Sunday, February 28, 2010

Never Satisfied

I'm working myself into a precarious position.

I'm like a dog, doing tricks for its master, then sitting there with my tongue hanging out, panting, waiting for the treat...

the treat that never comes because the master could care less if the dog does a trick or not. He's content having a dog that just sits there and doesn't shed.

In this scenario, I am the dog. And you can guess who the master is. Yes, it's my family. And, you can guess what tricks is a euphamism for. "tricks" means every single thing I do for people that is above and beyond the call of duty for a housekeeper/cook/chauffer/accountant. I'm talking about things like: buying the really special treat for their lunchbox, the one that I usually say "no" to. Or, how about making a hot lunch for my husband (without him asking me to do it) and putting it in a to-go box because he won't have time to make something for himself. Or maybe, cleaning out his car and vacuuming it. Or maybe, giving away all my craft supplies to my daughter and telling her, "Oh, I can buy more later."

And I sit there, with my tongue hanging out (euphamism for heart hanging out on my sleeve), waiting for someone to say, "Good Job, Mom." or "Thanks, you are so thoughtful." or "I really appreciate that."

But, usually I get, "Okay, I didn't really want that, but okay." or "Can I have something different?"

Why do I try? Is it because I really do desire to please these people who I love? Or is it because I am starving for affection and I need people to love me, to appreciate me, to stroke my ego?

I think there are two schools of thought on this:
1) if you love someone, you should willingly give them praise and encouragement, not because they want it but because you want to give it to them. You love and respect them and want to express those emotions to them in an outward way.
2) If you are confident in your relationship, you shouldn't need to have your ego stroked by your mate because you love and respect yourself. Having their love and respect is icing on the cake, but certainly not a necessary part of a relationship.

I am #1. Texan Papa is #2. So, not only do I need to hear the luvin, but I also tell him the luvin. The flip side of that is that not only does he not need to hear the luvin from me, but he doesn't feel the need to give me the luvin.

This is one sad, sick, depressing cycle I'm caught up in. And don't EVEN tell me to communicate with him or else I'm going to have to draw you a picture about the whole i-like-to-communicate-but-he-doesn't-need-to-communicate cycle. It's similar to the luvin cycle.

It is hard: I feel like every marriage has one person with the strong personality. If you knew me 15 years ago, you'd definitely say *I* would be that person. But since I got married, I have made a conscious choice to allow my husband to be the strong personality. I am all about harmony and compromise and I'm not always gonna get my way. And, in my husband's defense, it's not that he always gets his way and I suck it up. I often DO get the things I want (e.g. new computer, annual trip to Florida with girlfriends, etc.) But in an effort to be a loving, supportive wife, I have stayed quiet about so many things that are going on with me. And, in doing so, we have just quit talking. He goes to work. And when he's not at work, he sleeps. And when he isn't sleeping, we are usually in separate rooms, or else we're in the same room on our two laptops, not talking.

Holy crap, where has this post gone to? I have diverged from my course and I'm not sure where I'm headed, except maybe to invite y'all to the biggest pity party I've ever had for myself! BYOB! I like Strawberry Hill so bring it on!!!

So anyway, I guess this post is my way of venting to... no one in general. I'm not exactly mad. I don't have anything to blame on anyone. I'm just... tired. I want to escape life. I don't want to feel like a failure anymore.

That's it! I just want to feel like I'm good at something. Just one thing. Like cooking, or painting, or sewing, or softball, or even parenting. I feel like if I ever got a little nugget of praise, I might believe that I'm okay. But... nuthin. And, I can't blame my kids. They're kids. They don't know. They don't understand. I wonder if my mom ever felt this way? Wanted me to tell her what I thought of her? (Wait, I did do that. And it wasn't nice. But I tell her now how wonderful she is. But it's about 30 years too late.) I guess I could blame my husband, but I kinda feel like a big baby. Like, c'mon Gretchen, GROW UP! Be happy with yourself. Don't be such a drama queen.

Okay, I better cut myself off before I go 2 miles past crazy. I have no idea why I'm writing this except that if I tried to write it I would get a cramp in my hand and so far the keyboard hasn't let me down.

(Comments closed... I'm not trying to fish for compliments here; I just wanted to vent. Maybe someone out there is reading this and knowing they aren't alone.)