I am a believer of second chances. At least, that is what I’m trying to tell myself these days. I have this idea of the kind of person I am. Turns out, as you get older you realize that you aren’t as awesome and “well rounded” as you seem. It is a mighty scary thing owning up to your faults and acknowledging that you are deeply flawed.
One of these personality traits I have come to accept is my stubbornness, my bossiness and my idea that certain things are black and white. I like to claim I am level-headed and see all shades of grey. I recently chastised one of my closest friends for not seeing the bigger picture—it is so much easier to condemn another persons actions.
Needless to say, facing my demons is an enlightening and humbling experience.
When I was growing up, my siblings and I weren’t really allowed to fight. As the anger started to escalate, my mom would step in and put the kai bash on any sort of confrontation. This led to us doing really weird, manipulative things to release these feelings.
Example number one: My sister chasing me around with a knife because she wanted to practice clarinet and I started playing the piano. Number two: My brother threatening to vomit on us when he wanted us out of his room, out of the house. As for me, I deleted all the text messages sent by my mom’s boyfriend so she would think he didn’t respond… it was a low point.
We are (were?) the epitome of passive aggressive.
On my recent vacation with my mom, it came to light that her being an only child resulted in her inability to argue. From this stemmed her nervousness around confrontation, which she passed along to us kids. Now don’t get me wrong, my mom is the best parent a girl could ask for, and I am in no means trying to blame our fucked up antics on her.
However, when it comes down to it, my family can’t deal with issues. We don’t know how to communicate effectively. My dad—he grew up with four brothers, which results in loud, opinionated, stubborn men who yell a lot. Family holidays require ear plugs. This isn’t an effective form of communication either, but I would hesitate to call anything my dad does “passive”.
Acknowledging my inability to deal with confrontation has just peeled back 17 layers of my personal onion. I am a little raw.
When I am backed into a corner and feel the sense of dread from an impending argument I do the following things: 1) I put on my serious face. 2) I take the age-old tactic of the silent treatment (works every time?!) 3) I turn into a horrific, judgmental bitch.
Take for example a friend who is looking for advice and support—if I don’t agree with her choices? KABOOM—I hold nothing back and make snide remarks about how stupid her/his decision is…
Yuck. This is the one time I am ashamed of my sarcasm.
After a recent episode of me turning my back on a bestie (sorry, forever) I realized that nothing I was doing was helpful. Sure, I had my opinions on the matter. I do think that things could go differently for her. HOWEVER, none of this matters—she is my best friend and I let her down by pretending that my life and my choices should be her life, her choices. To tell a friend what she should and shouldn’t do in her life because it is what you would or wouldn’t do is condescending and naïve. It was what I was doing—in my eyes, it was me just being a good friend. Honesty is the best policy right?
What I was doing wasn’t honest. I had this notion that my opinion had more value than her life choices.
I am facing this demon. I have humbled myself and have given myself a personal time out. I have sought out my friend and we talked. We actually addressed these issues. We had a long conversation about our view points, our opinions—accepting each others differences. I lowered the sarcasm, I lifted up her voice—we expanded our friendship.
Yes, this 25th year has resulted in a lot of personal self discovery thus far (and it has only been a few months… yikes). Yes, I am feeling a little vulnerable and A LOT raw. But guess what?
I am finally an adult.
Silent treatment totally wins every argument. If I am not participating in this discussion, haven’t I won? And the knife was a final straw AFTER threatening you with my brandished clarinet didn’t work but I knew how deathly afraid of knives you were. Not my proudest moment, but a good story now! I had no idea you did the text message thing to mom. Woah. Great job being honest!
25 is a big birthday for all of us 1987-ers. Mine’s coming up this Sunday… I wish I could say I was an adult.