Saturday, December 11, 2010

Getting People Out Of Your Head

Good news.  I'm (so far) enjoying Margo Lanagan's Tender Morsels.  I didn't like one of her short story collections, but you know....that might be because I'm not a big fan of short stories.  For example, I've loved some of Janette Turner Hospital's novels, but I tried reading a collection of her short stories, and I was bored.

It makes me wonder if I should try to read a novel by David Malouf.  I tried only his short stories.   Maybe I'd like his novel.  Although I don't like all novels.  I haven't read one by Peter Carey that I like. And I strongly disliked one of Murray Bail's novels.

Anyway, there was a quote in Tender Morsels that I like.  It's on page 39.   ...and she had all the time in the world , and his remembered voice to guide her with its nagging, and his silence when she was busy and certain of herself.

We can often PHYSICALLY remove ourselves from those who nag and criticize us, but sometimes they stay inside our heads.

I remember learning about that in a university sociology course. It was one of those eye-opening moments.

I could be miles away from my parents and sisters, but they'd still judging me. Or at least I FELT them judging me.  They'd judge me on what I chose to eat in the cafeteria.  They'd judge me on whom I'd choose to befriend.  They'd judge me on what I did during my spare time. They'd judge me on the clothes I wore, how I stood, how I walked.....lots of stuff.

Sometimes this imagined judging is a GOOD thing.  You think about walking home late in the evening and you hear your mom's voice, That's not safe.  Ask someone to walk home with you.

Usually though....I think the imagined judging is a negative thing.  I think it gets to the point where you can't separate your own opinions from others.  

At one time, I decided NOT to homeschool Jack. Why?  My sister thought it was a bad idea. It took me courage and time to realize that was HER opinion, and not my opinion.

The good news is that I think my family plays less of a role as the critic inside my head.

Now I'm still VERY self-critical, but I think that critical voice comes from me....for the most part.    It's better this way because my criticisms match my own values.   You need to let Jack know you forgive him for drawing on the photograph.   Stop being a bitchy mom about that.  You should have stopped and given that homeless man a dollar.   Get out of the shower.   You've been in there way too long, and you're wasting water.

I'm not sure why and how I've changed. Maybe it's simple maturity. Maybe I have more self-confidence.

I do confide in my family less than I used to.  That might play a part. Part of the imagined judging came from knowing I probably WOULD tell them things someday; and I'd imagined how they'd likely react when they heard.  I still do imagine reactions, but less than I used to.

I think blogging helps. I'm not sure why. I think I just like to credit this blog for good things in my life.