“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.” – Anais Nin
Found this quote while dancing around the interwebs and it just stuck with me.
Newly 40 and figuring out what that means for me. The actual day and week went off swimmingly. Better than I had imagined. By that point, I had freaked out enough where I was unable to actually have real expectations. Hurrah for freaking out!
But now it’s been a week of settling into this new decade and I wonder how far I’ve actually come. Before the blessed event, I had asked a few pals how they dealt with this particular birthday. Some spazzed out for a good year. Some were too busy dealing with things like babies to notice. Figures I would not have reacted like either. Guess we all move to the beat of our own drum.
Still, we all notice the new aches and literal pains of aging. Things don’t work the way they used to and yet my mind is still as spark-filled as it was when I was in my 20s except I have a bit more life experience and wisdom under my belt.
Me and two of my gal pals were discussing the big 4-0 and it felt good. It felt good cuz we had essentially grown up together. Our lives could not be more different but I met these two when I turned 18. We grew up together. We became women together. We reminisced about the horrifying and the sublime and realized that no matter, we came out the better end. Suffice to say, we were entering our 40s with some degree of elegance and intelligence.
Or so I thought.
I’ve always wondered a little if I am a bit of a drama queen. I would say a little bit more than some but less so than others. If anything, I’m a very emotional being and that has its own set of pros and cons.
Over the years I’ve learned to cut out the fat. The things I don’t like or don’t want, I get rid of. It isn’t even so much that those things are toxic…it’s just I don’t want it. And so no more. That hasn’t changed a lot over the years. If anything, it’s just a part of who I am. A friend recently told me that anyone who knows me shouldn’t necessarily be surprised by lack of tolerance for certain things. That’s a very kind way of putting it.
I’m not a cruel person but I can be mean. For a fairly empathetic person, I can be surprisingly unsympathetic depending on the situations. Shockingly, I’ve never thought too in depth about what does or what doesn’t stir the pot. But recently my pot has been stirred and I’ve been politely told to pay attention to why that is.
There are certain elements I have never had much patience for. If I spot it in a person, it’s an automatic turn off. If those same weaknesses are aimed toward me, I become the ultimate disappearing act, leaving only a trail of thinly veiled disdain. I haven’t really had to deal with such goings ons for awhile. But life is cyclical. And shit comes back and you have to figure out how you will deal with it all over again.
Apparently Mercury is in retrograde and beyond the technical difficulties this planetary alignment causes, it also is a lot of revisiting past issues or people and how you react to that. Fuck you Mercury.
This is a part of personality I thought I could be better than. The bit of trying to be less cruel and not fester and not let things snowball. Yet I find the drama queen from my youth has taken over my 40 year old body and I am having a hard time letting things go. Shit felt claustrophobic and bad and rightfully or wrongfully, the focus of my disdain became a huge focus of bizarre stress.
At this point, I know this much. When things feel bad, you have to process and then let it out in as healthy a way you can. Or at least let it out so that you can become healthy again. I did and I’m still wondering when the good part will start to kick in. I was honest and I believe nothing bad can come from that. But being honest doesn’t always feel good, especially when you believe some part of your feels is irrational.
And yet that’s how I do feel. And if I’m going to be ok, then I have to put me above the rest. I still beat myself up for it cuz it feels selfish and unkind. But having gone down this road before, I also know I could be worse and I don’t want that either.
So it brings me back to the quote. I’ve grown up in so many ways and been shocked at my growing emotional intelligence in dealing with so many more stressful things and yet…and yet. As much as things change, what stays the same?
There is a very stubborn part of me that doesn’t really want to change this aspect of myself. To me, it’s how I eliminate unwanted elements in my life. Everyone has a way of placing boundaries of what they want and don’t want. I guess for this moment, I felt like it was out of my hands because it was tied to something I was trying so hard to preserve. I felt I was made a party to something I never wanted any part of. I was too old for this shit and yet here I was…fucking listening to shit I didn’t need. I grew resentful and created a snowball effect. I needed it to stop so I did what I needed to do.
Still, I struggle. I wonder how old I actually am. In the metaphorical sense. Am I being childish and repugnant? Or am I just simply taking care of myself? Feelings rarely have any rhyme or reason to them. It’s all so fluid. And it’s one of the things I have actually eased into. That feelings aren’t always just one thing or the other but all of the colors all at once, whether they match or don’t.
I have stopped trying to control those things. And yet there are still things I seek to control and my happy place was feeling invaded. It all just felt bad.
Here I sit in my mess of emotions, trying to glean what I am able to change and what I am not. Some things are inherently who I am. I think part of me felt threatened by the fact that I had to adjust. As much as I am willing to be malleable, I don’t think any of us like being made to change against their will. Stubborn. That’s never fucking changing.
Friends will encourage and always uphold the fact that you are who you are. Fundamentally, I can only be myself (even as I slowly mature). And yet I have always wondered if that isn’t something that I should improve upon too. While being accepted for me is great…is this also a call to change something that needs to be less aggressive?
Considering the source of my aggravation, I feel the desire to greet that with an adamant FUCK NO. But I also believe in evolving and shifting with the tides. Whatever this person triggered is part of something else greater than this situation and it’s up to me to figure out what I want to do with that.
Currently the feels are too high and avoidance is my remedy of choice. Eventually that cannot be and I’ll have to face the music. Just right now, I don’t really want to take on more than I am able. And I’d prefer to not have any encounters in the near future.
That is allowed I suppose. A part of me wonders if that’s immature. But I think at this point, letting resentment fester and never voicing the pain would be far more damaging to relationships I don’t actually want to disintegrate. Sigh. Being mature sometimes feels so fucking backwards. It doesn’t feel like I’m being kind. It just makes me feel like I’m a deeply stubborn and horrible person. Or maybe I’m just a person who needs her fucking space but a fucking dipshit of a situation.
I feel like I have such kind friends and they would handle all of this far better than I would. Sit and smile and not let it get under their skin. Alas, my feels have always been so transparent that you’d have better luck trying to change a leopard’s spots. Comparison is, as always, a losing game.
Accepting oneself as oneself is one thing…but when is it a call to change and when is it just time to fully own up this is one of the not so awesome things about you?
Honestly, it’s somewhere in the middle. I don’t think I am able to change in a fundamental way, nor do I think I should. My instincts have guided me well in life thus far and I don’t feel the need to disregard just for one incident. But I have to show greater compassion for the shit at hand since I’m not the only person this affects. If anything, all of this is tangential to me (which also makes me feel more frustrated at my own behavior). Ugh!
Compromise is a bitch. And I’m still working it out. We’ll see how it goes. Do I think it’ll all be happily ever after? Not likely. I’m not that good. But a comfortable medium would suffice. Just not quite now. Maybe later. Much, much later. See? Still stubborn.