Abnormal

feminity1I have been accused of being abnormal, of not being feminine in my responses, of not being sufficiently emotional. This is not the first time someone has said this to me, likely it will not be the last. My only answer to these accusations is I keep my emotions under control and am not given to public displays, even if you are an audience of one. If you are acting out to gain a response from me you will be sorely disappointed and I will not apologize for this.

I don’t believe I am abnormal, only that I have examined many human emotions closely and found they don’t suit me; I have discarded them. I am at peace with myself, with my imperfections. This does not mean I am happy to traipse alone through the last part of my life journey. It simply means I am unlikely to make significant adjustments to my core being to accommodate the expectations of others regarding who I ‘should’ be as a woman.

notnormal

For most of my life I took care of everyone around me, everyone came before me their needs before mine. This is part of my nature and can be draining. My tendency was to hold everything very close until I had enough, then I would blow up with sometimes catastrophic outcomes. Because I didn’t ask for what I needed, didn’t tell what was wrong, didn’t talk to partners, friends, parents or anyone in my orbit if there was a problem no one knew until it was too late to prevent that blow up. While those blow ups often hurt others, they all to often hurt me far more.

I don’t do this anymore. I am still quiet. I still listen more than I talk. I still have a tendency to take care of the people I love more than ask for care when I need it. This is still my core nature. What I don’t do is allow it to go without speaking up if I believe a relationship is not reciprocal. What I don’t do is not care for myself. The odd thing though, I am accused of not being sufficiently womanly e.g. emotional in my response to things.

It is true, I frequently withdraw.

It is true, I do not weep and gnash my teeth.

It is true, I do not fling myself to the floor and beg for attention.

It is true, I do not scream, yell, call names or other such nonsensical behaviors one sometimes sees on TV these days. If this is the expectation there will always be disappointment, always.

The emotional blackmail I do not respond to and have not responded to for years? The attempts to force me to react, I think they are childish and demonstrate a lack of confidence in the other person, these sometimes seem to be tests in whether I care or not. If I fail these tests, we are likely not good partner material. Some of the ‘tests’ I have failed recently, the emotions I have failed to adequately demonstrate:

Jealousy, it simply isn’t part of my DNA. It once was, I admit I use to feel horrifyingly jealous and it would tear me apart inside. Now though I no longer respond or react. I don’t know when I stopped feeling the monster of jealousy rise in my heart, I think it was jealous-700x450when I realized I could not make someone love me, could not force someone to stay and could not change another person’s heart no matter what I felt. There was no point to this emotion, it hurt no one but me. I didn’t do anything to change myself, it was simply I stopped feeling jealous. I still felt angry at a betrayal, at a lie but I no longer felt jealous.

Envy was another of those strange emotions that simply disappeared, it seemed in a day though I am sure it didn’t just poof away. I remember being younger and envying other women their perfect bodies, their clothes, their husbands, their jobs and the list goes on. I remember seeing others and wanting what they had, even just wanting to be them. I would sit sometimes and simply daydream of not being me, being anyone but me. My envy would envelope me in a fog, then suddenly it was gone. Suddenly I cannot imagine being anyone but me, despite everything I cannot dream of any life but my own. There are days I see a beautiful woman in the store and admire her, but my admiration is not envy.

Fury, I held on to my fury for days, sometimes weeks or longer. That fire would burn me flameWomanand others in a destructive path. While it might have been justified it was not healthy in its expression and it never ended well. Now, I know how to express anger when it occurs rather than let it burn me out. Now I know how to speak up and speak out. Now I know that to hang on to anger, allow it to become fury, give it free rein and rent in my soul is one of the most self-destructive things I can do.

Hate, I let this one go a very long time ago but I have to frequently check up and check in. I have said for a couple of decades you have to feed hate to keep it alive and I believe it. There are people and things I don’t like, I don’t allow in my life; but even those who have done me great and terrible harm, I do not hate. Some of them I had to teach myself not to hate. Some of them I had to let go of, I had to find them in my head and kick them out. Some of them I had to write about, here and elsewhere until they were purged. Some of them I had to learn to understand so I could justify not hating them. Slowly though I let go of hate, slowly I learned peace through letting my monsters go.

I still hate green peas.

So some men find me uncomfortable. They do not understand my ‘lack’ of emotional response. They find me to pragmatic, to logical in my responses to some of their actions and behaviors. They find my quiet disarming. Some men find my ‘lack’ of normal female emotions uncomfortable.

Relationships and dating at this age is difficult if you don’t follow the rules. Unfortunately, apparently I don’t follow the rules.

I am an introvert. I am perfectly capable of taking care of all my needs. I do not need anyone though I want someone in my life who will partner me evenly and is capable of a balanced relationship.

I am quiet. I know myself. I have clear expectations. I do not play games and it is unlikely I will respond the way you expect if you attempt to play games with me. These statements about my abnormality just got me thinking, I am perhaps more of an anomaly than I thought and should maybe be prepared for what I once considered an intolerable future. It is not that I don’t have hope, but these statements of my abnormality certainly leave me wondering.

womanonpath

Summer Sun

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen all you have isn’t enough, then what?

When everything you are isn’t good enough, then what will be good enough?

When your entire history is poured on the ground and the only thing you can make is mud pies, should you plan to forever go hungry?

Someone once said to me, “You won’t live to thirty”. Yet here I am I lived past fifty.

Someone else once said to me, “I will kill you”. Yet, here I am alive. They didn’t succeed in killing me though they damned near broke my spirit.

Another person said to me, “You will never amount to anything, you are stupid”. I believed them for years and let their judgment dictate my direction and choices.

I approach my next birthday, sooner than I like to think and I consider the consequences of my choices. Pardon me while I wallow in a fair bit of self-pity, maybe not self-pity so much as ‘well shit, what next’. I stare down this slope of the unknown and consider options:

–          What is next for this last third of my life?

–          Why am I asking who I am at this late date?

–          Should I even care about definition or instead just get to living as best I can?

If you could, would you say despite not being enough, not being good enough, despite dust turning only to mud, I am still grateful. My heart is full of gratitude I have lived, I am alive and my eyes have beheld great beauty, my soul 013has burst with laughter and I have trod paths both new and ancient searching for nothing more than passages to joy. I have risked my heart more than once, because well because I am a romantic and despite I have had the ever-loving shit stomped out of me more than once I still believe in love. Despite a tough as nails exterior, despite scars, not just on the inside but some prominent ones on the outside, I am still somewhat mushy and sometimes all too forgiving of the failure of others to take care of the gifts I freely give.

I often accept hurtful words and judgments of ‘less than’ and ‘not enough’ as the truth. I often absorb these through my skin and into my heart. I allow these judgments, harshly rendered to send me into myself searching for different truths or forgiveness. I reach outward sometimes-begging forgiveness for harm unintended, other times for harm never done but easily identified as mine.

Hard to believe anything but early judgments even after all this time of fighting for new definitions. Yet still I will live my life with a grateful heart for all the gifts of light, laughter, joy and pathways to victorious survival against great odds. We might not always be warrior queens, perhaps it is enough sometimes we simply find a sunny spot and be thankful for the color yellow and the warmth at noon.

Am I crazy? Maybe just a little. Am I still a romantic, seeing the world through rose colored glasses? Yes, I suppose I am. The truth? I suppose the truth is, still after all this time I simply want to be loved just as I am, flawed, scarred by a life I didn’t ask to live but lived in the best way I could.

That is all, just loved; perhaps after all that was and is too much.

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