The Older I Get

A thought came to my mind recently about myself. I often sit and think about things, pondering why I constantly feel that people aren’t treating me with the same kindness that I treat them. What is it that I’m doing that makes me unapproachable? I had to really think about this because I know it’s not everybody else’s fault that I’m feeling this way, this is a two way street. I know I’m as much at fault as the next person; I’m not perfect.

Over the years I’ve gone through a lot. I’ve experienced enough drama to last a lifetime from family, to so-called friends, workmates, schoolmates, you name it. You can definitely say that I’ve become quite jaded in some respects when it comes to people and how genuine they are when it comes to them wanting to get  close to me. My trust level is so low that it’s hard for me to trust anyone outside of my immediate family, and I can’t even trust most of them! My circle of trust is very small, and it includes my husband, my children, my mother and sister in law and about three close friends. That’s it. With that being said, I have put up a wall around me that does not allow for anyone else to get close to me, yet sometimes I find myself wishing I was closer to some people. Sometimes.

I’ve spent so much of my early years trying to fit in, trying to be outgoing, to not caring about fitting in and just doing and being me. Always smiling, always happy, always laughing and trying to put a smile on other people’s faces. Always hugging and kissing people on the cheek, showing affection to all those I cared about. I was always inviting people over, initiating girls night out, get-togethers, and other things. I willingly put myself out there because I still had that belief that people were good, at least the people that I chose to surround myself with. Over time, that changed dramatically; I changed. I had more kids, traumatic things happened in my life, and my focus completely changed. That need to be around people, that need to stay in touch began to fade. Just seeing people in passing became good enough for me. Saying hi and giving a hug and keeping it moving sufficed. My husband and children became my focus. Keeping us afloat, keeping us together despite all the roadblocks, despite all the people wishing hardships upon us is all that mattered to me.

The thing is, I never took that wall down. If anything I made it stronger. I reinforced it over the years to the point where I no longer cared if I saw certain people. It didn’t bother me if I wasn’t invited to go out or to attend a gathering. I was no longer interested in saying hello to certain people or giving hugs. I knew I had become stand-offish, but I didn’t know how bad I had become until my husband pointed out my behavior to me. I couldn’t deny anything he said because I knew it was the truth. I knew that was me.

What I’m dealing with now is how do I change that? More importantly, do I want to change? I know what to do to change my attitude. Small little gestures like reaching out to some of my friends and inviting them over, or inviting them out for a drink. I’ve gotten so used to my life as it is now that it’s become hard to take that step. I love my friends, and I really do care about them, but a part of me often think “Why does it have to be me to make this gesture? What is stopping them from reaching out to me and inviting me somewhere?” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not sitting at home stewing over whether or not my friends are going out or having some fun get together at their home without me. I don’t care about that and that doesn’t bother me at all. I’ve never been one of those people who feel they should be invited to every party that happens within my circle. That never bothered me. What does bother me is when it’s always expected of me to initiate or put together a get together.

Let’s face it: We’re all busy. We all have our own lives to live with various problems. I know it’s hard for all of us to make time to do a lot of things, but if we really want to make time we will. That’s just how it goes. My husband keeps encouraging me to have a little get together at the house and invite a few of my friends over. This is odd coming from him because it used to bug him when I was the hostess with the mostess back in the day! It also shows me that he notices a change in his wife, a change that isn’t a positive one, and he wants me to get back to my old self. I kind of miss my old self too, but so much has changed. I’ve changed, and not just because of being burned by people, but because I’ve become older and wiser. My patience is shorter, and that can be a good and bad thing.

Honestly, I’m ok with the new me – flaws and all. I’m not perfect, and I will always have things that I need to work on. I don’t want to continue to isolate myself from my friends, and by isolate I mean seeing them, but not hanging out with them. At the same time I’m not going to let it bother me either. Does that make any sense? I care, but I don’t care. I’m 42 years old, and the fact of the matter is I’ve changed. For better or for worse, who knows. I think it’s a mixture of both, and I’m completely ok with that.

Conflicting Feelings

Broken Heart

 

At times I have conflicting feelings, especially when it comes to my family. Coming from a family filled with pain and drama, I reached my “enough is enough” point pretty early in life. I reached this point in my early teens, and then put my foot down completely in my early 20’s. It goes without saying that we all make mistakes, we’re all imperfect. But when you continue to go through life drowning in the same cycle of dysfunction, I cannot and will not be apart of that.

I love my family from a distance, and it’s a necessity that I do so in order to stop that cycle of dysfunction from continuing in my life. This meant distancing myself from my family in many ways and not looking back. Without divulging my families dirty laundry, I’ve found that it’s difficult to move forward with a clean slate if someone refuses to admit their wrongs and make changes in their behavior. Apologies come a dime a dozen. You have to show by your actions that you’re sorry or remorseful. I refuse to let anyone use me as a doormat by their poor treatment of me. Because of the stance I took I quickly became the black sheep of the family, a title I wear with pride to be honest.

The value I place on my own personal peace of mind is extremely high. Having peace within my own family with my husband and our four kids is also extremely important to me. Besides God, nothing else comes before my children and husband. What I regret is not having a great relationship with my family. I hate that we’re so dysfunctional still after all of these years. I hate that I’m not close to either of my parents in any shape or form. I hate that I’m not close to all of my siblings. I hate that because certain people refuse to be accountable for causing so much pain to our family, many are not able to move on with their lives in a healthy way.

This is where my conflicting feelings come into play. While I have these regrets, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I’ve made the right decision for ME. It doesn’t mean that I don’t still yearn for a close knit family, or for a close relationship with my parents. Those things will never happen, and I’ve accepted that fact many years ago. This is why I put all of my focus and energy into my own family, making sure that my kids have that close knit family with two parents that love them unconditionally and show it by words and actions. They have two parents that they can talk to about anything, that they can laugh and joke with and have fun with. My husband and I have gone above and beyond to provide a loving environment for our children and to be the best parents we can be to our children. This also includes me being the best wife I can be to my husband, and vice versa.

Despite it all I can’t help but to feel cheated. I feel cheated because I didn’t come from what I consider to be a normal, loving family. I know every family has their issues and suffer from some type of dysfunction, but I wouldn’t wish my families dysfunction on my worst enemy. It may sound harsh, but it’s true. It’s not something I spend a lot of time thinking about or dwelling on, but every so often certain things will remind me of what I missed out on. A commercial on television with a father and daughter or a mother and daughter sharing quality time together, or being out in public and seeing families together and happy. That’s when I feel that twinge of longing and regret. Then I look at my own family. I listen to my kids laughing and playing and how happy they are without a care in the world, and I’m reminded of how blessed I truly am. Why am I blessed? Because I broke that cycle of dysfunction. Then those conflicting feelings fade to black.

My Love-Hate Relationship With Social Media

In 2008 I joined Facebook and that’s when my love/hate relationship with social media began. The things people post on social media, Facebook in particular, never cease to amaze me. Porn – pictures and foul language,  TMI photos of themselves or someone else, airing out personal and family drama, bad grammar and the overall butchering of the English language, and using text lingo to post messages. I could talk for DAYS about any and all of those subjects, but I won’t. Instead I’ll talk about the various types of people I’ve found on social media that have shortened my patience and get on my last nerve:

The Self Righteous Person

This person always feels the need to point out everyone’s faults while quoting scriptures or sage sayings that they never apply or live by themselves. They’re quick to say how people should and should not live their lives or will preface their soap box rant by saying “I know I’m a sinner and I’ve done my dirt BUT…….” They are more concerned with, and ultimately consumed with, the imperfections of others and will call these people out in their posts. Most of the time their “shaming posts” are done passive aggressively in a long rant. Those who truly know the self righteous person such as family members and close friends, know that this person has a lot of nerve trying to counsel, criticize or give advice when they have the same, if not worse, shortcomings. The self righteous person also feel it’s their duty to say things that don’t need to be said, to “keep it real” and constantly point out the elephant in the room. They like to butt into things that have nothing to do with them, offering their unsolicited advice and are quick to form judgments and opinions without knowing the full story. Most self righteous people also crave attention, which leads me to……..

The Needy Person

The needy person is pretty self explanatory. They need and crave constant attention, and when they don’t get it they lash out. These people are typically very lonely and unhappy with little to no social life. They get upset and take it out on everybody – family, friends, etc. –  for not giving them the attention they want. The needy person will create drama where there is none, or make the smallest thing into a big ordeal. No amount of attention they receive is ever enough for them.

The Know it All

There is absolutely nothing they aren’t an expert on. Religion, politics, pop culture, sports, history. They live to share their “knowledge” while making sure that others feel dumb compared to them. They will butt into a conversation and spout their so-called knowledge and argue you down if you disagree with them, thinking their intellectual prowess will over power you until you see things their way. If you stand up to them they quickly resort to condescension and name calling.

The Debbie Downer

Again, self explanatory. This person is never happy. EVER. Every post they make is highly depressing. They will never post about the good things that happen to them. It’s always doom and gloom. They never try to see the light at the end of the tunnel or the rainbow after the rain. When you share good news or try to be upbeat and positive they are usually the ones to bring you down off your high by stating how just in the last hour, 1 million Ethiopian children starved to death.

Why people use social media to cyber fight/bully each other and air out dirty laundry is beyond me. Social media gives people a lot of false bravado. It’s sad, really. I’ve watched family drama from my own family unfold before my very eyes on Facebook. It’s so embarrassing. What do you gain from doing this? Attention? The satisfaction of putting this person on blast? It’s so childish. I try my best to be upbeat and positive on Facebook at all times. I want to uplift those who read my posts or give them a laugh, not bring them down and depress them. I’ve toyed with deleting my Facebook account because I got tired of the drama and negativity. The whole purpose of me joining was to connect with my family members that live out of state. I’ll be honest – it’s been my family members that make me want to get off of Facebook at times. And yes I do make use of the hide, block and delete options.

With all of that being said, Facebook has been a great tool to connect with old friends and long lost family members. I’ve met new people, swapped great recipes, gotten great advice from other moms, etc. I quickly realized that I need to do a semi monthly cleaning of my friends list to weed out the undesirables. And to be honest, others have deleted me as their Facebook friend too, so it goes both ways! Maybe I’m too positive and upbeat for them, who knows! 😉

Twitter isn’t my thing. Too much time and energy is required for Twitter – and I have neither to devote to keeping up with tweets and followers and hash tags. Twitter beefs – really? Ahhhhh social media. We lived without it for centuries, and we were just fine too. Something to think about.