I must have been an actress in a former life, or possibly a movie director.
Because everywhere I turn, lately, there’s another drama playing itself out around me, and people who seem to think I have answers.
Uh, answers? Not quite.
I try to keep them to myself, though, unless specifically asked. And even when I do get asked for my opinion, I make sure to preface what I say with “If it were me….” and end with “…but that’s me, this is about you.”
Plain and simple, without naming names, I have a family member who has been going through a rather rough time, emotionally, financially, and physically. “X” has been put through the ringer, some of it X’s own fault, and turned to me for a willing ear, and possibly some advice.
Advice. I shudder at the word.
Mainly, because I was the unwilling recipient of a lot of unasked-for advice most of my life. What I should do, what I shouldn’t. What I better not, what I must. It took me a long time to work out with my “well-meaning” family that if I wanted their advice, I’d ask for it, and if I didn’t, to simply keep their opinions to themselves, and not try to steer me where they thought I should go.
Because more often than not, even if it was good advice, the manner it was delivered in pretty much guaranteed that I would stomp off, head down and full of determination, in the other direction. Because I was just that stubborn.
Push me, and I’ll push back. Push too far? And I’m like that proverbial tree branch that snaps back and slaps you in the face, knocking you off your feet. I’ve always been a little bull-headed about going my own way. At least now, I get all the facts, first. And I do actually ask for others’ opinions, most times, before deciding. But I make up my own mind what I think is right for me. No one else knows what that is, but me, so there’s no one else that can make that decision.
And besides, I’ve always been kind of a “purple alligator in a herd full of sheep”. Slightly left of center is my comfort zone, so that’s where I operate best from.
And yeah, I still get over-dramatic on occasion. Usually, when I’ve repressed some feeling to the point where it all just rushes to the surface like a geyser, venting steam and high, hot emotions all over the surrounding area. Taught at an early age to “keep your cool, turn the other cheek, and let it go in one ear and out the other”, I was forever “going off” on those around me when I’d get upset.
I’ve tempered the flares somewhat over the years. Maturity will do that, given enough time, and people who will hang in there, even after you’ve royally told them off once or twelve times. It’s good to have people who truly care, even when you’ve been a total jackass.
And now, I can see the same being repeated, down through the genetic structure, and I know that I came by my reactions honestly enough, as do other members of my family. It’s not a pretty thing, but it’s something I can usually talk X out of when I see it coming on, now, having gone through it myself, it’s easier to recognize in others.
It has a way of sneakily worming its way into your life, burrowing in under your skin, and pushing you to say and do things that you wouldn’t on an average, no-nothing day.
But it also teaches you how to help others deal with their own “flair for the dramatic”.
Of which, there are plenty of us out there.
This is why I want the bumper sticker that says