Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Dodging eggshells

I saw Junebug last night.

Gosh, I loved Amy Adams' character. I could see where she'd play a Disney princess.

The movie was set in NC, which isn't far from where I'm from. The people were so familiar, even if the accents were fake.

The family was like too many. They're telling instead of asking people. And they never listen. They're bubbles that bounce off each other, but never merge. Chips on the shoulder and woundedness are the norms.

It was eggshells. Nobody really wanted to set the other off, so nobody connected. They loved each other in the most hollow of ways, but it was the best they could do.

I have a bad habit. It's especially at issue in the holiday season, although I talk about it in therapy almost each week in one form or another. I always make others out to be happier than I am, thinking that the rest of the world boasts sparkling existences while I waste away in loneliness. Other people have perfect, thoughtful spouses and they truly communicate effectively about everything. They have beautiful homes and rich lives, lots of friends and family they actually want to spend time visiting. They take trips and cull fascinating ways to spend their time. And they produce the exact number of children they want.

I've made P's ill-fated, jiffy marriage out to be all happy and shiny. Given the man who went into it, there's no way it isn't full of eggshells, known or unknown to his poor wife, but that's my head talking. In my anxious and sad heart, he's so happy without me. Rainbows and sunshine. Everything came together for him in bliss. I was the fool who patiently waited so long for him, then he finally got it together with someone else reaping the rewards. I am not over this hurt. But I know he's not really together, either.

During the movie, I remembered those eggshells, though; it flooded back what it felt like when I was with him, his daughter, and his parents. I had to acquiesce to the princess and tried to zip it around his mother. Everybody else's peace was more important than mine. I was pragmatically polite, honest without judging. I was the glue until I finally blew, then they didn't understand me in that role.

I know there is actually no real family life with him. Their cute house's exterior hides a lot of misery. Although he's full of superficial laughter and fun, his life didn't suddenly become joyful and his daughter mature. He's a tortured soul.

But he has a mate and I don't. So that casts it all pretty.

However, re-experiencing the eggshells, the land mines just waiting to explode, I had a sense of relief in being free. My house isn't like that. My son and I have no eggshells. Not having a man in my life makes it easier. I appreciate the purity and the lack of complication. I don't have gnawing in the pit of my stomach that I've made a mistake or might make someone angry inadvertently. I don't have to decide when to speak up and when to hold my tongue, a frustrating dilemma when I'm in a relationship.

I like not having eggshells. I am awkward enough without someone else imposing their issues.

Does this make sense to you? How shiny is your life? How many eggshells to you dodge? How sensitive are you to eggshells, or do you really care?


Shinny said...

As you know the shine is wearing thin round here lately. I totally get your last part about just being you and your boy, I look fondly back at the good old days when there wasn't someone else who had to be placated daily. I think though that no matter what when you add a third or fourth person to a mix there is going to be conflict because you can't make everyone happy all the time no matter what. I have given up trying because it seemed nothing worked anyway so why bother. I know, you have given me feedback and once Piglet gets here I will be looking into that.
Oh, and any ideas on how to get the person sitting in the cube next to mine to blow her freaking nose already? ;)

Val said...

OK, comments working today!
Great post -- boy do I relate, esp the ease of being just-mom-&-boy...
Even when we fight, it's quickly resolved & we're back to snugglin'; I know it won't be that easy when he's a teenager...
Right now I'm concentrating on making MYSELF happy & quit freaking out about the rest of the family -- what a concept, huh?

Cricket said...

It was quite the coincidence talking to you, then seeing the movie. Although I didn't mention you in the post, the movie and our conversation brought a lot home to me. I'm always learning, you know?

There are lots of sides to every situation. It takes loads of respect. Some people don't have the emotional depth to not revert and be pissy. Other people fake it really well.

It requires maturity to be in a good relationship, but it is hard to level the field and have the same depth of maturity so there's not enabling happening. It's so wonderful when one isn't carrying the load like I did. You can't just tell someone to be respectful or mature; it comes from within and some people just don't have it.

Cricket said...

I thought about you, too, and your mom/son ease.

Good for you concentrating on yourself. You deserve it.

Aunt Becky said...


I'm with you on always imagining that other people have it easier. Well, I thought this way when I was a kid, and have thankfully realized that EVERYONE has their own shit to deal with. The holidays did make it absolutely harder on me during those moments.

Eggshells are becoming less and less important to me, the older I get.

end delurk/

(I added you on my blogroll. I hope that you don't mind)

I_Sell_Books said...

Oh, makes perfect sense to me. My mother always tells me that the grass is not necessarily greener on the other side, but that's pretty damned hard to take when there are no signs that life isn't perfect on the other side.

I'm with ya.


Klynn said...

Once again, you've nailed a true-ism of life. I'm a people-pleaser. I'm constantly walking on eggshells with my entire family (immediate and extended). It's only very rarely that I stick my neck out and express a contrary opinion, or push an issue that I want a certain way. When I don't have other people to consider (if I'm alone for an hour or if that ever happens) I tend to not know what to do with myself. I've always defined myself by who I'm with (husband, children, family). I envy you your freedom and personal identity and independence. Even if you don't feel like you've always got it "together", at least you have a better sense of who you are. Oops, there I go with the grass is greener syndrome. Just try to be happy with the goodness you have in your life and keep striving every day to make it better.

Anonymous said...

Since I've never commented yet but have read frequently, I'd have to agree with you on looking back fondly at the times when I didn't have my own family. Now, while there are definitely times where I want to install the punching bag in the garage to let off some steam, it is far outweighed by the great times I've had with my wife and the boy. It definitely has been a learning experience for me, and I'd like to think I've become more patient (yet not a doormat) because of it. I think the key is to set aside time once in a while to enjoy the quiet time. For me it always ends up that I miss what I have now and can't wait to get back to it.

Cricket said...

Thanks for the additional comments. See what happens when you leave a post up for a second day?

Becky, I added you to my blogroll. Your style of writing is so much like brite's, I found myself mixed up with who I was reading. I'll have to hook you two up.

Klynn, I'm so glad you shared. I do understand the indecision inherent with being around others and deciding on assertiveness. Man, your comment about independence and me being on that gorgeous side of the fence, well, that blew me away.

Anon, thanks for reading and commenting. Sounds like you deal with things maturely and might be on that gorgeous side of the fence. As an introvert, I crave the quiet time.

When my ex husband wanted to run away from us, well, he essentially did. He's another one like P - wherever he goes, there he is... with all the same bad habits - and I see him causing the same problems in his new marriage that he did in ours. I may blog about that.

dawn224 said...

I moved away from home, things are shiny here, in my own house. Then I go crazy and decide to go home. And break a damn egg every time.

BipolarLawyerCook said...

My home with my husband is the only place without eggshells-- the Outside World is full of them. I am still working on trying to care less if a few get broken, so long as I'm being good to myself.

Thanks for your comment over at my blog, please come on back whenever!