Back in January when I started blogging I made a conscious decision to become a more positive person. Its not that I can’t get annoyed occasionally – we all do. And, there are certain things as y’all know by now that will set me off- but by and large, I am succeeding at being a Pollyanna. I’m trying very very hard to let things that I have no control over just go. Toxicity has no place in my life. At the tender age of 50, I am finally on my way to completely realizing (with only maybe 4+ decades left to me – if I’m lucky) I have to prioritize who and what I allow to influence me. “Allow” being the key word here. I need to make the most of my time and I can’t be getting dragged down with someone else’s bad attitude. As Sweet Brown would say – “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for That!” I’m grateful I am at the point in life that I’m able to recognize this. I can prune the hedges, trim the fat, and get on with enjoying things. Took me long enough, right?
Its been an ongoing process. I’ve backslid a few times, to be sure. I’ve let people and situations get to me. Let me tell you a story: I was the type of person that used to be completely devastated if I wasn’t liked. I remember being about 3 months pregnant with my youngest, coming home from work one evening to what the Viking and I referred to as the “Kamikaze” type answering machine message from his biological mother. She was (and probably still is) an expert at leaving these bombshells on the machine when she knew we would not be home. Of course, she could then spew whatever garbage she wanted to and (lucky her!) did not have to listen to or acknowledge any of our possible responses. The ultimate in passive-aggressiveness I guess. I just call it guerilla sniper tactics and certainly less-than-fair play…. I don’t remember how much of the message I actually heard, but the gist of it was that everything that was wrong with her relationships with her family was my fault. I’m totally sure if she thought she could’ve gotten away with it, -she’d've blamed me for the crucifixion as well. Funny thing was, the event that set her off I really had nothing to do with; other than just saying hello to my brother in law on the phone and handing it to my husband so he could talk to him. Needless to say, since I was quite hormonally challenged at the time I got QUITE hysterical.
Dad to the Rescue – Thank Heaven! He just happened to be stopping by to see what I was making for dinner – and wrangle an invite to said feast in the process of course (Gosh Dad, I wish you were still here so you COULD come over for dinner!) Dad literally grabbed me by both arms and yelled in my face to get me to focus. I was a blubbering , hyperventilating idiot – sobbing “But why doesn’t she like me? I don’t know what I did to make her hate me…. “and so forth. “Donna Jean ” he said – Didja ever notice that the serious conversations with your parents always start out with them using all your names? “Donna Jean -you need to realize and accept that this woman is NEVER going to accept you, never even going to like you, so just move on. Its not your fault, its her problem. Not everyone you meet is going to think you are as special as you really are, and that’s OK. You do not need her in your life, she doesn’t matter. You haven’t got time to deal with that nonsense”. (OK, nonsense wasn’t the word he used, but I’m keepin it G rated) Gradually I was able to calm down. Dad then decided that I needed to rest and he proceeded to cook dinner for me.
My point, (yes I’m finally arriving at it) is that was the moment I started letting stuff go. I felt dumb for allowing someone to upset me that much. I put that gun in her hand though, didn’t I? But I also felt better – knowing that I really had done nothing wrong. It was totally her loss if she wanted to be mad, because being mad, cranky, nasty, malicious, cruel, venal, bitter etc IS a choice. My mother in law contacted us again a few years later – in late 2002 I think (it was after 9/11 anyway – which she used as the excuse for the contact- you know – that whole “life’s too short, I want to know my grandkids” stuff) Do I have to tell you how things went that time? No, I guess not. Broken promises to my children – and way too much drama when she was called on it. Done. We haven’t seen or spoken to the woman in 10 years. Her grandchildren want nothing to do with her. (None of them – there’s 8 total and 2 great grandkids) Its unfortunate she chose to be the way she is. So we wished her well, and still do – from a great distance. “Don’t bring me down – Bruce”, yanno? We don’t have the time or the energy to waste on the negative. Who wants to be around somebody who only likes you if you do what they want and see things only the way they do? Someone you have to be very very careful what you say and how you say it or they’ll flip out? Someone who won’t like you if you associate with someone they don’t like? That’s so elementary school, and so not me….
Little by little, with baby steps I’ve continued letting go. Its been a long back and forth process because I am innately a pessimist. I still remind myself to see the bright side of things and some days that’s a real effort – but more times than not I can do it! I’m actually thrilled I could write about the stuff with my monster-in-law and not get upset while doing it. Thats a huge stride forward for me!!! I’ve been successful with liking myself enough now to know I don’t need to be liked by everyone else. I also don’t have to put up with “nonsense” just so the peace is kept. I won’t keep my mouth shut just because you’ll be happier if I don’t say anything. The point is that if I stifle myself, I’m unhappy. You won’t like me when I’m unhappy, hell I don’t like me when I’m unhappy – so I strive to say what I need to – as courteously as I can, of course. If Momma E. ain’t happy – ain’t nobody happy, right? Right! Life is too short to be a sourpuss and a “gloomy gus”. I have so many things to be thankful for – a home, family, friends, a steady job, 2 wonderful children and so it goes. I haven’t got time to be negative – and that’s a good thing! (and so is the fact I don’t have to deal with the “haz-mat” mother in law anymore – just puttin that out there- yanno – in case you forgot where this started -lol) Have a great day everyone! Peace, out.