Now Playing: jatb on the phone
Have you ever been forced into a role you didn't want to fulfil?
I mean, something a little like when you visit your parents* for dinner in your thirties and they still tell you to eat your carrots; there's a split second of shame when you realised you actually whined.
(*generalised example, I don't mean my parents! before Sue tortures me with carrot anecdotes while camping in the forest this weekend.)
About six months ago I felt that I was stuck in (what I suppose US psychs would term) a holding pattern of always being the bad guy in pretty much all the relationships I have. Friends, colleagues, partners. The one who says no, the one who gets annoyed, is hard to contact, is selfish, doesn't think about others, never returns calls, cuts you off for weeks without reason, doesn't react rationally, goes off on one, etc. There's a certain, icy power in that, but you also end up finding it difficult to speak about any emotion. Not good. Not progress.
So part of the purpose of the summer, alone with me, (well, the purpose after the Having No Money At All purpose) was to be On My Own. Nobody to incriminate me, or tempt me to be difficult, or make me feel emotionally blackmailed into being what they want me to be.
It was a tad lonely on the odd occasion, but what happened little by little was that I seemed to turn back into me again. Slowly. Slooooo-o-o-o-owly.
I could do what I want, listen to what I want, go where I want, see whomever I want, to do whatever I wished. This is not normally the case. It wasn't all roses, and I think the bloody blog itself is testament to how dispiriting enforced isolation can be at times.
Come September - new academic year, new promotion, old girlfriend returning; the old habit of feeling the pressure to fit into other people's expectations of how they'd like me to be resurfaced. I resisted; I like this new freedom. And people don't like it. The DH does not like it.
I'm getting used to the rolled eyeballs when I don't respond as demanded to some barked request. A heavy sigh if someone enters a room and I'm in it. The sulks if my comments are not quite what was expected. Friends and colleagues who've hung in there over the summer have already been through this, seem to have given up trying to shove a stereotype onto me, and mostly now comment on how much more like my old self I seem after more than a few years of being rather remote, distant and unreliable.
I have to gamble that the long-term positive response is a pattern, a prevailing one.
I wonder if this change is a good thing? Or am I just becoming older, more stuck in my ways? More smug in my selfishness? Perhaps it's more of a fear of change than a change at all?
I turned down that promotion today. I haven't spoken to anyone I saw when out socialising about it, because I don't care what they think. I'm sick or carping competitivity, snappy one liner put downs, working all hours to show how bloody successful I am. I don't want to be a fucking management consultant. I want to please me, not you.
But then, the question becomes... how far does the Brand New Selfishness go before it needs to be stopped?