The things in life that make me the most tired are being in the places (read: among the people) where I don’t feel fully free.
What does “fully free” mean?
It means that I can speak my mind, even if my thoughts are small or irritated or petty, and not worry about being loved any less by the listener. It means I can be difficult, or frustrated, or wrapped up in an issue, and the other person is willing to sit and listen while I work that stuff out. It means that I can talk about my parenting style or the mistakes I’ve made and not seize up or hold my breath about the other person’s judgment.
The good news is that I feel pretty much fully free with most of the people in my life. My husband, my parents, my close friends, my boss. The bad news is that there are people I don’t feel fully free with: some coworkers, my boss’s boss, my in-laws. And that’s where I get pinched, or censor myself for fear of judgment, or maybe fib a little about my intentions or true feelings or my parenting.
The snare in this scenario (the snare-ario?) is that it’s not their responsibility to change their behavior so that I feel fully free.
I’m going to therapy once or twice a month now. Not because anything is wrong, but because I kept running into my old therapist everywhere and I finally got the hint that I should schedule a session. And after our session, she said, “Maybe you should just come once or twice a month. Not because anything is wrong. But just so you can have someone to talk to who doesn’t have a vested interest in how you behave.” I took her up on that.
Anyway, I was just there, talking about this. Talking about how there are still a few people with whom I will seize up, and bite my tongue. And how that makes me feel small and stressed and obviously, unseen and unheard.
“Well what would it look like?” she asked me. “What would it look like if you were able to say, ‘Thanks for that, and I know you’re trying to help, but this is how I’m choosing to go about things, and I wasn’t really looking for advice on that’?”
I got all squirmy in my chair, just imagining it.
I wonder what it could look like if I could choose to be filter-less and fully self-expressed all of the time. Certainly, as I get older, I get closer and closer to that. But all the time? That makes me feel a little sweaty. That kind of decision could result in:
- people thinking I’m a bitch (gasp!)
- people not liking me
- people knowing I am difficult
- people calling me selfish
- people knowing that yes, my kid sleeps in my bed, and yes, I still nurse her sometimes, and that actually, I don’t give a shit what you think of my parenting, because I am proud of my parenting
- people knowing that I am a thirty-six year-old woman who still mourns that my parents split up and how much I miss our shared family traditions on Thanksgiving and Christmas, and that I (cough cough) may have even volunteered to work on Thanksgiving this year (so embarrassing and so true) so that I wouldn’t have to sit with those uncomfortable feelings at my in-laws’ house (this whole thought could be like five blog posts by themselves. Remember in Gardenstate when he says:
You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn’t really your home anymore? All of a sudden even though you have some place where you put your shit, that idea of home is gone…you’ll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it’s gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It’s like you feel homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist. Maybe it’s like this rite of passage, you know. You won’t ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it’s like a cycle or something. I don’t know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.
- Well, that. That is exactly what I’m taking about.)
Remember when Instagram started and we filtered our photos until they were unrecognizable? Remember how much better Instagram got when we stopped doing that? Don’t we crave realness, and authenticity, even if that’s uncomfortable sometimes? What if we lived our lives with #nofilter?
Anyway, I don’t even know what I’m going on about now, and the formatting of this post is getting too difficult, haha.
I guess I’m just thinking about…the places in my life where I still try to act like I’m someone else, and what life could look like if I was 100% of myself, all of the time. (Good? Bad? Are we ever supposed to be 100% ourselves? #nofilter?)
The holidays are coming, and I love them, but they always make me a little blue.