Wednesday, December 3, 2008

But It is Personal

The Way I See It #17, originally uploaded by Wonderlane.

"Don't take it personally." How often have we all heard that phrase? Whenever I discuss it with my friend Jersey she is incredulous, "But it IS personal, how can I not take it that way?" Exactly.

So, yesterday when I learned that Beren's ex is going out of town over the holidays, sans her children, we naturally assumed that they'd come here with us. Imagining that they might be feeling a bit sad that they wouldn't be spending Christmas with their Mom, we decided to send an e-mail and let them know that they were very much wanted here at our home, to please let us know what they would like to do. Honestly, we know they'd rather be with their Mom but surely we're a next-best-thing! Right?

The reply came this morning, short and cryptic and ever-so-polite. "We'll discuss it, don't know where we want to be but we will let you know" was the gist of it. Wow. Ouch.

Though I understand the dynamics of blended families/divorce well from every aspect, though I have raised teenagers of my own and am well aware of their emotional mood swings, I still feel hurt and, yes, rejected. I mean, why wouldn't anyone want to be here with us, with our family? We're wonderful! People leave their own families to gather around our table, to eat and drink and laugh with us! We make everyone feel welcome and loved here! Christmas is especially fun as we bake and decorate and do crafts, all kinds of great stuff. And yet, I get the distinct feeling that these two young ladies would rather be elsewhere and they are scrambling right now to find other options. I don't judge them, of course, they are entitled to their own feelings and desires but hurts...

So, yes, I'm going to take it personally. It is Personal. It's about ME, my Home, my Family. There's no other way to take it, and it is especially wrenching because I have done my damnest to make them feel welcome here, to embrace them and include them in everything, feel that they truly are part of my family. And yet, apparently they don't think so, and that just breaks my heart.

In addition to all of this, I'm also dealing with the absence of my oldest friend, one I've known since we were in middle school. She's the one who's been here for me no matter what happens, through thick and thin. We haven't seen each other in years, though, even though she lives a city away. We've discussed it, promised to do better about keeping in touch, etc. etc. And yet, we haven't spoken in months, since right after Mom was diagnosed. I get an occasional email telling me she's ever-so-busy..etc..etc...aren't we all? I don't give up, though, sent her another note on Monday, hoping we could reconnect before the holidays. The response: Ever so busy, will try to do better. She didn't even inquire about Mom. So, how am I supposed to take this? Personally? You betcha.

Off to take Mom to radiation now, then to work, hope to find a better mood and attitude before the day is over..


Catherine said...

oh boy howdy...back in the day I remember learning that "the personal is political"...a revelation for me that has stuck permanently. While I'm not one to define every casual slight or anonymously ignorant behavior as "personal" I do think that we can term "personal" the interactions we have with others in's all about intention (or the lack of it)...Beren's children are hurting (personal) and their learned response is to hurt someone else (again, personal).

We all hurt others in the battle to balance our lives but to dismiss rudeness or callousness or ugly behavior by saying "it's not personal" suggests that we don't matter. Would we pass a homeless person begging on the street and yell, 'it's not personal'? Would we cheat someone and say, 'it's not personal'?

No, it isn't all about us as recipients or purveyors of poor behavior, it's about recognizing the nature of depersonalization...sometimes it isn't personal because we don't matter to the do-er; sometimes it isn't personal because we do...

just my $.10 worth

jan said...

I can't speak for your children, but I'd be thrilled as all get out to spend the day eating your food and drinking your booze:-) On a serious note, you've inspired me to call my best friend whom I have not spoken to in an embarassingly long time.

Sorrow said...

The phrase "nothing personnel"
makes my but itch.
and i try really hard not to use it.
cause i don't get to decide what hurts you
and what doesn't.
but life rolls that way..
And on another note..
I did VERy good with the vegie munchers
this holiday.
this is me patting myself on the back.
until the eldest younger brother called to tell me my cooking gave him diarrhea, cause my cooking was to rich, to spicy.
this is me giving him the bird.

Annie I. said...

I love the new background photo! I've always wanted to visit that place myself too.

Teacats said...

Yes -- I take things to heart -- and I take remarks "personally" Can't tell how many times I've been told to let things slide like "water off a duck's back" But my feathers do get ruffled! I agree with Catherine's statement that the two girls have sensed that they CAN wound you -- so they choose to do it! You were VERY kind to send along the invitation -- and they must choose their next step AND then learn to accept the consequences! As for your friend -- sickness (and all of its related time, effort and consequences like frustration and sadness) tends to scare off less-than-steeled-soul types. Hardier souls can take the storms -- but most fear the wind and weather! Sending along hugs to you -- take care dearest!

Jan at Rosemary Cottage

Rapunzel said...

Catherine, exactly, I can "take" the silly little slights from acquaintances and strangers but with family and close friends? it's another story.

More to ponder and, btw, add some zeros on the end of that sum for that's what your opinion is worth to me!

Rapunzel said...

Jan, come on over, hon! We'd love to have you. :-)

How did the conversation with your friend go?

Rapunzel said...

Sorrow, LOL! Thanks for making me smile, and I bet your food was delicious!

Rapunzel said...

Annie, I would love to see that castle as well! Actually, I'd love to see *any* castle. *grin*

Rapunzel said...

Thank you, Jan, my friend. I sense that we are alike in our sensitivities. All my life I've been told that I feel too much, take things too much to heart, etc. Well, at 44 I'm not likely to change now!

kim said...

That's too bad. Someday, hopefully they will understand what great parents thay have.

And you're friend. Maybe sheis scared at what is happening to your mom? Some people have weird ways of dealing with stuff....


Julie said...

I feel for you because the exact same thing happened to me. I have a friend - my best friend from high school ....who lives in Houston... Okay - so I know Houston is big butt.... anyway I sent her an e-mail pouring my heart out about my husbands illness (since I cannot talk to him about it)..and Nothing. That really hurt my feelings too.

Hope all else is well with you!