December 20, 2003


Sometimes things happen (very insignificant things) that bring home to me just how far I haven't come.
Echoes... of other times when it mattered, but why should it matter now?

He made a face. That's all, just a face.

Maybe it caught me off guard.

I was talking with my son Rob about the possibility of getting a digital camera.
Rob has a camera which I am free to borrow but I've never felt comfortable with that.
First of all, it's in a drawer in his room. If I want to use it when he's not home, I have to go into a drawer in his room to get it.
That doesn't feel right.
I've also never found it easy to use - too many settings, options, incomprehensible picture icons.
He bought it with his own earned money and I just don't feel relaxed with it.

We were discussing a model that I noticed in a sale ad, when He (the Housemate) passed by the room and asked what we were talking about.
"I was thinking of getting myself a digital camera," I said.
"What do we need another camera for?" He muttered, but it was the FACE that set me off.

He knows I don't spend money freely.
He knows I hardly spend anything at all.
He knows I wasn't planning to use household funds, but my own money.
I don't think He even cares about the money, deep down.

It's a control thing and my God, it still works.

The most extreme example of this would be the crib pad incident.
Rob (the younger child) was about a year old when the bumper pads in his crib were falling apart. They were the original pads from the first baby.
I went out and spent $20.
1985 money, but only $20 on a nice soft yellow pad.
He hit the roof.

If I would have spent $20 (or much more) on a sweater or a CD or a book, He wouldn't have said a thing. But it was because I had gone against His wishes (He thought we didn't NEED a pad at all) that He became so angry.

Of course, reasoning with Him is futile. He refused to discuss THE FACE and became defensive.
"I always make a face."
Well that makes it all right, then!

What bothers me intellectually isn't His behaviour. I know where that's coming from.
What bothers me is my emotional reaction to it.
I want to make it okay. I want to make Him understand and approve.
Why don't I GET it - disapproval is the POINT, the end in itself.
Why does it - or did it if even for a moment - matter?

I'm reminded of a conversation I had with a teammate at bowling. Eleanor is new to the league and a little older than I am. I took to her immediately - she seems like a no-nonsense, down to earth lady.

Last week she was bowling below average and would come back after each frame, softly berating herself. I finally said, "You are your own harshest critic, aren't you?"
She looked at me and said yes, she's always been hard on herself.
I joked that I didn't need to be, I have a husband for that, to which she replied, "Oh my husband is my biggest fan. I am lucky, I have no complaints that way."

Imagine, what a concept.

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