Friday, October 16, 2009

A Shrek Metaphor in a Monica McInerney Novel

I'm reading Monica McInerney's Upside Down Inside Out.

I'm on page forty right now. So far, it's quite readable. I like this passage a lot:

She reckons people are like onions, that there are layers and layers to them that you have to get past before you get to their heart. And that's where it gets scary because you can't be sure what you might uncover each time you peal back a layer.

I'm scared of people sometimes...for that reason. Sadly, I find that I dislike some people before I've uncovered many layers. They're very quit to reveal that they're callous and/or self-centered. But at least with them, there are no false expectations.

Sometimes I get an immediate sense that someone dislikes me. I think I'm getting better at letting these people go. There's enough fish in the sea. I don't have to waste my time worrying about why someone has immediately decided that I'm unworthy of their love.

The people who are harder for me to deal with are the ones that have nice onion peels on the first several layers. I'm not sure if that sentence is correct....vegetable-wise. Try to be patient with me.

Sometimes I mistakingly think I've found someone who is awesome. Then they end up disappointing me. I might realize they're not seeking true friendship. They just want me to join their fan club. There's the friends who seem absolutely lovely....until you're upset and/or have a problem. Then they disappear....either literally or emotionally. I've had the opposite too. People who came through for me when no one else would. Great! Okay, but yeah. As soon as the problem faded, they disappeared. I realized that they didn't like ME. They loved my drama.

There's the people who are absolutely lovely.....until you disagree with them.

There's the people who are lovely until you confront them on something they've said that hurt your feelings or annoyed you. These people can't stand confrontation...even if you try to be civil about it.

The people who scare me the most are the ones in which I've peeled back a few onion layers and I already cherish them. I hardly know them, yet they tug at my heart. I mean I'm not talking about love-at-first site or anything like that. I'm talking about people I've known for a fairly short time, and I find myself liking them a lot. They scare me, because I know I put them too high on a pedestal. I'm afraid they'll end up disappointing me. The fear that's worse, though, is that they'll peal back another layer of MY onion, and decide I'm no longer worthy of their company.

I have a small number of friends that still are lovely even though I've peeled back many layers. We're not a "perfect" match. We're not twins. Once in awhile they make choices I don't think they should make. They like some things that I find unappealing or uninteresting. They have some beliefs and opinions that I don't share. But that doesn't matter really. We're all different. It's part of life. And I know that I do things that they dislike. We accept each other. I love them, and I feel that they love me.

I should stop with the onion metaphors. Peeling onions stings my eyes. Yeah. I know. It hurts everyone's eyes. But I'm a bigger baby about the whole thing. What can I say.....


  1. "You know, not everybody like onions."

    I've found that when it comes to me liking or disliking a person, there is a connection between the amount of time and energy I invest in him/her and how much I end up liking the person.
    Usually 'more time in' yields me feeling more strongly about a person.

  2. Happy Organist,

    That's a good connection. I guess it would mean that the more you spend time with someone, the more you like them.

    That's true SOMETIMES for me. The people I consider to be my most precious friends were once acquaintances...or casual friends. Then for some reason or another, we both put time or effort into the friendship, and our relationship became stronger and special.

    But with other people, it doesn't work that way. I find I can like certain people better if I keep emotionally and physically distant from them. In other words, if I peel their onion too much, I don't like what I encounter.