leap-er

Lora's rally cry on Friday (and the subsequent drama that played out in my mind alone) kept me all knotted up in my head all weekend. If you haven't read her post yet, go do it.I'm not guaranteeing that her post will make this one make more sense, by it might give you some context and hey, at least you'll have read something coherent and thought provoking at the end of this little exercise if you go read it. I'll wait.

Back already?

My comment (which I subsequently deleted for reasons I'll get into in a bit) was this (edited a bit because I don't always pay as much attention to my grammar/wording when I'm putting in my 2 cents elsewhere. Also, because I'm totally okay with using my kid's name on other peoples blogs but still a little wigged out about using it here. I can't figure that one out, either.):

I was thinking today about the [not-so-]subliminal messages that are constantly slamming our kiddos upside the head. We had a repairman out to fix the microwave a few weeks back who told [Himself] "Boys don't cry." as he was leaving ([Himself] had stubbed his toe or was hungry or needed a nap or was just being 3 or something, hence, tears and whining). I was a bit taken aback by how seriously [Himself] took his comment. We talked about how "silly" it was for a bit and I thought that was the end of that. But it came up again just a few days ago. He fell down and scrubbed his knees, but instead of coming to me as he usually would, he just brushed himself off. I asked him if he needed help, but he told me "I'm a boy. A big boy. I don't need to cry, Mommy." Which made me want to cry.

Then, this morning, I didn't flip fast enough to escape him seeing Oswald on TV (thank you, daycare, for creating that recognition factor), so that provided us with blithering background noise for the next half hour or so. Within the first few minutes, the plot line was obvious: Oswald is the hero because he is embracing new things, is willing to run out the door without a plan and let life smack him upside the face willynilly; Henry is the stodgy old pudge that nothing fun ever happens to because he is unwilling to break from his comfortable routine. In part I agreed with the message -- I don't want [Himself] to be the slave to routine and schedule and predictably that I've become, but shouldn't there be a balance? Isn't there something admirable about being someone who can be counted on? Is there nothing redeeming in being responsible and thoughtful and practical? And while I don't want him to blindly follow rules and go just because he is told to, isn't there some point at which I also need to teach him to put aside his own desires and consider the needs and whims of others as well? I don't know. I've always felt like the Hare got the short end of that tale (and I refuse to read Tootle anymore, even though it was one of my childhood favorites), but I constantly stress about swinging too far to the other extreme.

Lora's response (I'll assume it was to me. Hadn't you noticed the world revolving a little more to the left these days?) was:
Well, of course we have to be good sometimes. I am trying to raise Jake to not necessarily follow the path to the letter, but certainly don't jump the fence either.

I believe you have to do everything in your power to be sure you can afford to veer a bit. Stay in school as long as possible, follow the Golden Rule, keep a job, etc. But once you've done that, set yourself free from time to time.

Which, duh. The next to last line of her post reads:
Obviously I don't believe in All Hare All the Time. We'd be a hot mess. But from time to time, stop listening to the Man and start listening to your heart.

But I guess I was already stepping into a steaming pile of my "issue" when I got to that point, because all I could hear by then was my inner defense team gathering their notes for closing arguments.

It seems that somewhere along the way, whether it be nature or nurture, I latched onto the sweeping notion of "it is or it isn't". If it isn't good, it must be bad; if it isn't right, it's either left, or wrong. Shades of gray, although I see them and they are all right for YOU, are just blacks and whites not living up to their full potential. 98% is still two shy of 100%.

The battle I fight daily (and realize I am losing every other Tuesday) is one of not leaping from one extreme to the other. The good Dr. has been encouraging me to keep track of my issues. To recognize them and to take a moment to feel what it feels like to be all caught up in the middle of them again. The hope is that someday I'll learn to make better choices.

So I was rather proud of myself when I had one of those "aha!" moments when I clicked back over to check in on my comment an hour or so after leaving it. "Aha, wow! Sure enough, I did it again. Totally missed the middle ground on that one," I reproached myself. And left another little comment to show the world that I got it, that I had been a boob. And then clicked the little trashcan icon following both so as to erase* from written history yet another example of my boobies. Because one over-reaction surely deserves another! Let's not be strong enough of our convictions to leave it alone where someone else might read it and not agree with it! Must! Be! Erased! Hurry!

And then I I couldn't just let it go because I was afraid that Lora might think I was mad at her if I just took down the comments and didn't tell her why and then she'd get mad at me for being so silly as to think she'd get mad at me for sharing my thoughts and then not being strong enough to stand behind my convictions because I was afraid that she might get mad at me and OHMIGOD this is effing junior high all over again and I am SO. DONE. WITH. IT. So I did the very adult thing and made a passing remark to the entire incident in a comment on another of her posts just to see if she noticed.

She had. And we had a lovely back and forth string of emails in which I discovered that she actually liked the first comment and, well, the rest of this was a very still exercise in unnecessary drama.

I laughed the first time Dr. R told me that "overthinking things" might be one of my issues. The second time he brought it up it didn't seem so funny. And now I'm just pissed that I'm going to have to go in there tomorrow** and admit that he's right. A whole weekend's worth of (private) drama over a silly comment on someone else's blog that might be read by people I DON'T EVEN KNOW.

My brother once said something along the lines of "Why is it that the kids in the foothills are the ones with all the angst?" And I agreed with him and laughed along at those silly, privileged kids, living in their Mommy's and Daddy's million dollar houses and driving Hummers and swimming in their Olympic sized pools! What do they have to feel all misunderstood and dye-my-hair-blue for? Ha! Ha! H-- and then I realized that "kids in the foothills" could be a metaphor for "me".

Do you see where I'm going with this? Never mind, neither do I. Anyways, my neck is getting a cramp in it from staring into my belly button. It stinks and all I ever find in there is fuzz. I'm done.



*Well, sort of erased. So pleased was I with the phrase "stodgy old pudge" that I couldn't erase it all together. Under the guise of saving it for some later post, I brought it over here. And, well, here it is, so I guess that wasn't really a guise, was it?

**Which is actually today, I just didn't get around to posting this until today.


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1 comment:

Lora said...

I did like your comment, and I didn't think it was one sided at all.

I also laughed inside my head because I totally KNEW you were reading and thinking at the same time (I kinda talk about that in today's post and it is NO WAY IN RESPONSE TO YOU. did you get that?!)

My comment was in response not only to you, but to a few emails I got regarding the post. My best "comments" are emailed to me. People fail to have the guts to tack their name to some of their beliefs publicly. Isn't that weird? I AM NOT TALKING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO DELETE THEIR COMMENTS.

Kidding. I take everything personally too. But I appreciated your comment. And I appreciate this post. And I appreciate you.