Wednesday, April 5, 2006

Sometimes, it SHOULD be about you

I don't know who coined the phrase "it's not always about you," but it seems that the least expression of any emotion from remotely personal perspective draws the exasperated question, "why does everything always have to be about you?"

While I agree that a totally self-involved perspective with no appreciation for anyone else's feelings is deplorable, what exactly is wrong with taking one's own emotions into account when addressing an experience or situation? Acknowledging what's going on inside your own soul and mind when something comes up and, indeed, broaching the subject once in a while with your friends seems to be how people become friends to start with.

That's all I'm saying - sometimes, it's OK if it's about you. Not to spoil someone else's joy or intrude on someone else's sorrow, but to express your own. To be part of the same group that laughs and cries and shares in each other's lives. There is so much focus on babies and weddings, but there isn't the same attention to a single woman who buys her own house, for example. Actually, let's face it: that's pretty much it, isn't it. If you're a single woman with no children, about the only milestones you have are birthdays ending in "0" and buying your first house.

What brought this up, as you might have suspected, is that I noticed a colleague who is looking a little, shall we say, "bumpish" in the abdominal area this morning. First thought in my head, I swear, was "is she pregnant?" Second thought was "NOT ANOTHER ONE!!" Assuming I could be deemed to be acting appropriately by even raising the question with someone who knows her better (which I wouldn't because if she's just put on a little winter weight, it would be a terribly rude thing to ask), if the answer is "yes," the follow-up will be "...and we're planning a shower for her. Do you want to come?" I can't take it anymore.

I don't want to be a downer on someone else's parade. Babies and children are such blessings, and I am honestly happy for people who have them. It's just that I wanted babies, too. I wanted a wedding with bridesmaids in ugly dresses (OK, maybe just my sister) and a multi-tiered cake and a honeymoon with all of the trials and adventures that went along with the whole circus.

I wanted a little boy with blonde hair and green eyes who would look like his daddy and who would grow up getting into everything and playing with trucks and trains and who would blow up my kitchen with some experiment or another. (I'm sorry - I really didn't want girls; having raised my brothers when they were younger and already kind of knowing what to do, I would just rather have had boys).

It's a day-to-day thing lately - don't look at the happy mothers with babies, don't look at the soccer moms with pre-teen kids dressed for whatever activity is on the agenda that day, don't look at the prom ads or graduation reminders of children growing to adulthood. Remind yourself daily of the difficulties of raising children, and think about the colleague who had to deal with a toddler with stomach flu and change the sheets at 3:00 a.m. before dragging herself into work the next morning with no sleep. Don't think about how great it would be to have a husband and a family. Not today.

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