25 January 2010

I've Never Been Good On a Unicycle

I'm starting to realize that, to my dismay, I'm not so good at the whole balance thing. I'm okay at walking a straight line without falling off. I'm pretty good at staying on a two-wheeled bike. But that's pretty much where it ends.

This has become especially apparent in the last year and a half, since I went back to work part-time after being a stay-at-home mom for fourteen years. I'm either all in at work and I'm right on top of everything, but my house is a disaster and all my kids are out of clean underwear, or my house is spotless and my family is fed but I'm overwhelmed and way behind at work. There was one time that I thought I was balanced but then realized that in truth, I was doing equally badly at both work and home. I wasn't doing anything well, and that's not exactly the kind of balance I'm looking for.

In the past couple of months, I've found that I'm also not great at finding balance with friendships, and this is a hard one for me. For one thing, I get really attached to people. When I become friends with someone, I am in it all the way. I give all of me to that friendship. And it took me a long time to understand that not everyone is like that. It's much easier for other people to be "casual" friends than it is for me. Also, I have been betrayed quite a few times in the past when it comes to people I've considered my "best" friends. A few times, that has been a very blatant betrayal, but most of the time it has consisted of just allowing the friendship to become distant, or consistently cancelling plans last-minute, or just not devoting time or energy. Either way, I have ended up really hurt, and this is something I'm still dealing with.

Two things have come from this realization, and I'm trying to figure out what to do with them. The first thing is that I find myself being over-sensitive to things. It's almost as though I expect for friends to hurt me, so I caution myself and then watch for it. The second is that I sometimes distance myself. I over-compensate for my tendency to get attached. I stop myself from getting too close. I put up a wall.

I don't want to do either of these things. Both of them are unfair to me and to my friends. Even writing this, I know, for all the world to see, puts me in a bad light. I'm not painting a very pretty picture of myself. But it's true, and I'm putting it out there. I don't want to be this way anymore. I don't want to be over-sensitive. I don't want to put up walls. I want to just be who I am and let my friends be who they are. If I can't figure out how to do that, I'll alienate the amazing friends I do have, and I'll end up lonely and bitter.

So I'm trying. I'm working on it. Sometimes, I'm going to fail. But I have confidence that eventually, I'll find the balance I'm looking for. My friends are so incredibly important to me, and I won't risk them. I'm going to learn how to balance my baggage with my hope and faith. Yep, I've got baggage. But "I'm looking for baggage that goes with mine."


Margaret Mary said...

Hey Karen. I'm liking your new blog and I think it's great to start out fresh to process the next chapter of military life.

I definitely get the friend thing. I recently took a hard hit and I'm fighting the bitterness monster. I don't want to navigate through life erecting walls.

Stella said...

We could be one in the same. I find myself throwing everything I have into new friends and when it isn't returned, I become upset and disillusioned. I also find myself distancing myself and getting upset when people don't recognize that I'm being hurt- even though I've pulled myself away.

Like you, I'm working on it. Keep up the good work!

melissa said...

i could have written this. seriously. i am having a hard time balancing my new me responsibilities with the old me responsibilities. it's not easy. and i'm slipping to the dark side...messy house, breakfast for dinner, etc.
i think it's actually becoming an issue.

Mommy X said...

Friends won't hurt you
(really, really hurt you), or else they're not friends. Sure, there are misunderstandings but those can be worked out. I'm always here and maybe not always available (especially on weeknights :), but I am here nonetheless...all virtual, all the time.)