust of who someone is....something I almost always trust in...a defining part of who I am).

Ah, I can see my grammar is rapidly beginning to deteriorate (yes, MORE than usual), which means I may soon enter the stage of not making any sense, so I shall cut this comment off right here. But, I just wanted you to know I appreciate the fact that you wrote ALL of this post.

-t

P.S. I hope I was alert enough in the writing of this comment to issue only forehanded compliments. ;)

Scribbit said...

Well you certainly gave me an interesting picture of Harry and of yourself--is there ever an age when we are totally and completely comfortable with who we are and what we're doing? I'm well into the 30s, heading toward my 40s and still wonder the same things about myself sometimes.

Sober Briquette said...

Julie,
If certain facets of your personality are intimidating, that's not a fault, and inhibiting them in order to fit in better may not be the only solution.

Perhaps instead you can make other aspects shine - the best example I can think of is two brilliant doctors - one with bedside manner and one without.

A gracious person, instead of being overwhelming, makes you want to be swept along with them.

(I don't feel I know you at all, so please don't think I'm suggesting you are not - what little I've read of you blog suggests you are indeed!)

Some people, most people, "average" people (among whom I have been disillusioned to include myself!) may not be comfortable with that loss of control, and so you have the pattern of bosses who don't want to work harder to keep up with their employee and friendships that aren't completely fulfilling.

I thank you for sharing this journey of yours. But really, who cares about the rest of us? It's yourself you have to be comfortable with, to live with for the rest of your life.

Aliki2006 said...

Please don't "edit" yourself! You are yourself and no one else--and I'm sure you've heard that pat advice many times.

I can understand what you're saying, though, and even relate to it. Sometimes I go through crises myself--as a blogger, even, but I do feel that this space is one that is mine (my blog, not yours!!) and that I'm writing for me ultimately.

It is good to articulate these thoughts--crises and all, though. I love your intensity--the fact that your words leap off the computer screen--it makes you all the more real and interesting and readable.

Christine said...

Julie, you are not too much, you are just right. Oh jeez this sounds trite, huh? I don't mean it to. I guess i just feel like the traits that sometimes other people find "too much" or that you have to "tone down" are the ones i admire most about you (well the you i see in your blog writing).

And i agree about that whole "crisis" notion. When we want to change, alter, or examine our lives and our hearts but are over 30 everyone thinks something is wrong. That you've hit some sort of sad wall. Why can't it just be ok? Why can't we continue to grow without it being some sort of crazy freak out crisis?

Anyway, thanks for being who you are right here at this blog. Don't hide or tone down anything for us.
love,
c--

ginabeaner said...

Well I have never thought you were too much. I have also been accused of being intimidating. I now think of this more as the other persons problem rather than mine.

i liked your discussion on "midlife crisis" as not being a crisis for the person but rather one for those around him/her. Good point. We do think of adults as rather static and not the true dynamic personalities that we really are.

thailandchani said...

I think most of us spend all of our lives trying to cram ourselves into boxes that don't fit. Heaven knows I did it for many years before I finally pulled the "f*kkit switch", preferring to just be who I am. What others will make of it is not my concern.

That doesn't give me permission to be negative or ugly. It just gives me permission to allow my natural way of being to exist in this world without concern for the perceptions of others, beyond simple courtesy and respect.

I was always told I was "too much", too. "Turning down the volume" wasn't an option.

Nothing is permanent. We are all always changing and growing. I believe those who need us to remain the same, predictable and never changing are more concerned with control than anything else.

I come here each day to check your blog because... simply... I like what you have to say. I like good writing. I like clear thinking.

In the dumbed-down culture of late, I guess I can see where some might find that intimidating.

On the occasions when you go a bit over my head, I think "Okay. Not today. I'll come back tomorrow."

Seriously. I wouldn't give much energy to these negative perceptions. It seems you are largely talking about workplaces. Consider the source.


Peace,

~chani

Mary G said...

I really believe that people who tell someone she is 'too much' are really saying that they are 'too little'. If I am plodding along on my skis, and dodging the downhills, and a competition class skier sweeps by me, I can have one of two reactions. The first is 'Wow, that's beautiful, wish I could do that but I'm having a good time plodding anyway'. That's what a person secure in herself would say. The second is 'What a show off, is she trying to make me look bad?' and that is the feeling of someone who is childish/insecure and lying to herself.

For me, I love it when you soar away. I like what I do, but I know how special your stuff is.

You say "the bottom line is that my character can't be on a volume control that I dial up or down based on other people's preferences and insecurities."
I agree with you entirely. But,
I think the need to grease the wheels of office life is one of the prices we pay (like stopping for red lights when no one is coming) for community living.
You are going in the right direction, I think, by saying 'It's not my problem'.
This is trite, I know, but ----- You go, girl!

Julie Pippert said...

Mary, you have beautifully expressed exactly where I am with this.

Adolescence can create some pretty bad habits, which die hard, not the least of which is the concept that the ee cummings quote addresses, and which you touch on with the idea of community living.

In adolescence, the expectation/message is so frequently, "Be Just Like Me...Or Else."

And of course it's a time teeming with insecurity.

For a long time (too long), I lived as if it was my responsibility to always cater to expectation, in every situation. The trouble with this is multifold, obviously, LOL, including (but not limited to) frustration when I fail to please or be rewarded for my effort.

Who I am and how I behave is within my control. How people accept (or don't) and respond to that is not. So, I have been working to wisely know the difference and to live better within that.

As I wrote, I do agree with you that to some degree we must compromise within a group situation or relationship. Grease the wheels. Like that LOL. :)

But I'm sticking with your first case...and leaving behind worrying about the second overmuch.

Thanks. :)

Julie Pippert said...

Chani, that's it exactly. At some point, we have to back away from teh round hole and just be the square peg we each are. With courtesy, kindness, respect and consideration for others as well as ourselves.

And that's what I am doing: losing my overconcern.

I also agree that we evolve, well, most of us, usually. :)

Thanks for the compliment.

***

Gina, yes, and thanks. I wish we better understood the process of adult development leaps. Better accepted it. Like we do with children.

***

Christine, it's not trite: that's the succinct summary of my point. I have had to learn and accept that I am just right.

I don't plan on changing like that...or toning myself down. This is more of that living thoughtfully and consciously stuff I talk about a lot.

I am making myself conscious of my instinctive, no, make that my habitual reaction of trying to tone myself down *when it isn't necessary* or shouldn't be asked of me.

Exactly, like I said to Gina, and like she said, I wish we better understood adult development leaps.

That's my new term. No more midlife crisis. :)

***

Aliki, oh, I hope you read what I wrote to Christine just above this. I'm not editing myself or changing anything other than a bad habit of editing myself when I shouldn't.

I will probably dine out for a week on your compliment, thank you.

But it also illustrates a lesson I have had to learn: the people who are true like me, and do not ask me to be who they want.

***

SB, your question was hardest of all. I do care what others think; I probably always will. But as with everything, there is a healthy medium for that, and this is the point of my post: that's where I am working to be and stay.

You make good points. Thanks. :)

***

Scribbit, I am not sure whether that is good or bad, LOL! I absolutely agree---and this is a cornerstone of my "midlife crisis" point---that we continually evolve and self-reflect.

***

Atypical, it is truly interesting that despite the differences, it can lead to similar thoughts and feelings. As much as I ask for people to accept and understand me (and my changes) like you I also have to work to extend the same thing sometimes.

I like how you put that: battle between inner three year old and diplomat.

You were def. alert enough and not a backhand in there anywhere. :)

Gwen said...

I worry about people whose personal growth stagnates after a point, although that really isn't my business, what other people are doing. I really think this is the beauty of aging, that we finally learn to be comfortable in our skin, to be less deeply wounded by the criticisms of others, to accept the essence of who we are while still working to live peaceably in a community. And part of living peaceably is, ironically, deciding if the criticisms of others are a)valid and b)worth our worry, if they are indeed valid.

For me, some of the things people don't like about me are true flaws. I've heard them enough, throughout my life, to know that they aren't just the jerking knee of all insecure or little people everywhere. But only a few of them--the flaws, I mean--concern me enough to work on. To me, it always comes back to balance: not every person who tells me I am *whatever the snipe du jour is* is wrong; and not every person is right either. The goal of conscious living is to tease the two apart and find some truth in the middle, a truth that I can live with.

See, I am always slightly taken aback by those rough, brassy personalities (who mostly appear on television reality shows, ahem) who say things like, "Well, this is who I am and I'm not changing for anybody." There's validity in that response, but I feel like it doesn't go far enough, since we are all part of a larger society that would be better off if we treated it with respect. (This isn't about you, Julie, but just about the danger, in general, of "not changing," if you see what I mean.)

kaliroz said...

Oh, Julie, you know I struggle with this constantly.

I struggle with it in my marriage, in work, in play. That I'm "too smart", "too intense", too everything, almost.

I keep swinging back and forth between Chani's "f*ckit" swith and the accomodating switch. There's got to be a happy medium there somewhere, I'm just having a hard time finding it.

And, I suppose in a way I don't want to find it. I am me and, even though I have down moments, I kind of like the journey I am on. Who I am becoming. I know I'm a good person and if others can't see that through the frenzy that is me ... that's there problem. (I guess I'm swinging closer to the "f*ckit" switch currently.)

Stagnation is not a good thing. Ever. For children or adults. It's not good in friendships, in work, in love. How are we ever to become our best selves if we don't continue evolving?

People get swept up in the wake, often involuntarily, and some are swept aside but I tend to think that those that make it to shore with me are the ones I should cling to, fight for.

All the others can "Kiss my go to hell" as my great aunt Mary used to say.

Magpie said...

Hey - I find you inspiring, not intimidating! Keep at it!

slouching mom said...

I've historically been sensitive to how others see me. And I've spent way too much time tailoring myself on the basis of those intuitions.

But last year I decided I was getting too old to do that.

We have only the one life.

We might as well feel comfortable with who we are.

Else what a waste!

You are terrific. Opinionated? Of course. Any self-respecting person should be. And those who aren't? It's my belief that they're as opinionated as everyone else, only they keep it to themselves.

K said...

Royboy said recently that we aren't so much square pegs trying to fit into round holes as we are oval pegs- we almost fit, we look like we might, but we don't. I think the identity crisis comes from not fitting into any one category.

I guess everyone has their perception about who or what is "too much". Personally, the only people I find "too much" are those who lack respect for others.

Julie, people who really see you know who you are. You are genuine.

For me, there is never "too much" Julie. Now I must go catch up -since I've been gone a week.

Lawyer Mama said...

God, Julie. Sometimes I read your stuff & I wonder if I've met you before or if we are somehow related. We have so much in common.

I've spent my life trying to please other people as well. I played a chameleon game and sometimes I still do it. Often. But it's exhausting. Sometimes I wonder if my role playing has much to do with why I am introvert. Not in the shy sense, but in the sense that I need time alone to be me without a mask in order to recharge. You sound very similar.

I don't mind telling you that sometimes you are "too much" or intimidating. But, hell, so am I. I love that about you. I love that about *me*. I think many of us floating around the Blogosphere are "too much." Why else would we do so much naval gazing? But it's not a bad thing. I really agree with Mary. Some people who say you are "too much" are really making comments about their own insecurities.

Well, I'm not sure where I was going with all this but I do know that people who never change bore me to tears. You, my dear, are never boring.

(Btw, Harry was an asshat.)

jen said...

you know, i always feel like there is space over here for me.

boxes are so convenient. when we put people into prelabeled ones it means we don't have to think as hard.

Kyla said...

I've read this post a few times...I actually read it when it first went up last night, I just couldn't find the right words to leave here for you. It isn't that you didn't leave room for me to speak them, I just couldn't find within myself words worthy of leaving.

There are these great big moments of becoming in life, and if you lucky enough to witness it in someone else's life, it is truly a blessing. Thank you for sharing your moment with us, Julie.

I'm going through my own personal evolution (which sounds much more pleasant than crisis of any sort). It is an interesting experience, shedding off old layers of who I was or pretended to be, feeling this brand new skin stretch around my bones, hearing my voice that has always been the same, but is somehow different now.

You are beautiful, Julie, I imagine you always have been, even in the days you were hiding it...and each time you shed those layers, you become a little more beautiful and whole. Be yourself, it is who you were meant to be.

Sober Briquette said...

I just wanted to pop back over here to say that I've given it some more thought and I believe I only mentioned ignoring what others think in hopes of convincing myself to do the same. I find that I have no clear sense of self, which gives the input of others too much weight.

Mary-LUE said...

Okay Julie, I am way behind. I've been sick and busy and blah, blah, blah. I'm going to print out this post and start here and try to catch up next week. I don't like missing out on the discussions that happen around here! :)

Mary-LUE said...

Okay. I'm back. I should be paying the bills, doing laundry, getting ready for a camping trip, exercising... It never stops, does it?

So, I printed out this post and, of course, in many ways I could relate. I sometimes have felt as if I have been dismissed because I "know" so much, I like "smart" books and movies, etc. I'm used to it and I do have friends who have similar interests in discussing ideas, books, etc. But sometimes I feel a little sad and misunderstood. It is as if I am not seen as a whole person, just part of a person.

But can any one person ever see any other person in their entirety? I'm not sure it is possible.

I was struck by your words about tamping down on your ingrained responses or tamping down your anger and resentment. This is a cruel teeter totter isn't it? I think the trick is to balance that teeter totter in the middle--a middle which doesn't make apologies and placate, but also acknowledges the heaviness, grief perhaps, at feeling that you would be better accepted as someone other than who you really are.

One day I was having a conversation with a friend. She was telling me that she used to think that it wasn't possible to embrace creativity and beauty and the arts without being a little high strung, a person who required a lot of energy to be around. Until she met me. She told me that I seemed to be able to balance those things and that she saw I could embrace that artistic nature and still be something of a sensible person.

(There's a point to this story. I promise.)

My response to her was that I wasn't always able to balance those things. I had such a sensitive and idealistic nature that I was always feeling hurt, betrayed, disappointed. I told her I had to change in order to survive.

My point is this: The changes I ended up making in my attitudes and behavior had to do with the ones that I couldn't live with. The ones that were hurting me. And I think those are the things to worry about changing. To change for others does result in all the things you are writing about here and it does kill you just a little bit each time you do it.

(This all made more sense when I was thinking it in my head.)

My point really being that I agree with you. That changing for others doesn't work. It is better to wait for and find those few people who get you. There is a phrase, from Scripture I believe, that says "deep calls to deep." We just have to learn to recognize the call.

Julie Pippert said...

Mary, I have to say I don't know *why* I keep being so surprised by your amazing understanding and insight.

This: I think the trick is to balance that teeter totter in the middle--a middle which doesn't make apologies and placate, but also acknowledges the heaviness, grief perhaps, at feeling that you would be better accepted as someone other than who you really are.

And this: The changes I ended up making in my attitudes and behavior had to do with the ones that I couldn't live with. The ones that were hurting me. And I think those are the things to worry about changing. To change for others does result in all the things you are writing about here and it does kill you just a little bit each time you do it.

You nailed all of it. Thank you.

Julie Pippert said...

Kyla, I officially have decided to call it an Adult Developmental Leap. Glad to be in such good company too. And thank you for your words...they were perfect.

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Jen, thank you, I am so glad you feel space here. That is important---that people know how important they are to me.

And this: boxes are so convenient. when we put people into prelabeled ones it means we don't have to think as hard.

Awesome. You know, I can't recall if I cut my lazy comment. I think I did. I couldn't put into words what I meant, but you did it for me. That's it, beautifully. Thanks.

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LM, I can tell you do understand. I can also tell from the Good-Bad thing you did that you REALLY know how many sides to the story there are. :) And I'm really glad because you're cool, really a neat person from all I know so far.

Harry was an asshat. Narcissus complex big time. (Big words coming from someone with a bit of a Pygmalion complex LMAO!)

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K, I think I really like Royboy, maybe as much as I like you. :) You guys need to drive a little west and have a margarita with us. And thank you for your wonderful words. I will keep them. :)

Julie Pippert said...

SM, you know, I think I have hit that same point. Adult developmental leap! Woo hoo let's hear it for progress and maturity!

This: You are terrific. Opinionated? Of course. Any self-respecting person should be. And those who aren't? It's my belief that they're as opinionated as everyone else, only they keep it to themselves.

Thank you for the first part, more thanks for all of it, and amen.

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Magpie, thanks, that's a cool thing to say, especially from a person I find cool and inspiring. Thanks!

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Roz, you're like the little sister I would probably have tormented as much as the one I had but deep down would have loved the best. :)

Chani's switch.

We've been having a discussion over in that other area of the blogosphere about "if you keep meeting the wrong people maybe you are in the wrong circles" and it has got me thinking about this idea of who you are and where you are, KWIM?

I agree that evolution is important, and I also concur about clinging to the ones that reach shore.

Love you. Thanks!

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Gwen, I have to ponder whether I worry about stagnated people. Selfishly, I think my main concern is them in relation to me. But I agree that I tend to respect and like more people who evolve, so I agree that is the beauty of aging.

I absolutely agree that is conscious living, and my growth is in finding and residing in that balanced middle.

Mary said it best, so I'll refer back down to her. :)

Thanks Gwen.