I like to think that I’ve finally gotten too old to give a damn. Certainly, I mostly act as if that’s true. When Mom and I are out and about misbehaving and I happen to look up and catch someone staring, I usually smile at them and go right back to our conversation. Who gives a rat’s ass what they think about us? At least no one can say we aren’t having a good time. Often, the same thing happens when I’m out with one or both of the kids; we laugh too loud, move too fast, and talk a little too smart and trashy for folks around here. I smile and move on down the aisle of the Wal-Mart or the Aldi, grinning and grateful that somehow I managed to marry into a family as comfortably strange as my own.
But as immune as I like to imagine I am, there are still fluke moments of susceptibility. And sometimes—this morning, for example—I can get a little stung by stupid shit that is years in the past and has long since ceased to matter. What do I care what people I’ve left behind say about me, even when they’re saying it to a bunch of people who sort of “know” me online? Surely the people who actually count themselves among my friends are aware when they’re being fed a line. But what if they aren’t? I mean, how is anyone really supposed to know us the way we know ourselves? When we say we’re nice and decent, when we say “if nothing else, I’ve always been honest about who I am and how I feel,” why would anyone believe us? Why would we believe them?
I mean, I’m okay with folks walking around with the belief that I’m a little inappropriate for Southern Illinois, that I should really not let the 13-year-old in my company sing along to rap music while he’s grocery shopping with me, or that I shouldn’t laugh so loud (or at all) in a decent restaurant. Screw ’em. Who gives a damn? But it bothers me when people I know (and don’t know) are given the idea that I am not a nice person. That I am, in fact, the very opposite of that — a person who victimizes others and leaves them behind psychologically broken and no longer able to trust or move forward with their lives.
For the record, I have not been with many people in my 43 years. And yet mostly, I’d have to say that I think I’m a pretty good little learner when it comes to relationships and people in general. I mean, a few of them have been so so close to what I wanted and needed…but a few have swung very VERY far afield of that and landed smack in the middle of Crazytown. One of them, in particular.
Nutbag lying sack of psycho sh…
No. No, that’s all I’m saying and I ain’t sayin’ no more. I promised myself I wouldn’t give y’all any identifying characteristics for this epic mess of a person. And anyway, you don’t need to know all the details to get the point. And the point is this: why is it that so much of the time I feel like I’m the only one looking in the mirror at the tragic end of things and trying to make myself better? Why isn’t that what everyone does? I seriously don’t get it. Someone draw me a diagram and explain this shit. After several failed relationships and the passage of way too many years, how can an otherwise smart person still be blaming everyone on the planet except themselves for the problems they have always had? Isn’t the purpose of enduring this horrific human experience to try to do (and be) better? I know it probably isn’t for most people, but for me (and also for the people I love the most, I think) it always has been. We don’t want to keep making the same mistakes. We don’t want to continuously pick the wrong people with whom to surround ourselves. We make ourselves better and hope that the bad people simply lose interest in us. Mostly I think they do.
But sometimes, for whatever reason, they apparently don’t. Yuuuuuck. I was in a good mood earlier. See, this is what social media does to nice people, you guys. If I hadn’t talked step-daughter into helping me figure out The Twitter yesterday, none of this crap would’ve been on my plate. I could’ve been going about my business, blog surfing and humming a happy tune with joyous thoughts of my otherwise perfect life dancing around in my head. Instead, I’m thinking about mean people with psychological problems who need to go through the rest of their lives attached to lie detectors for the safety and well-being of the people around them. It’d be great if the damn thing would shock ’em every once in a while, too. Just for good measure.
Aaaaand…now I feel a little better. =)