Friday, October 5, 2012

what i wish she would have let me say to her

Backstory: the latter part of July, I received a msg from a colleague regarding an executive position opening at a local non-profit.  While I am currently at home, it has always been part of the plan for me to return to work when Christopher began school.  We're not quite there yet, but seeing as this opportunity found me {I was not looking} and our finances are still pretty dire thanks to Pneumo-Geddon 2009 and the crapped economy, Seth and I had some very frank conversation about whether I should even pursue it, and decided together that indeed, I should at least test the waters.  I interviewed {x3}, took a personality test, and landed in the top 3 candidates, but alas, it was not meant to be.  And I was actually ok with it.  What follows is a conversation I wanted to have with a friend, after we'd had an exchange that crushed me up quite a bit.

Motherhood should be a blessing, not the guilt-inciting, martyr-making chore that the level of sacrifice you keep wanting me to make has turned it into.  I don't want motherhood to be the cross I have to pick up daily, I want it to be something that I enjoy, treasure and am thus able to offer my best to my kids.  The financial trauma my family has faced in the past 3 years has taken away from that, and I'm seeking to restore the balance of having enough {and my enough is not a materialistic enough fwiw}and being more present with my kids.  I am fully aware that the trade off of time away from my kids seems counter-intuitive from this, but trust me, my eyes are wide open looking into this.  To suggest otherwise was insulting to me, as I thought you knew me to be the thoughtful, analytical person I am.

I'd like to remind you, as I pointed out in subsequent communications, that I know your thoughts on the Mommy Wars quite well; as a result, I did not seek your advice or blessing regarding my potential return to work.

I also did not seek your encouragement after my child let it slip that we needed prayers because mom didn't get the job she was seeking.  But I got it.  Ninety minutes of it.

Ninety minutes of your encouragement resulted in me bawling on the other end of the phone because I felt judged and extremely misunderstood, which I felt like I told you in no uncertain terms, and yet when I e-mailed you days later to say that it bothered me and could we please talk, you asked why?

The reason why is this: I never asked your opinion on the matter, but you chose to give it anyway and worse yet, under the guise of encouragement.  My friend Mir, on a completely different, more serious matter, put into words exactly what I was feeling as you did this:
But to... return long enough to say I HAVE JUDGED AND FOUND YOU WANTING doesn't so much poke at my baggage as it unzips it and unpacks it by simply dumping it all over the floor. And although it’s my baggage making the mess, I still have trouble understanding how anyone would feel okay about doing that to someone. I can only conclude that they lack understanding of how badly it hurts, because I just cannot grok people I loved doing that on purpose. Still. Knowing it’s unintentional, knowing people don’t mean to let you down or wound you on purpose… that helps, I guess, but it doesn’t stop it from sucking, particularly when everything aches.
That conversation threw the contents of my baggage, and you know I have a lot, broken and inadequate as I am, all over the place and now I'm left to track it down and get it out of inappropriate places on my own.  Your encouragement did not help me carry my burdens, it actually created more.

You might say you didn't intend to judge me, and I'd believe that, but the reason why I wanted to to touch base with you was to say, "Hey, I'm sure you didn't mean to come across this way, but certain parts of your conversation came across really harshly to me and I wanted you to be aware of it so we can avoid future instances of the same thing."  You know, because I really am trying to put into practice the things I learned at a class on Peacemaking we both attended awhile back at church.    And because I firmly believe in  no, crave, reciprocity and mutual consideration of one's feelings in relationships.  Then what you chose to do with that would be on you, instead of on me. avoided me.  And tried to get more out of me via text, which I was not interested in doing.  That's the way things get misinterpreted further.  But text you did.  Copiously.  When I told you I resented the conversation because I had to "go there" with you, you told me I always had the choice of whether to engage or not, which was a great maneuver to shift blame by the way.  Let me iterate again, I only went there when you started offering your opinion, because I felt like you don't understand where I'm at, and really, I know you don't.  I do care what you think of me because I respect you, so while I know I won't get your approval or blessing, it would be wonderful to not have your disapproval, particularly veiled in encouragement.

You told me you really didn't want to rehash the conversation because you didn't feel there was anything useful that would come of it.  Which is fine that you felt that way, we're all entitled to our opinions, but for me, that felt like yet another dagger, because it said to me, "I don't care to address your feelings because I know better about how to deal with this."  Which brings us to the crux of the matter: I feel like you were initiating conversation because you felt you know better than me, and maybe you do, but was there any sin from which you needed to "restore me gently?"  No.  Well then, just as you asked me to beg off this discussion if I couldn't name your sin, I'm asking you to leave well enough alone, please.  Our God is way bigger than the SAHM/WOHM debate and he will work in our lives regardless of where we spend our 9-5s.

I forgive you.  It doesn't erase the hurt, particularly that hurt of refusing to acknowledge my feelings.  And as Rick Warren says, forgiveness of the past does not necessarily mean trust in the future.  If things feel superficial between us, that's because it will be since I no longer trust you to be considerate of my feelings.

And that's too bad, because I kind of really needed a close, older woman in my life.

{closing chapter now}


No comments:

Post a Comment