I know I avoid. I do. For the past 40 years I’ve put on others what I should be doing myself. And I’ve used my kids in this collusion. I’ve forced them to make phone calls, talk to people, ask them questions I wanted answers to but didn’t want to ask. I’ve sent them running up the mall corridor to ask where, for instance, a woman got that adorable sweater, or where another woman got her hair cut, or what size, still another, her Levis were. Because I thought all three of them looked fabulous and I wanted that fabulous look for myself. But I didn’t want to talk to them personally or have them know how terribly shallow and insecure I was.
I actually bribed or bullied my kids to take care of all those details for me. And I’ve done it for so long that I no longer feel like I can do anything for myself, even though all five of them are gone and grown up and moved out. Now it’s just me, so I have to call my grown children long-distance to beg, bribe and bully them.
It doesn’t work.
They are on to me [Gee, ya think? After 40 years?]
And now they are forcng me to grow up and take care of my own details and my own questions and my own phone calls.
This happened quite recently when I thought the particulars of a little sewing project I had commissioned [on line — no actual talking going on] were well underway. I had asked one of my daughter’s friends to sew a car seat cover for my other daughter. We picked out the delightful fabric and imagined the darling finished canopy to be in the mail in the next couple of days. But, after more than a month, I asked my first daughter if she would call her friend and inquire about the progress. She refused. She actually refused approximately twelve times. She insisted that it was between me and her friend, not her and her friend.
I reasoned: But she’s your friend and you know her so well, and you are right there and you know the whole situation, and I really don’t know her that well!
Still, no. Call her, Mom. Here’s her phone number . . .
I fell apart!
I couldn’t talk to her on the phone. I couldn’t! I’ve got that “can’t-talk-on-the-phone and work out the details of an awkward situation phobia.”
What if I would offend her. What if she changed her mind. What if I was just totally out of line asking her in the first place. What if she really had an intense dislike of me and my little project?
And then she said something to me that she has probably thought for forty years [Oh, wait, she’s only 36. . .] but never said out loud to me. And it hurt. Boy howdy did it ever hurt!
And it gave me bearings.
It made me realize just how unfair I had been all these years. And that I really need to handle my own problems, as uncomfortable as they may be. I need to grow a back bone and talk and handle and ask.
Well, I’m sixty. It’s time!
Odd. I can handle almost anything at work. I am assertive, sure of myself and my place. I am on five committees. I work one-on-one with the Superintendent, the school board, the principal. Senators and famous [relatively, for our little area] people have been here for concerts, presentations, and exhibits and I’ve always conversed freely and comfortably with them.
So, I’m going to handle my own stuff.
It’s the least I can do.