Monday, November 17, 2008

A little more explanation

...OK, upon a few minutes consideration, the last post seems a little dramatic and weird or harsh or something. It's lacking.
And because I've never really been one to censor myself, why start now?
This is what's been going on, this is my life:
I've always been an emotional person. My dad used to yell at me for it as a child, "Control your emotions! Develop a thick skin!" He told me I could never be a lawyer because I couldn't help but take everything personally.
Well, over the years, I guess I got really good at hiding some emotions. I still let the happy ones bubble up, so I can come across as perpetually up and effervescent (this is due to my mother's advice: "No one wants to be around a sad person"). And anyone who knows me well knows I can suddenly become a cry-baby. It's really stupid. I do really well at suppressing things until one day it all spills over at the drop of the hat. It's one of my bigger weaknesses.
However, there is one area of my life that I've mastered wearing a mask, with very few cracks. People think that because I march to the beat of my own drum, I don't care one bit what they think. They think they can say whatever they want to me or about me, and that either I won't hear (duh! Is there a bigger gossip circle than a Mormon ward?) or I won't care. Boy, are they wrong.
In truth, I get absolutely crushed by others' opinions and snippy comments. I can't help it. I want people to like me. I crave approval, acceptance and love. And just because I give those things out pretty freely doesn't necessarily mean they are coming back my way. That's a real challenge.
Sometimes I fool myself into thinking that I DON'T really care, but it always catches up to me. But at the same time, I can't bring myself to not be true to what I really believe. Talk about a vicious cycle!
For example, I just got the boot from someone I tried to fool myself into thinking I only liked a little, when in fact I cared a lot about him. And I'm about 80 percent ok with it, because the girl I got dumped for is really wonderful. She really means well, and she deserves happiness. She is also true to herself and is a genuinely good person. My former flame likes her mostly because she is such a good person, and in our conversations about her, I always built her up for it as well. She is an angel. I guess I just feel bad that somewhere along the way, I got the reputation in our social circle as the happy-go-lucky one, when, without taking one bit of her goodness and kindness away from her, I'd like to think that I'm also good and kind. Does that make sense? But I feel like if I say it, people think I'm bragging or trying too hard. They're all so caught up in who they think I am that they don't really see what's real. I've become a caricature.
Still, it's much better to be thought of as "the fun one" than the on-the-rebound/loose/snotty/stuck-up/user/jerk with the thick skin. I think these days, that's what most people think I am... even though a lot of it is unfounded (especially the loose part! I'm a good girl!). There's this one guy who pretends to like me, but he says really mean things about me and my friends. I've always tried to be nice to him, but he feeds off drama. There's another girl that I really do try to be nice to, but the harder I try, the more I hear rumblings about what she's said about me. It's not all undeserved, and I'm doing everything I can to deserve a better reputation than the one I have, but it's like it's all set in stone these days.
Another example from my hellish 48 hours: a girl calling me out in church for an indiscretion that was more a matter of circumstances. She was talking about how it's irreverent to whisper during meetings. My sister leaned over and asked me what she'd said and I tried to repeat it. I wasn't having a conversation about what I did over the weekend... I was just filling my sister in. But I got the pointed look, the raised voice, the evil eye... all from the podium in front of the whole congregation. Nothing like humiliation to call me to repentance, I guess. But how about a little compassion?
The other reputation that I don't like? That I'm too old, too educated, too independent, too puritanical, too stodgy, and too bitter to be worth some man's time. In this weird subculture, I'm practically a spinster, it's true. And living alone for so long has made me rather capable, which I wouldn't trade. If I'm bitter, it's at my situation and my seeming stagnancy. I will admit to being angry-- angry at all the people trying to keep me in this little box they've created for me; angry at Ray who I loved so completely and who bolted at the first sign of trouble and when he realized I couldn't choose happiness for him; angry at new boy for not being honest with me; angry at the drama mongers who are nice to my face and vicious behind my back; angry at the people who won't give me the benefit of the doubt or a second chance; and mostly angry at myself for having ever got myself into this mess in the first place. Sometimes I wish I weren't so good at hiding it all. Of course, then I'd likely be even more alone, because I'm rather ugly on the inside.


At November 17, 2008 at 9:39 PM , Blogger Grant said...

Hmmm. I have never thought of you as a user/jerk/snotty/loose/overeducated/old...well any of that stuff really. Actually I know you are not.

I bet other people don't either, single's ward drama notwithstanding.


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