What will people remember? That I made them uncomfortable? That I was so mean? That I was kind? That I am, to steal a phrase from a friend, a good foul weather friend?
I am not good at the calm day to day. That is not what I am oriented towards. But I have these people, a growing number, who absolutely require the day to day from me. I change for them in ways I have been absolutely unable to adapt for anyone else in the world.
Because they are the absolute only people I truly believe might still be around in fifty years.
Otherwise I will mostly know new people. I have no idea where I will live. I have no idea if I will be the meanest old bitch you’ve ever seen or if I will be kind and generous and patient.
Time will tell.
People’s opinion of me depends on a lot of factors. It depends on when in my life they met me (I’ve had some less than stellar stages). It depends on when in their lives they met me. It depends on how much authority over one another we had. It depends on how much we actually knew about one another.
I know I am intense. A kind of intensity that wears people out even if they love me. People move on because they just can’t. I’m too much. And that’s ok.
Some people absolutely hate my intensity and me for having it. That’s ok too.
What is not ok is if they expect me to change for them. I am what I am. I am intense. I think about intense topics. I talk about things other people really don’t want to hear about. That’s ok too.
I am trying to get better about figuring out when and under what circumstances these conversations are ok… because sometimes they are. But I can see how much I have hurt people in the past.
When I was a child I waved the trauma I was experiencing like a scythe to get people to leave me alone. Fine. You want to call me names? Well your taunts are stupid and immature. Why don’t I fucking tell you what my fucking father says to me.
Folks just… ignored me after that.
And it was never worthless whore. Somehow with all my lack of tact and my constant diarrhea of the mouth… I didn’t really admit that till adulthood.
Worthless, sure. Witch. Evil. That I was a demon who was sent here to hurt people.
It’s easy as shit to scare little kids.
What will people remember about me in the end? A whole lotta shit good and bad. Because I am both. Because I am a wonderful and terrible monster. Will I cause harm? Probably. Will I help people? Most likely.
And I’ll fuck up all the time as I’m trying to learn. I will continue to stumble and fall. Because I always want to go just a bit faster than I can really bear and so… it happens.
I’ll try to admit it. I’ll try to be honest about why I was in the wrong. I will try to make new mistakes.
Yes Shakira. I will try. New mistakes. Every day.
I understand more and more about what my mother meant when she said that my Sissy and I had completely different mothers.
When Lightning is born I will have been out for 18 years. When EC was born I had only been in a forever home for less than 2 years. Now it’s been 11 years.
I don’t scream like I did. I don’t have the impulse towards being physically rough with people I had. I am still louder than other people might prefer. I am still a fairly prone to darting around and moving quickly. But I know more about where I end and you begin.
Some people focus their lives around their friends or their jobs. I feel pathetic… but for me it is my kids. I don’t think that is mandatory for being a good parent; I think it is probably fairly unhealthy. I’m trying to do it in a way that doesn’t fuck them up.
I’m trying to be a good example. A good example isn’t inappropriately enmeshed with their children so I’m trying to maintain boundaries around that. My kids know I need adult friends to talk to because many topics are Not For Them. My kids know I pay a therapist to help me deal with all the big feelings I won’t tell them about and instead all I say is “I’m having big feelings and I don’t want them to impact you more than absolutely necessary. So if my tone of voice is weird or if I’m quiet… don’t feel bad. I’m in my thoughts.”
I loved teaching for this. When I was outed all over the place at Camp Everytown is was amazing to me that all of my students expressed shock and horror because the entire revelation was shocking and seemed impossible based on what they thought they knew about me.
I am capable of good boundaries. People know what I want them to know.
Does that mean I’m a liar? I do write down a public record for anyone who wants to check. I just don’t… admit it in the moment.
It would be bad for me to try and place my emotions at the center of every interaction.
I’m trying to figure out when bringing them up is appropriate. Because mostly I’ve learned that people don’t care and I should shut up or they are too young and it isn’t appropriate.
I do have friends who ask about me. I love you so much.
It’s part of why I learned to drop whatever I was doing and talk to Pam. Here is this wonderful person who is calling because she wants to hear about me.
I don’t… have a lot of people who do that. I get a lot of calls from telemarketers.
So in the end people will mostly judge me based on a carefully curated set of interactions. Or on a meltdown. Or both!
Phew, Lightning is getting active. I’m getting a lot more decisive bumps. A lot more hey. notice me.
I feel you. I know you are not me. I know you will be a whole separate person and I thank you for sharing this time with me. It is wonderful to feel you grow under my heart.
I do not promise you that I will do anything you need. Sometimes… I will fail. That will happen. I promise you that I will always think of you as a separate person who deserves to be considered.
Sometimes in life you can make everyone happy or you can be effective. There will be times when I kind of stomp on what you want or need. I’m sorry. But yeah, that’s going to happen. I truly don’t know a way around that. At some point I will hit a limit in myself and I will have nothing more to give in a day.
So then why do I think I should have another kid?
Hey (whisper whisper) do you ever do that self evaluation bullshit you claim you do?
I do. I won’t be going on another six month road trip without Noah.
I have limits, of the physical and emotional and cognitive variety. Yup. This is a fact. Mostly I’m capable of planning around them. The trouble comes when I don’t respect my limits and I try to get through a set of work that is too much for me.
I’m better at managing this. It’s still in progress.
I’m better at recognizing that there is no value in chasing most people for friendship. If they don’t say yes to something within a few months… stop throwing good energy after bad.
And now it’s time to climb in the bath tub and watch Signing Time.