I’m currently attempting to write an email.
A few months ago I wrote a very personal entry about my family. It helped a lot and the responses I received carried me forward. Because 43Things is not in the least bit private though, it does present the problem as to how personal is too personal. I don’t mind saying what I think here (and get a lot of benefits from doing so), but the people I write about are real people and I’d be horrified if they or someone they knew found my entries.
Which makes writing entries for this goal particularly tricky!
How to phrase this?
The email I am writing shouldn’t be that hard, but it feels like a real struggle. What I have to say is pretty simple. (Someone said that I want to move out as soon as possible, when I neither said nor want any such thing.) My family often decide they know what’s best for me without asking me, or decide what I want even if its the opposite to what I want, and correcting them is hard because they have acted very defensive or slippery in the past.
I have been thinking about what it means to stop caring about what people think of you. There is a Sufi saying that goes something like: the people we care about become our masters – so choose your masters wisely. It isn’t that you should do without caring or masters altogether (good “masters” raise the expectations you have of yourself). The poet and historian Jennifer Michael Hecht (one of my favourite people) said on a radio interview recently that “we believe each other into being.” If we suddenly found ourselves alone on Earth, with no other people “would you bother to wash a dish” (she said), would you bother to wear nice clothes or bother much with anything. Music would sound different, the way you think to yourself would be different… we believe each other into being.
I just don’t want my life to be so restricted by caring anymore. And it is difficult when you depend on those people, because what they think of you is what you have to respond to. If they think they know better or that you can’t make intelligent decisions for yourself then what they think does matter because what they do matters and how you see yourself through how they see you matters.
The empathy I have for them (even when they are saying awful untrue things) just overwhelms me. It is not mutual and I end up in a much weaker position, watering down my truth or only focusing on them.
Getting away from that would be a liberation. (Uh, is this too personal again?). Anyway, maybe the best thing to do is try to get the practical results I want and not care if they think I am demonic or destructive or whatever (it struck me today that in the clashes I’ve had with my family it seems to me as though they see me as both very impotent and very destructive at the same time).