Friday, March 28, 2008

Split Personality?

I'm a people pleaser. Mom said even as a child I was always good natured and willing to do whatever anyone wanted, eager for approval.

And then I grew up. Sort of.

I had definite ideas about certain things, such as what foods I disliked, what clothes I wanted to wear, and even who my friends were. Unfortunately, I often was ridiculed.

For instance, one of my best friends in elementary school was a boy.

"Eeeuuuu! How can you be friends with him? Boys are yucky!"

I liked him because we crawled all over my treehouse, waxed-papered my slide, and even went down to the creek and climbed a few trees. My best girl friend wanted to play Barbies and listen to music. So at the tender age of 8, I decided to quit acting like a boy and be a girl again.

But....times had changed.

I wore dresses; read Little House on the Prairie and tried to be 'ladylike'. And opened my mouth at the wrong time and got slammed again! I didn't want to play sports; I wanted to be a cheerleader. But our school had decided to offer girls' sports, which I had no interest in. I wanted to read, embroider, and spool-knit, not run around and get dirty! Ick!

Consequently, I had only a small group of friends, instead of several. But we all planned our future weddings.

We all wanted the traditional white dress (preferably our mother's), white veil, and traditional white wedding cake. I was alarmed, because all wedding cakes were white, while I preferred chocolate.

"Don't be silly...Wedding cakes are always white!" was what I heard. So while in high school and college, while I secretly agreed with 'the dream wedding', I planned one where my cake would be chocolate, my groom wouldn't be forced to wear uncomfortable shoes, and we'd happily go off to Disney World, to play and ride the rides.

Why the fuss over the cake? I got my chocolate cake at my wedding, along with a tier or two with white. And yesterday on the news, there was a segment about 'non-traditional' cakes becoming more popular. Brides were ordering flavored cake, chocolate icing, and various other quirks. I personally always wanted the huge, multi-layered cake with the fountain in the center! But what I got was a modest, 4 or 5 tiered cake. I've told my kids that for our 25th anniversary, I want my dream cake! (And maybe Duff from Ace of Cakes could make it??)

I'm digressing. Anyway, around age 30, I realized I wasn't so dependant on approval anymore. My parents didn't particularly care for my shoulder-length spiral perm. "It's my hair, and I like it," I announced. Normally, their disapproval would have caused a mild depression to set in, along with me combing out my curls or something. Not anymore.

My parents do not especially approve of what I'm writing. So what else is new? I stupidly took my journal to school in the 8th grade and it was accidentally passed around, causing deep embarassment for about a week. I survived it.

Yes, I crave approval to some extent. I want people to like what I write; I want people to like what I have to say. But am I going to be depressed because I get a rejection? No. It just means the right person hasn't read it yet. Am I going to be depressed because no one comments on my blog? No. I'm just getting started! I know a few people have discovered me, and that's okay. Come next May, when I'm hopefully ready to submit my work and start praying for an acceptance, maybe then more people will be reading this. But until then, I'm content to sit here quietly, writing and trying to find my 'blog' voice. I've been approached about being controversial, and I fear it's just not in me yet.

I still tend to look at all situations from all sides. And that makes it hard to get off the fence.

So why the split personality? I suppose I'm a closet rebel. I do what is expected of me; I'm raising my kids, I'm saying the right things. But on the inside, and what is coming out in my stories, is the ME I longed to be twenty years ago; the girl who knew where life was taking her and how to get what she wanted. Trouble is, I let public opinion sway me in the opposite direction. So I'm reliving my early adult stage vicariously through my heroines!

How did YOU envision your future life when you were twenty? And what stopped you from attaining your dream?


barbara huffert said...

I've always marched to my own drummer. Which more often than not left me out there alone. Good in that I learned to be independant at an early age and never much cared what others thought. Still don't but I've learned to play the game when I have to. Thank goodness no one can read my mind and know what I'm really thinking in those moments. Bad in that I never really acquired the necessary social skills that would be so helpful at times. I think we all have split personalities to some extent. It's what we do with them that matters.

Kelly Kirch said...

People pleaser too. Sometimes it sucks.