I did it again.
No, not an impression of Brittney Spears (and for that, you’re welcome).
“It” was say something on my blog that had absolutely nothing to do with anyone except–gasp–ME and pissing someone off in the process. In reality, annoyed or saddened are probably more accurate word choices than mad, but whichever we choose the story is still the same.
The first time it happened was years ago; I was still married and my blog was in a different place and served a different purpose. I followed a prompt and made a list of what I was thankful for (I can’t remember now if it was 5 things or 10 things…there was a number to the prompt, though). My dad and stepmom made the list; my in-laws didn’t. That upset a relative-in-law who let her outrage be known in the comments. She called me out. Chided me. Stopped me from blogging for a bit.
Fast forward to now, and, without realizing it, I did the same thing in my Ephron inspired list post. I didn’t include someone, and that someone was hurt. Truth is, even though I deliberately crafted a post that was about things, not people, my kids made the list. My dad, my stepmom, my very best friends didn’t, though I’d certainly miss them more than words can say. But my kids….not only were they on the list, but they were the first entry on the list. And I refuse to apologize for that.
My kids make EVERY list; being their mom is something that oozes out of every single cell of my being, and my role as their mom encompasses every emotion and event of my life (even when they’re not with me). Good, bad or ugly it’s who I am. Every other role– whether it’s daughter, blogger, yoga lover or one of the umpteen different titles that might apply on any given day–is tempered by who I am as their mother. Every other role is important to me, but there’s one very big difference: in no other role am I a mother.In no other role am I responsible for someone else or how they feel. In no other role should I feel the (largely self-imposed) need to direct and constantly reaffirm. In every other role–in my opinion–there should be enough reciprocity that neither person feels slighted. Every other role should be less work than being a mom.
In the wake of this new ‘I did it again’ incident, it’s not blame that I’ve been trying to figure out, but rather why I continually land in situations where I feel like the mother even when I’m not. Ironically enough, even though I make my living through words I’m really lousy at expressing myself. I don’t do it soon enough, often enough or loudly enough. Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe the problem is that, for as cynical as I can be, I’m pretty damn naive when it comes to being able to separate what people say from what they really mean. I wish I knew why I’m drawn to these dynamics, but I don’t.
The obvious need for therapy aside, I’m left with the very real question of where all of this leaves my blog. Do I write for me in this little, mostly unknown corner of the web, or do I censor myself for fear of hurting someone’s feelings even when I can’t fathom that a post would do just that? Do I put a great big disclaimer out to every new person I meet? Caution: this person blogs , sometimes without thinking about anyone other than herself, and sometimes sticks her foot in her mouth. Enter at your own risk.
Notice that when I invoked Brittney I didn’t include the ‘oops’. While the posts that get me in trouble are those in which I unintentionally leave someone out, this ‘oops’ isn’t one of them. Because if there’s anything I know for sure it’s that everything–no matter how uncomfortable–happens for a reason and teaches us lessons we couldn’t learn any other way. So I choose to be grateful that the person who felt slighted told me honestly that he felt that way. It took courage to say so, and I appreciate that. I choose to be grateful, too, for the lesson. Because the insights that came as a result were probably the reasons we were meant to spend time together, and I know that the world–while now changed– is just how it should be.
*Note: I’ve been struggling with whether or not I should post this. No lie when I tell you that I literally said out loud ‘what now’ right before I clicked over to Facebook and saw this image first in my stream. Couldn’t ask for a better sign, no?