I recently had one of those days. You know, the sort that the next day you wake up with Big Mouth Regret.
First, a bit of honesty: I have a sad inclination at times to not trust people very much when it comes to me. This ties back to the Hump Day Hmm theme this week of letting go, which---when it comes to believing that people can and will accept me as I am---I haven't done. I haven't let go of all those times I wasn't. Times, by the way, that are not in the past, which is probably why the letting go bit is so hard.
I have learned that people are generally more comfortable with me when I put on the Facade, you know, the old "scarf over the lightbulb to dim the wattage" trick. I'm not fooling them; people aren't stupid. They can tell I am a wolf in sheep's clothing. But as long as I act like a sheep rather than a wolf, we can all be okay.
I make it sound like I think that's a bad thing---it's not, and I don't. We all do a degree of masking in order to respect the boundaries of individuals, groups, and situations.
Every person you pass who says, "Hi! How are you?" doesn't want a thirty minute verbal expository essay. And neither do most of us when we ask.
We can all tell usually when the interest is genuine and the time is right for more depth, honesty, soul-baring.
But what if that moment hasn't come in a long time, too long?
That's me, and that's why I did what I did. I got to a point of feeling inside a bit like a candle under a bush that set the bush afire. The Julie bit said, let me out or the bush is toast! I needed to be more than Patience's mom, Persistence's mom. Sometimes I wonder if that is why I blog so infrequently about my kids. This is my space, the Julie space. I even use my name here.
Behind the curtain, the Wizard of Oz was a man. Behind the stained shirt, overly large bag bulging with un poco de todo, annoyingly directive voice, the mom is still a woman.
We all say this, but do we know it?
When you meet a mom for the first time, or after a while, are you more likely to leap into a discussion of headlines or parenting? Ask about her views on whether religion is a factor in the presidential race for 2008, or ask what her kids have been up to?
And that, my friends, is why I recently had one of those days: it's been the latter, and the latter, and the latter again for me.
I want to tell you what I think about religion as a factor in the presidential race, and I shall, here on my blog...it's already written up, waiting in drafts.
But I also want that in my corporeal life, not per se that exact conversation, but the sorts of conversations I have on my blog. I want that, out here, too.
However, I don't feel like I have that channel available to me out here. I tried getting involved in a political group...but didn't click and anyway, they were all wary of me since they couldn't understand why I'd move here from Massachusetts. I tried finding a book club. Unsuccessful. I did find a great discussion group for religious issues for a while, but it sort of washed out a bit; the meaty discussions moved more towards parenting chit chat. Again.
One day it disturbed me to realize that the only people I have to talk to about my meaty issues are...online.
Thanks goodness for the Internet, and what would I do without it, I'm immensely grateful and enjoy my community here, but...
* what's it mean that I don't feel like I have one person around me who is interested in my interests and issues?
* what's it mean that I pour the weight of me into the Internet?
* what's it mean that this is where I turn to find the things that matter a lot to me?
Is this the common plight of the SAHM? Of moms in general? Is this why there are so many of us online, discussing these sorts of things...issues beyond parenting?
It made me feel a little weary, that. I felt a degree of---potentially false---superficiality to my life, and my corporeal relationships.
Even my husband, once my favorite issue discussing partner, and I focus on the kids when we talk.
So what happened was...one day I decided to trust the people around me---trepidatiously, more of a mental decision to trust more than an actual feeling of trust---and be honest and say what I really think. Politely. I'm not saying turn into some Jim Carey character and blab everything on my mind. I just mean: be polite and honest.
Let's say...maybe it didn't go so well, maybe it did---it remains to be seen, I suppose. But I did wake up the next day with a pretty bad case of Big Mouth Regret. I'm hoping that eases soon.
The true source of my Big Mouth Regret is not so much that I did open my mouth and say what I think, nor is it really about how I said what I said; it's more why I said it: fatigue with masking and a 'selfish' need to reveal what I really think.
If I can get past the anxiety about revealing myself through truth and the guilt about being who I needed to be instead of who I think others need me to be, I'll see that this might not need regret.
So what do I think the outcome is, that makes me feel some regret?
I think some people think I am insane. Maybe I am. I think some people are a little miffed, and I'm not sure whether it is because I broke the rules (just nod, smile and go along to get along) or because I, someone they always trusted to agree with them and be on their side, expressed a difference of opinion. I think some people were glad to have some truths out in the open. Some things helped, other things fell flat.
I don't know where it is going to go---will it lead to more openness? More discussions beyond parenting? meaningful discussions beyond parenting?
I still don't think, while at a playdate, I'm going to begin pouring my thoughts and views about the function of historical winner's rhetoric in modern xenophobic culture.
I still don't think---despite a high level of intelligence in most people I know---that many people are terribly interested right now in the unbearable lightness of being. I think most of the time most people feel pretty heavy under the weight of being: being parent, worker, spouse, friend, child, self, etc.
In this case, I'm not too sure, though, whether this is my lack of trust resurfacing or a solid gut instinct that would serve me well to listen to.
I do think that it might have opened a door, though, so if someone does want weight and meat beyond what you get in parenting, they know I'm open for business.
P.S. I had another entry to the Hump Day Hmm: Mary-LUE's The Things They Carried: A Hump Day Hmm-er Double Header
copyright 2007 Julie Pippert