Jt was so sick she had stopped making jewelry for a long time. She didn't even want to think about it, the thought of it scared and overwhelmed her. It was only through my patient, compassionate, tactful encouragement that she started to consider it again. And my enthusiasm for beadweaving got her interested in it, so one day I sat down and showed her how to do a spiral weave. I calmed her when she got frustrated, reassured her when she thought she'd screwed up, helped her find ways to make it easier. And now she is selling spiral weave necklaces for $100 each. She knew no other people making jewelry, so there was nobody to inspire and encourage her. She didn't care a whiff for beadweaving until I told her how much I loved it. She was petrified of even looking at her supplies. It is safe to say that I am majorly if not entirely responsible for her return to craft and the subsequent money she is now making - though I fully recognize she had built up her own client base on her own. If it weren't for me, she'd still not be crafting. There's been no recognition of this whatsoever. I admit I was envious when I heard she was selling these necklaces, and for so much money, when I was the one who showed her how to do it and prevented her from giving up. Now I'm just pissed off that she's calling me ungrateful. I don't know anyone who shows more gratitude to their friends' generosity than I do. I say thank you more than everyone I know put together.
This is really eating away at me again, when am I going to have had my say? When can I put it to bed? I'm starting to think the best thing for me to do would be to walk up to her and actually punch her square in the face, or kick her in the stomach - because kick me in the stomach is what she did to me, that's where and how I felt it when she betrayed and attacked me. And left me stunned, in real clinical shock. When can I stop hurting and being angry about this? I hate being angry, and that just makes me more angry. Honestly I realize that anger is alerting you to the fact that someone is violating you or your boundaries, that you are being hurt. But I got the alert, stop beeping already! Anger is more than an alert. It's torture. Torture you don't deserve because you didn't ask for it. Anger cannot be used productively by someone like me, anger just makes me sick and paralyzed. And I'm taking it out on everything around me, my poor dog and cat, the people who walk by me on the street (if I have to go outside at all). Her hate makes me have hate, and I do not want hate. Her hate is contagious and uncontrollable and unjust, it explodes into the world and makes everybody a hater or a hated. Or, like me, both. Hate is completely useless, anger is completely useless - I can be alerted by one kick in the stomach, not recurrent kicks for weeks on end, thank you very much. Hate and anger make me almost convinced its okay to punch people in the face. Righteous hate (hate that is 'deserved') is no better than bigot-hate. It's just as damaging to everybody involved.
I went to the library and experienced social anxiety-type thoughts. I'm annoying people and making them work harder. I'm disgusting because I'm sweating like a pig (from the medication, but nobody knows that). People think I'm the weird girl. What I'm wearing makes me look ridiculous. The teller is analysing me based on what books I'm borrowing. I didn't say a sincere or grateful enough thank you to the people who helped me get the prize I won in the customer appreciation draw. I didn't apologize well enough for not calling ahead so they'd have it ready and not have to bring it up from the basement. Note that the library was dead and these people weren't really doing much anyway. Tellers hate me because I always have a lot of holds and they have to take the papers and elastics off them and it takes longer (even though there was nobody in line behind me). On the way home I'm angry because I feel stupid and ugly and I hate life because it's colder than I want it to be. I hate Thursdays because it's supposed to be my favourite day of the week, but this week it really let me down. I'm feeling really down on myself. I think about the fact that i haven't received an email back from a girl who I thought I might be friends with ever since I told her I'd struggled with mental health and rambled on about the noise around here. I thought 'it's okay, I shouldn't have friends anyway'. I think maybe being a selfish bitch is one of those qualities you can't change.
Then I thought, I'm selfish because I have nothing. But here is a belief I'm discovering I have: there is no excuse for selfishness. So those two thoughts are having it out in my head, in my gut. You'd be selfish and always looking out for yourself too, if you had nothing. It doesn't matter what you do or don't have, selfishness is always bad. And it is really hard to lose that belief because whenever I do assert my needs - just my needs, forget my wants - people don't react very well. People reject it. People do not want to accomodate me, and it seems like its just me that they resent accomodating. Why is that? What is it about me that is so off-putting?
Jt said in her letter that R told her she was sick of me copying her. I'm guessing she meant how I tried the same crafts as her. She painted houses, so I gave it a try. She started sewing, I got excited and wanted to sew. Geez, sorry for taking an enthusiastic interest in what you're doing, friend. I guess she thought I was trying to compete with her, and maybe I was. Her houses were so nice. But I started painting before or at the same time as R. I didn't do houses, but I did decorative painting and ceramic figurines, the latter of which is pretty friggen similar to the houses. So that's not really a stretch. It's my nature to want to learn how to do everything I see. Look at how many beading techniques I've done, and I'm still planning on the rest. Did I copy R when I went back to school and got my degree? Hmmm, no, I seem to recall her taking a few courses after I did that. It's not copying its general interest, and a desire to SHARE something. Did I copy R by getting sicker and needed ECT? Nope, I got better as she got worse. What did I copy so much? She got married, I stayed single. She watched television, I can't afford cable. She's into buying clothes, I'm not. Look, I'm not blaming R for this. She never said that to my face, and she was sick when she said it. It doesn't matter because we're no longer friends and I can't copy her anymore. Does it take something away from a friend if you join in their pleasure? Not a friend, not a real friend. If I got into gardening, I don't think Jd would be anything but pleased. I'm not angry that she's taking up geocaching after I started to with my mom. I guess it boils down to how strongly you identify with something, and if you are using it as an attempt to compete and differentiate with me. And if you do that, you'll probably also assume that I'm trying to steal it from you if I take it up too. Maybe I should tell Jt that I resent her for 'copying' me and taking up beadweaving. Of course, she can counter by saying I took up jewelry making to copy her - actually it was my cousin N who encouraged that interest, and she doesn't resent it one bit. Cuz she's not fucking CRAZY. I guess all my insecure friends wished I could've just stuck to knitting. That's supposed to be my thing, I guess. How dare I change?
So if doing and asking for what I need makes me a selfish bitch, I am just going to have to get used to being a selfish bitch. I don't see any way around it, because I can't continue to spend my energy trying to be selfless and nice. It hasn't gotten me anywhere, saved any friendships - Jd was my friend when I couldn't even pretend not to be a selfish bitch - But the truth is, or what I am afraid is the truth is, that taking care of my needs will leave me nothing whatsoever to give to others. I know that if you 'fill up your cup' you're supposed to be able to give, but I don't think my cup can get full on what I've got left. So maybe I can't have friends at all. Maybe I can't be anything more than a leech or a charity case. Maybe everyone in my life is going to see me as a selfish bitch and that will be that. Is that kind of life worth it? Is that all I get to be, a selfish bitch? Is that all I'm going to amount to? Well here, here's your answer, D. If I'm not helping it means I'm a selfish bitch. Having someone hate me is evidence that I'm a selfish bitch. Selfish bitch is the default, and I have to work to convince people I'm otherwise.
So where did I get this idea that I'm a selfish bitch. Originally, obviously, from my childhood, feeling like asking for anything at all meant I was asking for too much. Feeling like I really shouldn't want or need more than what I was given, and that even asking for something - not getting it, just asking it, was taking. My existence, my needs, my presence - all of it was taking from my mother. Taking energy that either she didn't have, or that she wanted for herself. Taking what I didn't deserve. The feeling of taking something that wasn't willingly given is painful. And I had no control over it - I had to take, I took as little as I could, but it always felt like mountains too much. And so I spend the rest of my life trying to repay. I can't repay my mother, because she doesn't need it anymore. I took it and can never give it back. So I have to find other people to pay. Because not paying it back is just plain wrong. It would turn me into that spoiled, selfish, entitled girl that Jt wants me to be. And every dime that gets put on those mountain tops is just one more mountain to pay back. It makes me weary. I've been made to feel I have to earn my existence, even though I didn't put myself here. I didn't create me in the first place, but I damn sure am going to pay for it. Intellectually I believe that parents are responsible for providing their children with everything they need (not want, need), and to give it freely, without resentment or feelings of being owed. I felt resented, though. I felt in the way. I felt that everything I was given was a huge sacrifice for which ever parent gave it, and they let me know it. Whatever I got came with a side-order of guilt. And they worked so hard and long to put food on the table and a roof over our heads, that should be enough for the ungrateful brats. They want love now too? Please. I've given enough. I've done enough. I work hard enough. They want me to spend time with them and be interested in them and enjoy them and like them? Gimme a break here, I'm an adult. I spent all day working for you, the least you can do is let me have an adult life. Whatever parents don't get from their own folks should NEVER be taken out on their children. "When I was a child, we'd get beaten" and what is implied is, you should be grateful that I don't hit you and not ask for more than that. If a parent feels like they are providing a smidgeon more than what they got, they think its good enough, even when it's shit. You're not supposed to compare yourself to your children and tell them they have it so good because they have food and shelter and something you didn't. You are supposed to give them everything they need, not just more than you got. And don't be envious or resentful. You brought them into this world on purpose, you owe them to fulfill your responsibility. Doubtless when you were expecting, you told yourself you were going to give them everything everything! But then reality sets in, and its not as easy as you'd like, and so rather than do the right thing, you make your children suffer for it.
Okay this diatribe obviously assumes a lot, and I don't know a damn thing about how my mom was raised, or what she was really thinking when raising me. And I never will because she's conveiniently forgotten that time. The only truth in what I've written is that that is how it FEELS to me. That is what I grew up feeling. Like a burden, like I drained so much life out of her just by needing food and shelter and rides and clothes, that I daren't have asked for love too. And so I didn't. I tried to earn it by being perfect, but perfect is so far from impossible when you are a child. You have to make a lot of guesses about what's right and what will make them happy. And to be unseen and independent and not to ask or take, to be invisible, well, that just makes your failures to keep it up stand out even more. The guilt, my god, the guilt of being alive and needing. The guilt of costing money. The guilt of standing in a place you didn't know they wanted to be, and so being in the way. The strain of guessing and anticipating and watching and observing and the effort of controlling and holding in and holding back and not talking not expressing not moving. And the guilt of failing. They say it takes 5 encouragements to make up for every criticism. And criticism comes in the form of that devestating look of disappointment, or that one of exhaustion, or the one of annoyance. No words need to be spoken. What does an encouraging look look like? What does my mother's face look like when she's proud of me? I honestly have no fucking idea. But I can see that disappointed look like its always watching me, its always available in Blu-Ray Hi Def and so much like being there it'll blow you out of your seat, or crush your soul when you're 34 and thinking about it. And it still comes out all the time in real life. Even when you prepare for it and ask specifically not to see it, it comes. Example - I was having a really tough time, something bad had just happened, and I bought a carton of ice cream, and I asked my mom not to say anything please, even if I ate the whole thing. And boom, there it was. "The Whole Thing?" she said. Somewhere between jaywalking and shoplifting belongs Eating The Whole Thing.
So apparently, today is not a Thursday, it is a blogday, and this entry is never going to end. I'll be back when I have some more stuff to get off my head.
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