When You Know Yourself

I have always known one thing about me.

Well, maybe I didn’t know it for sure when I was younger but you do finally grasp parts of yourself with each advancing year.

I recently had a conversation with my mom. She had a dear friend of hers write her a letter telling my mom how her words hurt her and she couldn’t quite come to terms with what was happening to their friendship. The friend also went on to tell my mom that there were others in their community who felt the same way about my mom and how she had hurt them too.

My mom was beside herself. She didn’t know exactly what she had said or how it had hurt these people. (“Why is everyone so sensitive?”)

On a regular basis for the past twenty+ years my mom and this friend have gathered – with other couples – for a daily afternoon of espresso and conversation. The first thing my mom asked me when she told me about this friendship problem was, “should I go to coffee?”

My immediate response was, “hell no.”

Because that’s what I would do. That’s how I operate.

My mom does not operate that way.

Not good, not bad – just different.

She has always been a “If you don’t like me I am going to keep smiling and head towards you full throttle until you like me or I am convinced that you must have been wrong in your impression of me.” She has done that with siblings, family, and friends. She is of the mindset, “kill them with kindness.” And she stays right there, in your face, like it or not.

I do not think the same way.

If my friend had hurt me and I needed to lick my wounds I would have never gone to coffee and put on a happy face or acted like nothing was amiss or even sit there and pout – by golly, I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.

No.

No, no, no.

I am a “I am going to put distance between us” kind of person.

If I am hurt then I need to not see you nor talk to you nor put on any happy face and fake my way through an encounter. More than likely you won’t hear from me for weeks, maybe longer.

If you don’t like me, well, I’m not going to kill myself trying to convince you otherwise.

In the end, my mom did end up going to coffee and said things were “fine” but she did remark that she was guarded and at times uncomfortable. I told her she would have been more comfortable skipping the coffee altogether. But, for my mom she wanted to get on with things – move past this – and go back to normal where the world never changes and everyone stays the same.

I call this her “LALALALALA” world and at times I like to visit the island of Bury My Head and Pretend and let’s face it, sometimes one is called upon to “make nice” and “put a smile on your face” but as a rule, I know myself well enough – if I’m hurt, I am not going to cozy up to you for a good long while.

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