An essential part of 'growing up' - or just growing, I think - is figuring out what you need, and whether you can really ask it of the Universe (by which I do not mean being a chickenshit) and if so, asking!
I find it infinitely easier to ask for 'things' or manifest opportunities than I find asking for something from someone. I find that incredibly difficult. It's unsurprising, therefore, that I end often end up angry and resentful. I find it difficult to say: 'You have slacked off, and it's started becoming really lame now'. I find it difficult to tell my Mother that she needs to also listen to me on the phone, not just talk about her or my Dad. I have a voice in my head saying selfish, selfish, selfish right now, by the way.
I find it hard to tell friends who always seem to have something or the other going on: I exist too.
I wait until they get it - which never happens, and no wonder.
Without meaning to turn into one of those annoying people who accuse their pasts for each failing, I am pointing my finger at my past.
I've felt responsible for my parents, and particularly my Mum, because of my Dad's illness and my Mum's brave, lonely and sad vigil through it. Though it's never been let on that that is my expected role, I've taken it on to varying degrees, automatically. For most of my life I have of course felt that I could ask my Mother for whatever I needed, but over time, I've felt it less and less. My Dad's gotten older and older, my Mum is tired and going through this every single day, and I feel like I should be able to handle myself. But I am under no grandiose delusion that I should handle myself entirely alone. That would drive me mad. That's why I treasure friendships - for the joy and the solace that they provide, for the opportunity for me to share and participate in life outside my situation at home. For the sake of it. For fun. For learning. For the chance to give and receive. But I've let the pattern of 'I understand, I'm there for you, Forget about me' that I let myself develop at home go too deep. It has spilled over into the rest of my life, and I find it difficult to say to my friends: 'You know, you're behaving selfishly (because I let you?)'
I am finding more and more ways, over the past few weeks, in which my family situation influences how I think and act. Or to put it more accurately, how I have let it influence the way I think and act.
I guess it would be obvious to anyone with two eyes, but it is a process of discovery to me because I'm in it and can only see things one at a time, slowly building patterns rather than realizing them all at once 'from the top'.
I wrote an email to my dearest friend today, to point out that she hadn't replied to my phonecalls for weeks. I feel selfish for having done so, and anxious. But I also feel like doing that represents a step forward - one that would not have crossed my mind to take just six months ago - and there's no going back.