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Defining oneself in negative space...

Probably the first thing the Grumpy Old Man ever complimented me on was that I knew what I wanted. Apparently, all the other women he'd dated had suffered from that not-so-rare disease 'You decide' and he found this forever frustrating. On the one hand it was great to have the last word on which movie to see and which restaurant to go to, but on the other hand there was this nagging doubt in the back of his mind that if he chose poorly, he'd forever be 'that guy who never considered my feelings'...

I can see why, too. The first time we went to the movies together, he took me to see David Lynch's Lost Highway. Here's a hint; I thought Gremlins was a really scary movie... Mine and the Grumpy Old Man's tastes in movies is only overlap in the smallest of venn diagram ellipses. The same goes for music and food.

Even though he bestowed such a gracious compliment on me, I still find that I struggle with defining myself by what I am, but find it rather easy to define myself by what I am not - which is a lot like knowing what you don't want.


I've been thinking a lot about what I am not, lately.

I have so much admiration for bloggers who can write gracefully about their lives. Bloggers who can put every day occurrences under spotlight and make them gleam and glisten in such a way that others cannot look away for the sheer beauty of it all.

Even those bloggers who live with intense pain or angst or challenge, who can pour blood onto their keyboards and still have it appear on screen with all the rarified elegance of a Sylvia Plath poem.

I am not like that.

I would love to be like that, and I kind of, sort of can see how it is done, but in the end, it's just not me.

Funny doesn't seem to be me either. Which is funny because there are people who I can spend time with and all we ever do is laugh and while I'm in their company, I am funny and I feel the power of being funny and words come out of my mouth without any effort that are witty and clever and, and, and entertaining.

But as soon as I try to put those words on paper they turn brittle and thin and stilted.

Something else I'm not is a grudge holder. I just can't do it. I'm too lazy to hold a grudge.

And yet, I'm not someone who let's go, either.

Yesterday I found out an old friend had a baby a few months ago. This old friend doesn't talk to me any more. I've tried to make contact with her but she's just not interested. I'm not sure what I did that was so terrible she can't bear to interact with me, even superficially.

You see she was a nanny - a great nanny. She was great with kids, I really admired her generosity and pep. She went overseas to nanny and we stayed in contact. She met some great people and was encouraged to write a book. Initially, it was going to be a children's recipe book. She loves to cook. Then later it turned into a parenting advice book from the perspective of a nanny. That's where something went wrong - and I still don't understand it. One day she emailed to say she was co-writing a parenting book and she hadn't told me before because it didn't support my choices in parenting.

I was hurt by the email. Partly because she didn't trust me enough to tell me what she was writing - she was so sure I'd give her a hard time about it, when I'd never said anything to indicate that. Partly because I felt that she had judged me as a parent-without-a-clue.

I wrote back and made a flippant comment about the title of the book; pointing out it was called Nanny Wisdom, not Mother Wisdom. And that was, as they say in the movies, that. I never did hear from her again, and any attempts to make contact with her after that point were met with a wall of silence.

But I miss her. At the time, she was my best friend - ever. She was like an aunt to my children. To this day they still wear clothes she bought them and toys she sent them. I still have a photo of us on the mantelpiece in my bedroom. I miss her.

So, yesterday I saw photos of her little boy because she doesn't hide a thing on her Facebook page which makes stalking her far too easy - and I am not someone who let's go easily. I'm so happy for her! And it made me cry because I miss her, too.

Sometimes it's a lot easier to see the edges around who we are not. It's easier to define ourselves by what we cannot relate to, rather than what we can relate to.

I am not someone who can turn the every day routine or pain into a magical adventure.

I am not someone who writes funny.

I am not someone who holds grudges.

I am not someone who let's go.


Rhianna SG said…
Oh Sif. I get this only too well, it feels like I could have written it myself. Fairy wishes and butterfly kisses lovely

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