I am realizing that I don’t always have to be the one who attempts to accommodate everyone else’s preferences, social or otherwise. I can stop beating myself up for not succeeding at this, for not being what everyone else wants or expects.
(I know this sounds banal to many. I know I sound like a teenager, in which case it is definitely not banal but should be a lesson learned long ago.)
This realization a big deal is because when I stop thinking it is my role to appease everyone else, I am able to see that people sometimes work to accommodate me and my weird but comfortable habits.
And that is just fine. They can do that kind of bending, too.
I don’t need to feel guilty. Or assume I am being patronized. Yeah, sometimes I am being patronized, but it is what it is.
It just is.
I have no idea how any culture designates its spectrum of normal, but I am convinced that there is an immutable spectrum of self-awareness that is tightly bound to, parallel to, the spectrum of pity to compassion.
When I dare to admit to my own unpleasant eccentricities, what my boss at work calls aspects of a “big personality” (which is weird, since I feel so fu*king small), without lathering them in shame or denial, I can actually begin to see that other people aren’t perfect either – not it terms of their own definition and not in terms of mine. I can see that there is no reason for me to force myself to try to be more like them (caveat: not without first questioning whether what they are presenting is something I actually admire).
When I don’t feel censured or inadequate, I don’t feel a need to judge other people for not being who I want them to be. Expect them to be. Behave, that is. It is what it is – but it is their behavior, not the who of them. Nor the who of me.
Accept and move on. Accept and avoid when necessary. No big deal. No need to try to control the uncontrollable others by way of compliance.
I could write a poem about the lessons of childhood. About making ourselves sick in the attempt to be good. What are we supposed to be good for? good at?
Sometimes I think we are all tin wind-up toys toddling in a room, banging into one another until we are effectively unwound. Then for some reason, we wind ourselves up again heading into a meaningless competition. A bully jabs two fingers into your sternum and asks: What are you going to do about it?
I could write a poem about the sharp edges of tin toys.
B. assures me that, yes, I am weird. But to be fair, I kinda opened myself up for that one.
L. says I seem tired.
This is me, at 56, embarrassed that I’m not writing this at 17. I’m concerned I will forget again all that I’ve learned about my own integrity. I am integrous. Weirdly integrous (And I have learned just now that this is a word.)
This is the who of me, though not always the behavior.
“First the body. No. First the place. No. First both. Now either. Now the other. Sick of the either try the other. Sick of it back sick of the either. So on. Somehow on. Till sick of both. Throw up and go. Where neither. Till sick of there. Throw up and back. The body again. Where none. The place again. Where none. Try again. Fail again. Better again. Or better worse. Fail worse again. Still worse again. Till sick for good. Throw up for good. Go for good. Where neither for good. Good and all.”Samuel Beckett