Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Explanation Of The Girl Who Cried Wolf

Apparently I have a history of doing this. I think it proves that I am rather melodramatic.

I remember one time when I was really little - probably 2nd grade or so - and I got so mad because I didn't get my way so I declared in a fit of bratitude (my word - tm that) to my parents, "I am running away. You can't stop me. Did you hear me? I am running away. I will leave this house. You won't see me again. I am running away. OK? Did you hear that? I am running away." They were like, "OK then. Do it already." So you see? I had no choice. I was running away.

So I stormed back to my bedroom and got out my little green butterfly suitcase (that was my grandma's - so thrift-shop-chic and one-of-a-kind). So I took it down from my closet, stalled a little in my room, then resumed to the dramatic display of Running Away As Planned By a 7-Year Old - which is storming rather noisily out of the house in a very visible huff and again reminding them, in case they missed it, "I am running away. Running. Away!" Yeah, and did you notice that I did not pack my suitcase either? That is right. Because, see, my parents were supposed to STOP me before I left the house. So there was no need for a change of clothes or the oreos. They were supposed to say, "Don't go, sweet child. We will let you have your way." But no - and I think I saw a little chuckle in my dad's face. But I dismissed it in my 7 year-old the-world-revolves-around-me fit.

So I set out with my empty suitcase and ran myself away all the way to....the back of the side of the house. See, there were no windows here, yet one could easily find me if one so desired. I thought about this. I thought my plan golden. Until I sat there. And I sat there. And I sat there. Thinking. "Daddy will come look for me. Not Mom. She can hold a grudge. But Daddy is a softie. He doesn't spank." (And, frankly, Daddy always let us have our way.) Alas nobody came for me. I began to think I should have packed the barbies or the matchbox cars. And definitely the oreos because I was getting hungry. But I waited a good long time anyway. Til right about dinnertime. And I couldn't take it anymore. I started to miss my room. Perhaps I learned I didn't need my way. Time made me think rationally (about whatever was so dire at the time). And so I walked back into the house with my head hung low. In defeat. Except my dad greeted me at the door and said, "You are back! We are glad! We have missed you!" Then I didn't feel like I lost my way anymore. I was hungry and I was glad to be IN the house and not around the corner. Years later I found out that my dad kept an eye on my whereabouts. He knew all along that I was camped out on the side of the house.

Actually I think my dad always got a chuckle out of my histrionics. Like the time I was waiting in the car for him for like 20 minutes and finally had enough of The Wait and was ready to scream and holler, "What about me?!" But he met me with laughter because he honestly forgot I was waiting for him and got to talking to his friend. He genuinely thought it funny that he forgot about me but moreso that I waited 20 minutes to remind him. Usually I don't have that kind of patience. His laughter always brought me down to the ground from high horse of melodrama. Then there was the time I was arguing with my mom in all my teenage rebellious rage and calmly told her that "...sometimes you have to take a walk on the wild side." My dad could not contain the laughter. I wasn't even going for laughter, perhaps Lou Reed was left over in my 8-track mind and the tune subconsciously became part of my argument. In any case, my point is, my dad had a way - in just his fun-loving and alway humorous outlook - of making me realize that the drama can - should - be left at the door. Find the humor. Except I keep doing the drama bit. Apparently. My mom always told me that my dad had a way of undersanding me.

All that to say that this isn't new - at the first sign of trouble or disagreement or unease, I tend to panic and assume the worst most of the time. And I bark, harp, or cry for about five minutes and then I get over it. And then I laugh like my dad used to do because, um, drama for all the wrong reasons. Pick your battle? I need to pick my Drama.

This is why I need my sister. We are pretty opposite. But we have always been close. Even when I was the tag-along. Except she never made me feel like a tag-along, come to think of it. Because she is the sweet one - finds the best in people. She is rational. She is positive. Pretty much the opposite of how I operate. When there is a debate to be had, I always cede to her because not only does she have the intellect but she has the tact and grace to appeal and get through to people. She knows how to communicate effectively, is what it is. While I think I have always tended to be more of a visual person. And that is how I express myself. Sister: even-keel. Me: Drama Queen. And it is no wonder that I always look for her opinion in any Drama. And she pretty much nailed it on the head:

"Just my 2 cents-at this point in the relationship don't be afraid to ask for what you want out of it. And if he can't deliver, then that should answer your doubts....The issue at hand is that you don't know what's going on in his head. You can ask for what you need in the relationship without appearing to be a nag."

Let me sum that up. Um, I need to talk TO him. And not to my 999 friends. (Who also offered valuable pearls of wisdom and advice which I appreciate and absorbed. Thank you all!) But see, I have to admit I have been brainwashed by relationship self-help books. Yes. There you have it. But let me explain. They were gifted to me. See, I have this friend who lived by these books religously. When we first met we were both in love with The Wrong Guy. We bonded instantly and then The Right Guy finally came along for her and now she is married to him and expecting their first child. She read these books and took the advice to heart and whether that worked or whether it was just the simple fact that this was in fact The Right Guy - he wasn't going anywhere no matter what. Although I am sure if she uttered anything remotely like the girl on the Bachelor last night - "I am ready to reproduce! My eggs are drying up! I am feeling very reproductive with you right now!" - No joke. She said exactly that. - Then I am sure he would have hit the road. However that is just common sense and if you have to read that to know that that is The Most Postively Undoubtedly Wrong Thing To Say, well then you have kind of made your own bed, so to speak. One that you won't be sharing with ANYBODY, rest assured. Punny!

Anyhow, so the books. She passed them down to me one day last year after my last break-up and right before she tied the knot in a very Passing-The-Torch-Share-The-Wisdom-Of-The-Male-Species kind of way. I was going to "love smart!" It sounds so healthy! And so I read them all and I took a chapter from one of the books this weekend. Which said pretty much this little nugget: Men are waffles. You are spaghetti. Everything is interconnected to you - boy-work-boy-eat-boy-eat-work-boy-boy. To Boy he compartmentalizes. Work has nothing to do with you. He can think about work. And not about you. And then you silly, harpy, Boy needs space. Always. Give it to him, you Clinging Vine. Or he will run, run away and never look back. See? He's a rubberband - you need to let him snap back on his own. Eventually his elastic will wear thin. Now go drink with your friends. And leave the Caveman alone.

I didn't turn to my sister who is successfully married. I stuck to the book advice and given my history of Overreacting what do we have but: Boa's First Histrionic Fit of 2006. Straight to video. My dad's not here to hold the cue card that says, "Laugh." So I will just tell you, "Laugh."

Now, after talking to him AFTER the fact, what I should have done - and I am not going to say what HE should have done because that IS one thing I learned in past relationships, that you can't TELL someone how to behave, you can only tell them how you FEEL about this or that or when he/she did/doesn't do that - what I SHOULD have done was called him and talked to him. Make him clarify what "I can't see you because I have to work all weekend" means. Iin a non-confrontational, un-harpy, charming way. To him, of course it meant, just that. But he doesn't realize that if he expands on that with "...because I will be NO FUN and in bad mood and I don't want to take it out on you, hurt your feelings, cause a fight, and frankly I just want to focus here and come back to you next week when I can give 100 per cent" - it would calm my pretty little head way the hell down.

With that, I would have been fine with it before, oh say, I jumped the gun and packed my green butterfly suitcase and took a walk right down to The Corner Of Insecurity And Drivebys. Because, like I said, things have been peachy between us, for the most part. There has been periphal talk of the future and I think that was for his benefit in order to get his own security with me in check before he could take some time out to do his thing. (This month is going to be rough for him.) And not have to worry about how I feel about him. That is why I freaked out because in my mind his actions didn't match up. Girl interrupted? Girl confused!

Bottom line: He didn't think about how his behavior would affect me. Well, I need to share that with him. So it won't happen next time. And if it does, well then those might be cues by way of Emily's Reasons Why Not. (I watched that show last night too. Jury is still out but it is NO Sex and The City.) I won't place demands of Here Is What You Need To Do You Rubberband-Caveman Waffle Person.

Now about the him being so busy and too busy for me and yet still went out. Well that was an out-of-town college roommate who was in town that he caught up with for a short time with on Saturday night. He no more wanted to go out than the man on the moon (who says that?) but knew that it would be the only opportunity to see this person. Wrong or right. I actually understand this for the most part. A few weeks ago I had a friend who was in town and I actually forgot that she was in town until she called me the afternoon of Sunday asking to meet for dinner. I was in one of my moods that night (I have them too!) and I wanted to be by myself but I knew that I had to meet this person because who knew when the next time would be. And I certainly did want to see her. So I sucked it up. Which I think is what he did.

And so I will close the self-help books for now and go with my gut (and my heart) and talk to him a little more. He loves to talk! It is natural to have some insecurity in the beginning of a relationship, isn't it? I think so. And it is working through these moments that build a stronger realtionship. So, we will just have to see how Peter Pan carries himself now that we have talked. And if he thinks THIS is histrionics and wants to take away my voice (which I know in my heart of hearts he wouldn't do), well then, I will just have to pack that little green butterfly suitcase and REALLY run away.

2 comments:

Anne West said...

Girlfriend...do NOT do anymore drivebys!
I know it's hard but just don't do it.

Original Me said...

Hi Anne! Thanks for commenting!....I have ceased all drivebys and things are back to normal for us. He is back to being lovely.