the big fight
I have been in the middle of a huge dramatic fight this week. I’m talking nasty words, ugly-cry, it was exhausting. I’ve been determined not to tell you about it. I follow several bloggers consistently and one of the things I most admire from them is their openness and honesty. I feel like they’ve earned it though. They know what they are doing out here on the blogosphere, and have the right to be real. On the other hand I’m new and have an obligation to come across as though everything is glossy and lovely so that you will keep coming back for more of this glossy loveliness. Then, I had an epiphany which is so obvious it’s ridiculous that it had to be an epiphany. Almost all of you reading this are my Momma, or my sisters, or one of the friends God has gifted to me who feel like sisters. You’ve already chosen to love me in spite of who I am. For the 1.6 of you who don’t actually know me, this is your chance to get out while you can.
I’m a nice person. I really like people and it comes naturally to me to be gracious and compassionate. Granted, some days it comes more naturally with some people. But by and large I care about feelings and I believe that kindness matters. There’s this one girl though… She’s been in my life forever and I just cannot love her. There are a few things about who she is that I like, but mostly, I just pick to death everything about her. She tries, oh my word, she tries so hard and sometimes I hate her for that too. We’ll call a truce every now and then, or maybe not so much a truce as I get really busy and just ignore her for a while. It will be fairly peaceful, but then, invariably she does something stupid and I just have to fly at her with both feet. She’s got so much potential and it’s my responsibility to see that she lives up to it.
She talks too loud, no inside voice. She talks too loud about things that don’t even matter. Or maybe they matter a lot, but there’s not a blessed thing her talking is going to do about it. She easily slips into a habit of using foul language. She’ll get control over it for a while, but then I hear her talking like a trucker again and it makes me crazy because she can do better. She also is really uptight about – well, everything – and I’ll see her with people she loves and who love her, and she’ll get up and start loading the dishwasher, as if making a messy table tidy again is more important than people, than sitting and being and loving. She’s got a really great husband but she takes him for granted or gets frustrated with him for little things. She ought to be more gracious to him. She’s got incredible friends and family. The very best. They are all so much more than she’ll ever be and it’s kind of embarrassing how she assumes that they really do want to be around her. Then there is her body. Don’t even get me started on that. I’ll admit, she’s done a pretty decent job of taking care of it, but I see other women out there doing so much more for themselves than she does. They eat healthier, they can run farther, they are stronger, they are thinner, and they have much better hair. I know she is busy and all, but how hard could it be to drop those couple extra pounds or to shave another minute off her average mile pace??
Should I go on? It’s madness. With the other women in my life I stand strong by my belief that we need to honor each other. I can look you in the eye and tell you that you are beautiful, lovely exactly as you are. You with your extra weight and roots needing touched up and whatever character issue you struggle with. You are fabulous. Not her though. She’s a wreck and even though some of you have said some really gracious things to her or about her, I know the truth. There is no way that you can honestly love her. I know you can’t because I certainly don’t.
I really crawled all over her the other day. I went to a Cirque performance where incredibly talented and double-jointed women twisted, contorted and floated above my head in time to live orchestra music. These ladies were lithe and limber and all I could think about was her. How she is none of those things. She can’t even jump rope for goodness sake. I chided her for the lunch breaks sitting at her desk reading blogs instead of hitting the gym. I reminded her of every cookie eaten instead of carrot sticks (the poor dear is actually allergic to carrots, but just the same, she certainly doesn’t need the cookies) of every plank dropped before the full minute is up. She doesn’t look like those professional acrobats and she disgusts me. She started writing a blog and I don’t think she knows what she’s doing. Real people are using real and precious time to read things she says and I’m sure she’s just going to be a total goofball and not even make sense. I actually lost sleep in my anger at all the ways that she isn’t enough.
Apparently I went too far this time in my bullying. Now her Father has gone and gotten involved. Called me out. “You have to stop this” he told me. “Don’t you know that I made her?? In my image?! I was the one who knit her together in her mother’s womb. I’m the one who pressed those dimples in her cheeks and sprinkled those freckles across her nose. I’m the one who put that off-beat sense of humor in her soul and gave her that eye for finding the extra in the ordinary. I’m the one who did that. I am so tired of you tearing her down. It’s been going on since she was just a little thing and now she’s a grown-up lady and you treat her like a dirty punching bag. It has to stop.”
Well that was awkward. I cried. I cried a lot and tried to get Him to understand about the not living up to her potential and a lot of other people being of a lot more value than she is and all the ways that she’s really just a big disappointment. He’s not having it. We’ve gone rounds. Me, driving to and from work, tears and yelling, and I really hope that the people passing me assume that I’m talking on a hands free cellular device instead of just hollering and crying in the emptiness of my vehicle. Him, listening to me go on and on and then saying again “I love her. I made her. I made her for such a time as this, not for someday when she has it together, not for when she looks better or talks nicer. I really like her. I want you to like her too.”
Her Father and I, we’ve had smaller confrontations about this before, but He is making it clear. This is it. I don’t get to waste the next 30-50 years I assume I get left on this earth, harassing His daughter and making her feel small and worthless. I don’t have to over inflate her ego, but I can celebrate her. I can be excited about how far she runs without telling her she should have cranked out another mile. I can be proud when I catch her belly laughing instead of being embarrassed by her lack of sophistication. I can appreciate the way she cares and tries. I can be grateful for her sense of wonder. I can treat her with the respect she deserves. I can be kind. Every time I get an urge to pick at her I’m going to tell her instead that she’s doing a really good job. She’s growing, she’s changing, she’s loving, and she’s got this.
I need to make some apologies too. Apologies to the people who love her, for not trusting them. For being so consumed with all the ways she needs to be more, that I lose track of who they are. For being so vocal about the things I don’t like about her, that the people who love her have to assume I feel that way about them too. For being so consumed with trying to get her to be perfect that I disrespect what her friends believe about her.
I’m grateful to her Father for his patience. He and I both know already that I’m going to need reminders. He’s promised to help me. He’s promised to help you too. If you are struggling with being good to yourself, if you can’t believe that you’re enough. Your Father, He wants you to be good to His kid. He’s promised new mercies for each day.
Oh hey Lydia, you’re doing good!23