Lately, I’ve been listening more. Or really just hearing myself. I hear myself telling people things, saying positive stuff and then wondering why I don’t say these things to myself.
Another mom was lamenting that she wasn’t making her life a priority. She compared herself to her friends. I listened to her, nodding empathetically, then I said to her – But you are living your life. They are living their life and you are living your life, with your priorities – your family is your priority.
Next morning, I am brushing my teeth and BANG it hits me. Why the hell don’t I listen to my own damn self? Why don’t I just live my life my way and fuck it all – who cares?
Truth is I don’t care. People that know me, know me as a laid-back, carefree independent girl. And that is me, that is my essence. Yet ask me what I’m good at, what my strengths are and my accomplishments – and I draw a blank.
I am a lifetime member of Weight Watchers for 23 years. I sit there in the meeting and I KNOW all this shit. I KNOW what I SHOULD do. What I don’t understand is why is it I struggle to apply that knowledge at times? Let me tell you: Knowing and Doing are two different things.
That’s nice. But reading those words, hearing those words, writing them on a sticky-note and sticking it on my bathroom mirror, doesn’t make it so. My therapist never told me to love me. Perhaps she knew that deep down, I do love me, I just don’t always treat myself the way I need to be treated.
She did tell me I needed to slow down and recognize myself and my accomplishments. She said I had a tendency to work towards a goal and go straight on to the next one without ever celebrating or recognizing my accomplishments. — Still working on that one.
She also wanted me to be the bigger person and start a conversation with my dad and build a relationship. I told her that was not going to happen, that at that point in my life I no longer cared and it didn’t bother me anymore. After a few weeks of arguing over this, I stopped going to therapy. Why was I paying her money to argue? I could just visit my folks and do that for free.
That was 16 years ago. She did make me get in touch with my feelings and convince me I should settle down and take root. For that, I resent her and I am not one to ever resent anyone. It’s like she opened this damn pandora’s box and now I have all these feelings and no idea what to do with them. I do talk to my dad now that my mom passed away. It hasn’t been as bad as I thought. It’s not a touchy-feely love fest, but at this point that would just be so weird. No disrespect to my former therapist, she is a caring individual who truly seeks to help others. But, some things can’t be helped.
My dad grew up in a bombed-out Italy during and after World War II. He married my mom, an italian-american, in Italy and she helped him to come to America. His mother gave birth to 13 kids, 5 of whom lived, plus 2 stepsons. She didn’t know about the two stepsons until after she had married. She lived the remainder of her adult life with shrapnel stuck in her leg in a small apartment in Rome feeding and caring for her family. I doubt she ever taped a note to her vanity that said: “LOVE ME.”
So if we meet and you ask me how I’m doing, I will smile and say, “fine, thanks. How are you?” This isn’t necessarily untrue. In that moment I am fine, because you cared enough to ask and I don’t have any real tangible problems other than my own psyche. Just don’t expect a hug.