hiking without happy meals; a modern paradigm chronicling the struggles, pitfalls,
& successes of life, running, writing, urban farming,
& home schooling in these crazy modern days.
Life is our classroom.
I had something a little alarming happen the other day with Beach. We were driving. That's when kids talk. Beach told me she thought she was mean because when she was playing with 'her friends' (referring to a handful of neighborhood kids) she sometimes wanted to scream "I hate you!".
And you might think 'oh, that is a mean kid', but even the idea of her being a Hater is not the real issue here. What is underneath it is the issue. I explained to her thinking and doing are 2 totally different things. It is normal to get sick of someone, even of someones you like. Normal to be grumpy from time to time. I told her she wasn't mean. I suggested we spend more time with people who didn't make her feel that way and we changed subjects.
What troubles me are feelings below the mean thoughts. The feeling she needs to conform to make others happy and how it boils down deep in her heart. She's a little pressure cooker. My best friend Tara and I have discussed it. My best friend BJ and I have discussed it. Both of those friends have kids (each has a boy & a girl) who Beach is her real-self around. I had the chance to talk to one of her gym coaches about it too and got back a pretty funny story about Beach sharing a being nice story: "I had a friend over and then 2 other friends came over so I sent the one friend home to make 2 people happy instead of just 1. I didn't want to play with that one friend anyway." Her coach feels Beach, who is wildly popular in the gym, sort of rock star status there, has developed socially over the last year and a half. She used to glare when kids talked to her in line (oddly enough even w/ serious glare she has always been well liked) and now, every so often the coach has to cover a smile when she says, "Beach, stop talking."
I will admit sometimes she is a mean-ish, kind of blunt and hardheaded but without evil intent. More I am a crazy scientist socially limping rude or in a smaller mouthfull: descended from New Hampshire stock.
And the longer way around this is we had a bump in the road over here that nearly threw a few of us under the bus. There was adult thinking about life and love. There was a moment where I nearly forgot whose behavior I can control: mine, just mine. So just me with my behavior decided to not give shit for a few and guess what? It was magnificent. I felt as if the giant hand of obligation & expectations (I don't know why but I picture it wearing a gardening glove, strange) had been lifted from my back. I wasn't afraid to make decisions, to move things, to fix things, to be me.....and she is my child. She molds the best she can to make others happy. It's not a complete masquerade more like auto-correct adjusting the hues of your already existing personality to fit the light around you. It is actually a skill used by those who seek to serve and care-take. It is also very exhausting and lonely (does anyone really like me?). I've talked to her about it but I know that won't change it. The complex question I am asking is: do I attempt to remove or limit her exposure to situations where she feels most compelled to morph or is that just life and the real issue is not her conformity (in the neg sense not the +) but the pressure underneath it?
I know for myself, the pressure builds until it breaks something. I take a few days mumbling and cleaning and working in the wood pile and then (bruised & bleeding) I return to life promising not to let it build again but it always does. You know suddenly this is all sounding very normal to me...and it is reminding me why I run and maybe now I understand why she does gymnastics.