I had a moment to ponder a few things the other day – quite a few moments actually, because we were involved in a four-hour drive (eight hours round trip) to deliver some bedroom furniture to someone who was genuinely in need.
My pondering wandered to “why?” as in, why do I do these sorts of things? Why do I drive eight hours to deliver a bedroom suite?
Was the financial reward worth it? Well, there was no payment, so that wasn’t it.
Were we on the way past, so we figured we’d kill two birds with one stone and all of that?
Nope. No visiting, no plans to go elsewhere, so not that either.
The only thing that kept coming up was “because I can” and, really, there’s not any more to it than that.
It’s a thing I do from time to time. Usually when a need arises, but sometimes not.
Oh, oh … wait … before I carry on, I probably need to include a disclaimer; what follows is not because I want people to say lovely things about me or shit like that. Really, what’s to follow, is a need I have in this moment to close out a couple of things that occurred this year (that sounded rather wanky, didn’t it?).
Also, there’re a couple of questions to come, because I really don’t know what the ettiquette is. I’m not really after advice, or to be told what “most people do” because the way to get me to not do something is to tell me what “most people do”.
I think I’ve disclaimered enough.
So … as we partook in a literal day-long drive, and I came to the conclusion that I do the things because I just do the things, I also pondered about other times I have done the same things over the last couple of years.
Stuff like, I dunno … just stuff that’s normal for me …
- driving a friend to the airport on a number of occasions at 4am so they could visit a terminally ill sibling
- taking calls at 6am about friends calling CAT teams for themselves and others
- multiple conversations, over the phone or messenger, with friends going through really, really, shitty horrible breakups/separations (often taken at times like 7am on Mother’s Day, during leaving for school time, dinner time …)
- taking various kids home with me, because parents are seriously ill, injured, unable to because Life Stuff happens
- displacing my kids to accomodate a friend and her kids while she convalesced
- agreeing to be the emergency contact for a friend; by which I mean I was on her “call the police NOW” list, because it meant she was in danger
You know, must stuff, that is kind of like holding doors open for people, or saying please and thank you and stuff like that.
Because I can. For no other reason than that.
So it was a bit … hurtful? … when I have it fed back to me that I am “not a genuine friend”. Not some random saying it, not someone who thinks they know me through my blog or several small, insignificant interactions, but by someone who had received a considerably sizeable Because I Can from me.
It kinda sucked.
You know. A lot. Like tears for a whole day and yelling at my husband kind of shit hurtful.
I’m not even really sure what I’ve done to be perceived as “not genuine” but I also know that people go through shit and things change for them, or they perceive something in a certain way and there’s no changing their mind, or they get into little gossip groups and their perspective is encouraged and firmed up because people don’t like playing devil’s advovate and providing a different perspective.
I don’t mind doing it, but when I do, it doesn’t always go to plan, and people like being right in their perception of things and vehemently reject any and all other possibilities. Which is cool. That’s just people.
Who Am I?
Without knowing what I did, specifically, for this to go down, I do know a few things that have contributed to this discontent/discomfit/weirdness in others. Stuff that, I guess, made them confused or … something. I don’t know, I’m not them and don’t actually know what’s going through their heads, so anything I say is merely speculation and I could be totally and utterly wrong.
What I do know is that I was all “Life is wonderful and I love my life and my life is perfect” and then, or so I have been told, in a safe place I would vent and it was confusing and I was all happy /perfect life, then sad/life is shit or something.
I get that. Or, rather, I get how that comes across.
I have written on this before, you know, about sunrises and shit, and how they are literally just a photo of a sunrise. How my life may or may not be portrayed in these images is beyond me, and how some can decide my life is perfect as a result of these is beyond me. But again … people. Again, I get it and how it could go down.
I’m also aware I am extemely intense, and very, very emotional. My passion for things can be incredibly confronting and overwhelming, and a lot of people don’t know how to deal with it (fuck – there are days even I can’t deal with my own emotions and passion, so intense are they).
I understand they can be confusing, and well out of proportion for what I may be doing or experiencing.
I understand that some people will see my photos and updates of sunrises and flowers as my life being wonderful, because that’s just what some people need to see to get through their own days.
I get that some people will see some of my updates, particularly the more facetious ones, as my “complaining”. Whether this is because they are pathological complainers themselves, or don’t understand sarcasm, or both, or just can’t see how what I’m posting may not be a stress for me, and that I find it humorous (and want to share the love with others) I don’t know.
I can only speculate along the broad spectrum of interpretations others may have, but unless they tell me specifically, it is just that – speculation.
So What Do I Do?
Some mornings, I just post shit on Instagram or Facebook. Just whatever, always with the intent of it having a positive affect on others (to smile/laugh, to feel adequate, to feel less alone etc etc blah blah blah) (because I can).
Other days, this “not a genuine friend” comes back to haunt me and I think and overthink what I could write.
I don’t want to write whiney, complainy things, even though that may make others feel better, relateable, whatever.
I don’t like how I feel when I write stuff like that, and I don’t want to add to any of the common whiney things about kids and hubands and work.
Also, although I have ‘bad’ days with my kids, husband, work, etc, for the most part, I have few complaints, and I actually enjoy these things. More often than not, I find the ridiculous kid stuff, or the “wrong thing” said or done by my husband rather funny.
I find the frustrating moments in my job relatively on par to an adrenaline rush I also get when skydiving, or going for a long hike. If I don’t have a rush every couple of months, I find life rather boring. So, yes, they’re frustrating and often futile moments, but they are also invigorating and, well, we all know I’m a bit unusual and I rather enjoy these moments.
But if I do write positive things, it pisses people off, and it breeds resentment in those around me.
So what’s the rule … what is it that I’m supposed to say, because when I’m just me, it makes people sad, angry, and resentful.
It causes people to be hurt, and to hurt me in return.
The latter I can deal with (and have, just in case you want to offer me some advice about diching toxic people, or not letting it get to me, or some other blah), but I really, really struggle with doing anything that hurts or upsets others, even if it is not my intention, even if my aim is to cause a smile or a sense of relief. Especially when I don’t know that it is hurtful.
But how do I not do what is “just me”?
Or rather, why can’t I just be me, and do the things I do, without it turning into something it’s not?
Why is it we insist on forming a concrete view on someone’s life, based on a couple of photos and a few sentences on a social media platform?