Friday, December 7, 2012

Roles you play, or fall back into

Just curious, do you ever find yourself behaving, or acting a certain way around certain people? Do you find yourself in roles you really don't like, or ones you really do?

These past weeks have showed me that I most certainly do.

Earlier this fall, when we were up at the farm - the weekend we made the bits and pieces for the birch santas, actually - I was achy, tired of people, tired of myself and generally being bitchy. My sister Hildegunn called and wanted to come up for coffee, that is, she parks her car at the bottom of the steep road up to the mountain and walk/jog up as a workout thing, then she drinks coffee, make herself lunch and usually wants me to drive her back down, because she's tired, or lazy, or it's too dark, or just because. 

Being close sisters, there isn't much of a filter between us, or if there was, it was eroded down before she even started school, so I replied. "Fine, but I'm bitchy today!" To which she replied: "Fine, I'm still coming!"  Which she did and I let my bitchiness out on her relentlessly, making her help me with boring work the way only older sisters can do and she responded whiningly and poutingly, while still doing whatever I told her to as only younger sisters can do.  Still, we usually end up in a good mood, albeit a somewhat crazy good mood, where we take our burlesque, bad-taste, bizarre sense of humour to the limit and beyond.

Runar later commented that the two of us together when we have 'one of those days' are a handful as we bounce right back to our infantile selves and are totally obnoxious.

When I'm with my older sister closest to me, it's the same thing, only the roles are reversed. The humour is the same and I'd like to think I don't go completely whiny infantile, but...

When I spend time with my oldest sister, I automatically enter the little-sister-aim-to-please role. I am constantly afraid of doing something wrong. I make sure I talk properly, moving my lips and pronouncing words clearly and I never curse around her, ever. She will - I kid you not - immediately and loudly correct my grammar, yell at me for mumbling, etc whenever and wherever. If I spend too much time around her I get completely worn out, because I can't really relax. There are so many rules and limits that most likely exist in my head, only, but feel just as real as any physical boundaries do. The only time I feel I'm close to being on the same page as she, is when I'm seriously P'ed off at Runar and complain about men in general. It's a favorite pet peeve of hers, I think, men behaving badly...

My next oldest sister I don't really know well enough to have a sister relationship with, but we enjoy each other's company and we can be ourselves and relax, because none of us are particularly judgmental or opinionated.

With some people I knew well as a kid, it doesn't matter that I haven't spoken to in years. We fall back into the familiar role as good friends as if the years apart didn't exist at all. Nina(who recently lost her father) is one. When I read the obituary, I was shocked and then terrified of calling her, because I had no idea what to say.    I lost contact with all my childhood friends during the early years of marriage, for reasons I'm not going into here, and have only spoken to them on rare occasions. I still consider them good friends and I wanted to let Nina know I was there for her if she needed anything.  I didn't have her phone number and spent a couple of hours looking up and contacting other childhood friends I thought would have her number. I finally got her number, but in my angst ridden inner nightmare chickened out and ended up sending her a text with my condolences, feeling as lousy as could be the second I hit 'send'

When I read her reply, I immediately called her and all my angst and worry was for nothing, because it was as if we'd just talked yesterday. We were right back to our roles as best friends without any filters, tears and laughs flowing naturally and in full.

It made me sit down and ponder on the different roles I automatically and unconsciously enter and exit. It made me aware of the roles I really don't like and it made me  realize that I need to do a better job at getting back in touch with my few really good childhood friends. I like that 'me'. I need that 'me' to play a bigger part of the movie that is my life.

I am not sure I'll ever be able to exterminate the role of  aim-to-please-Eli I am around some of my family members, but maybe I'll be able to at least diminish her to only playing very minor roles. That would be nice.

Have you ever thought about this much? Have you ever considered how many different roles you enter and exit during your everyday life? Roles you don't really think about, because they're all part of you. The role of wife, mother, colleague, young woman, grown woman, middle aged woman, old woman, friend, teacher, student...

PS! You should probably not think too hard on this, though. I'm now wondering if the line between normal and schizophrenic is a lot closer to home, than I used to think.

PPS! I don't know much about schizophrenia, but I've worked with a couple and dealt with a few with personality disorders. I don't mean to offend those suffering from this, or take this illness lightly, because it's a terrible and crippling illness that I don't wish on my worst enemy, but being one who has tried to get some sort of understanding of the illness without actually studying psychology, I can easily see how the endless list of different roles we play in our lives, that we enter and exit seemingly unconsciously and seemingly at random can be completely confusing to some people to the extent where they can no longer function.

Oh, and it's weekend, y'all. Remember. Don't take life too seriously...

1 comment:

  1. I often think about this kind of thing and I also often wonder if it is making me crazy. Either we're crazy or just really, really interesting. I think you're the latter.