Edited at bottom of post for clarification. PLEASE read!
Once again right when my creativity and blog production starts to hit its stride something happens that throws it all catty-wampus. This time it was vacation. Actually two vacations back to back with a three day kids sewing class stuck in the middle.
I’m now home from vacation/s and I’m drained and all that wonderful inspiration and creative motivation I had two weeks ago seems to have now gone on vacation without me. I feel myself moving into another stressful time much like I had this spring/early summer and I hope it doesn’t leave me reeling and emotionally and physically exhausted again. Let me just say this right here so I can remind myself of it later; from now on I’m only going on vacations that are calming and restorative and build up my creative and emotional reserves.
During my two mini-vacations I had moments of great inspiration and restoration. Part one of vacation was a trip to Orlando. While there we went to the Wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal. It was truly magical. The details and atmosphere were incredible. JK Rowling created characters and a world that became a very important part of our life, especially for me and my oldest daughter, Sarah. She will be leaving for college in less than a week and this one last moment with her and our Hogwarts friends will be remembered forever.
This past weekend Steve and I joined friends for a trip to Northern Michigan. Sunday we went to one of the prettiest places in Michigan, Mackinac Island. Steve and I biked around the perimeter of the island and the views of the lake and bridge were incredible. The weather was perfect and getting out and moving our bodies after a week of flying, car rides, standing in lines and working felt great. The hustle and bustle of the main “strip” on the island can be a bit much, especially after spending time the weekend prior at airports (4 hour flight delay at O’Hare, Ugh!), theme parks and hotels and capping it all off with a very long car ride with friends. My psyche was taking a beating and I really needed to get away from it all and take in the sights and sounds of lapping waves and blue water. I wish we had packed a lunch and our swimsuits, I would have spent the day on a rocky beach taking it all in.
Next weekend I take Sarah to college and then Emma is back to school on Wednesday. There will be no time to rest and recuperate this week. But I feel a real need to retreat and renew. I just want to crawl into my safe “hole” and not come out for a while. I need time to putter and fidget. Purge and Clean. Refresh and Renew. I feel autumn coming and I’m eagerly awaiting the annual feeling of retracting and preparing for a long rest. Fall is always my favorite time of year. To me it has more of a feeling of new beginning than January.
Events in my life recently are indicating a sea change approaching in my life. I feel it. I don’t know what it will ultimately mean. My nest is beginning to empty. I’m getting restless. I’m looking at myself and how I relate to the people in my life with greater purpose and intent. Who am I and who do I want to be? Do others see me the way I want them to see me? Am I doing things that are right for me and the people that really matter in my life? Do I have the kind of people in my life that lead me toward becoming and being who I want to be? Am I helping the people around me to be better and reach their goals? Am I getting enough back for what I put in and do I give enough back to those who replenish me?
One change I’m going to make for a while is that I’m going to stop trying to be popular. I just can’t do it anymore. I’m drained. It is a lesson I’ve been taught over and over again and never seem to learn. When I turned 40 (5 years ago) I made a resolution that year that once a month I would purposely invite a friend to do something or hostess a get together in order to be a good friend and build up my group of local friends. I saw women all around me at church and the neighborhood getting together for Bunco nights, fun weekend retreats, and just casual dinners together and I wanted that too. So I hosted basket/candle/makeup parties, invited like minded friends to art gallery events, joined church dinner groups, etc. After the year was up I could count on one hand, and didn’t need all five fingers, all the times my efforts were reciprocated. 5 years later I can count only one person that I was friends with back then and invited to some of these events who is still in my life.
Since then I have extended myself to many people and I continue to over do it and live my life in a way that isn’t fully true to myself and I’ve been burned and burned out. Over the past three years I became very active in our local theater community, making friends that became almost like family. Over the past year there developed a rift in this group and I fell into the resulting chasm. Even though I tried to remain friends with everyone involved and never had any personal falling outs with anyone I was hurt and put aside by some people I considered really good friends. These were friends that during this time of turmoil I defended to those who were angry with them and continued to invite to my home, to my birthday party, and to see at the theater and other parties and never knew they had a problem with me and my very generous husband until we were quite obviously and blatantly snubbed. In the mean time there were other friends with whom I unintentionally let our relationship dwindle because I didn’t have time for them and my theater friends, I hope it isn’t too late to repair those relationships now. The theater had given me the kind of close friends I hadn’t had since childhood, confidence I had lost and a renewed purpose. Now I’m not sure I’m going to continue to be active this year. I have little desire to audition or help backstage or direct and I honestly feel right now that only a very few will really miss me if I do decide to take time off.
I’ve recently realized that I am being misinterpreted. I do these things like entertain, host, attend parties and events because I want people to like me. I want to be seen as generous and nice and fun. Yes, I acknowledge that I am snarky and sarcastic and put up defenses cloaked in “humor” because I’m afraid that if people see the sensitive, easily hurt, quiet me they will tease me and make fun of me and ignore me. When I show that side of me I get misinterpreted as being sullen and mad. I just can’t seem to win. I just want a few true friends that see me for who I am and help me continue on the path to make that person better and stronger and truer to my real being. Not only is my generosity not being reciprocated, it is once again leading me to believe that there is something inherently wrong with me, something unlovable. I need to purposely seek out people in my life that make me feel loved and appreciated and block out those who drain me and make me feel shitty about myself. I also need people in my life who will help me become better, more loveable. I have friends that people can’t help but love and want to be around just because they make them feel better. I want to be that kind of person and I know I am not and I don’t know how to become that kind of person. Can I be that person and still protect my empathic, introverted self? But the real lesson to learn is as RuPaul says, “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” and how is anybody going to love me?
Edited to add:
Once again it appears that I am being misinterpreted judging by the comments both on and off the blog.
I am not drawing back on my involvement with certain people in my life because I haven’t been reciprocated and invited over. Many of my friends are very generous and especially my theater friends. There are months on end where we are together every weekend at different events, parties, nights out, etc. all hosted and instigated by different members of the group. Most of the time everyone in the main group is included. (With the noted exception of one hurtful incident noted above.) That is what I need to back off from for my own well-being. I’ve put priority on that aspect of my life over other areas that need attention right now. I still want to get together with my friends, I just want them to know that if I don’t it is just because I need my space. It has become apparent to me again that my social awkwardness and inability to keep my emotions in check while letting my feelings be known make it difficult for people to like me. I need to find a balance. I need to learn to be true to myself and trust that people will be okay with that and that some won’t and that is okay too. I can’t continue to try to be liked by everyone all the time because it wears me out and doesn’t work anyway.
I fall into a pattern of hiding my feelings and acquiescing to others in order to please and not hurt any feelings until I get emotionally exhausted and then the resentment sets in and I lash out emotionally. I have a difficult time communicating, that’s why I blog, it helps me get my thoughts out and in order. I can go back a day, week, month, year, later and re-read what I wrote and reanalyze it and see where I was wrong and with new insight move forward to correct it. And I even hold back on here for fear of hurting people in my life. If I express these feelings verbally I won’t remember what I said an hour later. I do this in my marriage, with my kids and with my extended family. It isn’t healthy and it doesn’t help but at least I’m now aware of it and I’m working on it.
I need to get to work now and don’t have time to reread this over and over again and nitpick all the possible ways it can be intrepreted or misinterpreted so I’m just going to have to go with it. I just wanted to clarify some things before leaving it for the day.