Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Ones With Power To Hurt You

The people we've been closest to in our lives know just what to say to devastate us. It doesn't matter if logic even reveals what they've twisted, or omitted from the relay of examples, that distorts reality - sometimes, when you're going through a lot of stuff you're too emotionally raw to distance yourself.

The truth is, much of what we do in life involves risk. I remember as a child a profound sense of disappointment with people. I felt alienated at home (which I've explained before and don't need to rehash) and I never really seemed to find my group that I fit in with. Friends came, and friends went. People were fickle. I understood that as a child. Recess would be better spent reading, because books didn't let you down.

I don't really think of myself as a happy child.

I guess it's a stronger person than me that gets to the point where they don't care about the approval of their closest family and friends. Do you have any idea how many people have told me I'm crazy, trying to write a novel and get published? Actually, if you're an author, odds are you can relate.

It stings, because that's your dream. I know the parenting instinct is to shelter your child from pain, to not want them to have to experience disappointment... But what if you end up being the person who destroys their dream instead, so they just associate you with your lack of belief in them? We're not always rational or able to distance ourselves from hurt enough to look at things objectively.

You have to be careful how you dispense criticisms, or concerns, to those you care about. Whether it's going to college, taking a job, moving in with someone special or getting married, it all involves a certain amount of risk. Unless you're going to work for the family business where you have a cushy, secure job, there are no guarantees in anything.

What I think we all want is the support that tells us that when we climb out on the limb, if it breaks, they're going to pick us up and dust us off... Instead of pointing a finger and saying I told you so.

I feel like there are a lot of people in my life right now just waiting to say I told you so.

What it tells me is that if I end up face down in the dirt this time, I'll be picking up the pieces on my own. This isn't about my parents, but I'm thinking of someone else - someone I've never met but have a connection to - who can probably appreciate exactly what I'm saying. The judgment and disapproval of a parent who doesn't support your dreams for the future can be a devastating thing, and it can make you build a wall around yourself and shut that person out.

We all want our friends and family to be happy for us, don't we? I'm tired of the spiel about whether or not relationships will last. There's no guarantee. Some people stay married for thirty years or more, every day miserable, admitting readily they don't love their spouse. Is that noble? Is that what we should strive for? That all that matters is the absolute proof that something will last forever?

I'm sorry - life doesn't provide those guarantees. Funny how, after eight years of marriage, you can hear people say I always knew it wouldn't last. You know, if it had lasted two months, heck, even just two years, that might be a fair shot. When it comes from people who themselves haven't been married eight years yet, well... watch yourselves.

We all want to protect those we care about from being hurt, and that's a noble thing, but the best thing you can do for a person is to be there without judgment, to let them know you'll help them pick up the pieces if they take a fall.

Give Up


Anonymous said...

My father told me thirty years ago that I had to make a choice: Either be a happy, family man, or a writer, that the two were incompatible. It took me many years of being angry before I understood he was talking about a decision HE made, not my life.

Sandra Ruttan said...

At least you got to that place! That's a good thing.

Unknown said...

Very good writing and keen observation. Thanks for a contribution that makes a blog worth reading.
I've had the unbending support of parents and chose my own path of conservative marriage. Now, I'm heading out on the road to writing more seriously.

Sandra Ruttan said...

Kip, I look forward to following your journey. Thanks for taking the time to comment here, and for dropping by. I must admit, I'm not crazy about fishing either (and get sea sick).

Anonymous said...

One thing that pisses me off is that people have such stupid ideas about marriage and relationships. I've been married for 11 years and I don't take it for granted. You never know what life will throw at you, where you're going and what you're going to be like when you get there.

Everyone wants to romanticise love and being married, and not understand the reality of it. Shit happens, if you manage to stick together, fabulous, but nothing in life is guaranteed and you're just setting yourself up for a fall if you think that.

My favourite quote is: "Love beings with a smile, grows with a kiss and ends in a tear." Really puts it in perspective doesn't it? All relationships will end, it's just the how and when that's up in the air.