October 16th, 2008
Guest poster, Da Goddess, was my first blog friend WAY BACK in 2002. I was just six months into the blog that won’t be named and I reached out to her for support and advice. She adopted me right away, unselfishly sharing links, help, companionship, anything I needed to make me feel more welcome. The Blogosphere’s changed a bit since then, but I’m still friends with Da G, and I’m so honored to call her my pal. So below is her first time posting on San Diego Momma, and I’m beyond gobsmacked. Also, I talked her into letting me post one of her awesome photos.
Now without further SDM babble, here’s Da Goddess:
“Have you lost weight? You look really good. What? No, I’m not kidding. You look great! I’ve never seen you look better.”
“Is that a new haircut or color or something? Cuz I’m tellin’ you now that you look awesome. Seriously.”
Ah, yes, the things people say. Do they mean it? Do they? Or are they saying it just because they’re kissing your butt? They know they hurt you last time you saw each other, talked on the phone, or emailed. Whatever. You didn’t bother to respond to them because, frankly, you didn’t know what the hell to say that could be taken in a “positive” manner. After all, it was your “negativity” that was discussed at length before. You tried to explain why you were feeling so low, why negative or self-deprecating comments escaped your mouth when you weren’t even aware. But your explanation was batted away like a kitten’s ball of yarn. So you didn’t reply to the email that was full of “just because you have it hard doesn’t mean the rest of us haven’t experienced pain, too.” That wasn’t your point at all. You were simply explaining yourself, your situation, and you got beat down again.
The first time it happened was in a restaurant of all places. You didn’t mean to break down and cry. You didn’t mean to spill your emotional guts to the group, but you did and you sat there while the majority told you what you should do (not that you asked) and how you should change your outlook. Yes, because it’s all so damn easy and because they said so. Because only the perpetually cheery and smiley can come out to play with them, I guess.
They said you were letting negativity rule. That you were sometimes more negative than they liked. You asked for specifics and they could give you none. They just babbled on about what was wrong with you and how you should just buck up and get on with life. They were only saying these things because they cared. If they had really cared, wouldn’t they have mentioned something before? Would they have really starting throwing more hurt your way, when you were at the lowest they’d ever seen you?
Later, another friend who’d been there and had been in a similar mood said she was surprised I was so calm during the onslaught. I was, too. The thing is, I did recognize some truth in what they were saying, I just didn’t think it was fair that they chose that moment to show their brand of love in that way. As well, my friend said she understood what I was going through (her battles, though different, caused the same sort of darkness in her life) and she told me to remember that I’m the only one who has to live this life and I should proceed on the path that felt most “right”. And I did. I have.
I still haven’t really gotten over the “help” I received. What I have done, though, is withhold from these people. I don’t like doing it, but if I’m going to be subjected to their advice, their scrutiny, I’m only going to show them what I want them to examine with a finetooth comb.
Faint praise. Sincere or cover up? I heard it two ways and smiled my way through the breakfast. Either someone was trying to make amends or I really have lost weight/look better. Whatever. In the end, I’m walking off on my own merry way, whether they like it or not.