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|I live with enough guilt in my life. It overwhelms me sometimes. I'd like to turn back the clock and see whether I could become a different person, given the right knowledge and motivation. But here I am, and I can only move forward. What I will NOT do: allow this guilt to crush me.
I am an introvert. I have always BEEN an introvert. It took me many years to understand that the things I struggled with were not character flaws, but simply my character. This made it difficult for me as a child, because despite being an introvert, not having a strong sense of how to connect with others, not having the faintest notion of how to successfully insert myself into a group conversation, I DESPERATELY wanted to be liked. I wanted friends. Being an introvert is NOT the same as not wanting to have friends.
I am drained . . . horribly drained . . . by too much interaction. By too much noise, or chaos. Which came first? The sensory issues or the introversion? Are they related or are they not related? I do not know, but I DO know that they've both become amplified over time. Things that I used to be able to do are no longer comfortable for me. They give me anxiety. They drain me. They overwhelm me. Hence . . . my guilt.
What do I feel guilty for? For having a short temper when it comes to noise or chaos around me. This means my kids get the brunt of my frustration, most of the time. Do I wish I could be a different parent? Ohhhh yes. This was NOT the person I envisioned myself being, when I dreamed of having kids. For my memory, or lack thereof. Not necessarily introvert related, but hugely impactful in my life. I don't MEAN to forget that your dog went in for surgery yesterday . . . but unless something triggers my memory, it won't occur to me to ask about it. Not because I don't care. But because my brain is churning through all of this other stuff . . . the sensory stuff, the chronic earworms, the lists of things for which I feel guilt in my life . . . and my recall is not great as a result. If I don't write it down, I'm likely to forget it. Thank goodness for my smartphone calendar. I'm STILL not going to remember to tell the people who ought to know things like the fact that Monkey doesn't have his phone right now.
Which brings me (tangentially) to today's guilt trip, brought to you by the letter M.
I hate talking on the phone. HATE it with a passion. If there is another way for me to communicate, I will. If I could have a smarphone without the actual phone part, I would. When the phone rings . . . it is an intrusion. Not in the sense that I don't want to hear from someone, but in the sense that I have lost control of the sensory input in my life. I am not able to take a break when I need to, if the person on the other end decides they're not finished. And . . . when I talk to my mother, she's NEVER finished. She'll say "I should go" (hooray!) and half an hour she'll be onto another story. As a result, I don't call. Yes, yes. I'm a bad daughter. Guilt guilt. I call on her birthday, and I get guilted. "I never get to talk to you . . . " Well you're freaking talking to me RIGHT NOW! How does that make me feel? Even LESS inclined to pick up the phone and subject myself to another sensory hellish guilt trip.
So last night . . . during his Oscar speech apparently J.K. Simmons made some charming comment about if you have a living parent, pick up the phone and call them - don't text or email. Call. So she found a meme and posted it on Facebook. Mmhmm. I should also point out at this point that I am an only child. We KNOW why she posted this. I HATE this passive/aggressive bullshit! Would I EVER do that to you in a public forum? No, I would NOT! Have I EVER said to you all of the venting things that I want to say, about how I feel like the patterns I learned growing up have affected who I am as an adult, and as a parent? Have I ever told you that YOU are the reason I feel like I don't interact with my kids as much as I ought to? Because YOU taught me that. Meh, excuses. I was pissed off by the therapist who brought it to my attention, but in a lot of ways, I know it's true . . . we DO learn patterns of behavior from our parents. And she learned parenting from a woman with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, so there you go. I fought against it. But there it is. It's in my brain now. Stop making me feel guilty for who I am as a person - who I am as a person is fundamentally an evolution of who I was taught to be, as a child.
So don't make me feel guilty for that. I have enough in my life to feel guilt about.