The people we lose aren’t always losses. Sometimes, they’re the extra crates that slow the motion of our boats. I should know. I grew up with these people. I lived with these people.
Some of us are the happiest when we were children. I know I was. I didn’t need much to be happy. I would play with a leaf, a pot, a twig, a cricket I would call friend. I was low maintenance. I was compassionate, careful, nice to everyone. I knew I had to share. I knew I had to take care of the children smaller than I was. I knew I had to shut my mouth if I have nothing good to say. I was never to upset anyone. Good girls, good children, follow these rules.
Grown ups don’t follow such things. They say what they want, to whomever they want, and they expect you to be okay with it. Why not? They’re older and they know better, and if they don’t know better, respect comes first, and if they’re not respectable, they’re only kidding.
“You have such nice feet. They’re even prettier than your face.”
“Don’t you get insecure with her? If you spend too much time with her, people will realize you’re ugly.”
“If you have a brother, your parents won’t love you anymore.”
You parents will say they’re only kidding, or that they’re only teasing you. This won’t help, of course. Children don’t understand what’s real. They understand what’s right.
As we grow older, we’ll meet more people who are “only kidding.” They might have heard or been hurt by the same things. They ARE saying the same things. We’re not supposed to be “too sensitive” about it, they say. They’re only kidding, after all. But we can’t help it. Passive aggressiveness affects people, no matter how slyly they phrase it. It becomes a cycle of insecurity and carefully phrased insults to take confident and happy people down a peg. God forbid, someone turns out happy after the emotional abuse from the previous generation.
And on it goes, the insults, the back-handed complements. Friends who can never celebrate your success and joy. Friends are always ready with a mortifying comment the moment you feel good about yourself.
Let’s stop this cycle.
I can’t deal with another generation of this, as I’m sure most of us do. I have a lot of interests, hobbies, ventures I want to pursue, but I only have one ultimate goal in life. When I’m old, drinking tea, crocheting, and painting, I want to be a happy, supportive, slightly crass lady. I want the younger generation to come to me for encouragement, advice, biscuits. When I’m old, I don’t want to be the source of burden and insecurity of the younger generation.
I want to do all the things I want to do, potter in obscurity or fame, whatever the future takes me. But I want to keep pottering with ardor no matter what. I want to be happy and proud of my work, whether someone recognizes it or not. I want to be content with wherever I am in life. I want to encourage people along the way. I want to build people up. This whole thing would be so much easier without people tearing each other down.
As difficult as it is, we must be ruthless with the crates we carry on our boats. I want my crates to be filled with tools and jarred food for the young ones, in case they need them. I don’t want mine to be filled with shit and piss from the former crew. Those crates should have been long gone from our ship.