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Thread: Becoming authentic

  1. #251
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    I survive the work thing. Heart daughter thanked me for coming. She also apologized for stranding me when she had to leave early and the other person I am comfortable with didn’t show up at all due to a child in the hospital. I think my own exit at the end was less graceful. I have a tendency just to leave when things are done, and realized halfway out the door that people were doing that fake social thing and I had no idea what to say. Then after I got into my car away from people I thought of some things. (Like I should have thanked someone for including me - even though I never wanted to be included)

    anyway, heart daughter wanted me to know it was a real emergency and not an escape, but everything was ok. It was only 15 minutes, but she would have gotten me out the door.

    i took time for myself at the pottery studio afterwards. It was the first time in a long time I have worked in clay until I actually got tired of it and wanted to stop for a while. (My hands are sore) (unfortunately?) I got home in time to spend 40 minutes with my brother in law. I actually like him, but I like him on his turf. He is loud and opinionated. He had many opinions on my lifestyle and my choices.

    Sample conversation:
    him: “is that homemade ice cream?”
    me “yes.”
    Dh (dealing with the fact that a normal person would have offered bil some) “it’s goat milk.”
    bil “gross.”
    dh “actually it’s pretty good.”
    bil “well i’m Not eating it. Maybe it’s not as bad a goat cheese. Goat cheese is disgusting. It smells like dog sh**.”
    me (i’m Eating) “I am perfectly happy with you not eating my ice cream.”
    bil continues to expound on the grossness of goat cheese.

    also he informed me that I “need to just get a dumpster and throw all that stuff out.” I just said “no. I don’t.” Then I was able to listen to his story of how his family has radically downsized since the fire that left them homeless for six months with compassion and appreciation for his enjoyment of his new life. Without making it about me at all. Which I think frustrated him because it was intended as a lesson for me. But i’m Good.

    He did really like our new room, although he can’t figure out how we can stand not having real floors in yet, but he felt a need to compliment it by contrasting it with the rest of our house, which “sucks”.

  2. #252
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    Your BIL is beyond rude. I don't go to anyone's house and tell them what they should do. Now if someone asks on an internet forum I will say what I think) He is the one with low social skills. You handled it well.

  3. #253
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I'd love to stay in your house, with or without new floors, and I'd try your goat ice cream, and I'd just love to be around you. It seems to me that you are not "becoming" authentic--you already are.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
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  4. #254
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    You guys are very kind. I think I am “better” online than in person, because I can think about what I want to say for as long as I like, and I can edit my words. Lack of tone is difficult sometimes, but I struggle with affect in real life, and online it is more appropriate to come out and ask about it.

    my bil really is not a jerk. He can be coarse, but a lot of that is cultural. He has a lot of good traits, we just disagree on many things and he never pulls punches with me. I often appreciate that in people. It’s just that having known me since he was 14, he feels he can address subjects that most people would not. And he was on a roll Monday night.

    He holds his positions strongly. For years he hassled me about my vegetarianism. (And I often enjoyed debating him) When he went vegetarian for health reasons, he became my loud and stubborn ally at family meals.

    i actually felt good about some of the interactions, because I felt like I could defend my position just because it was my position. Yes, I have a lot of “crap” in my basement. Right now, it’s staying there. Because this is my life and this is how I am living it. I didn’t feel a need to start justifying or explaining my choices, because I am comfortable with them.

    This is a big step, and a lot of what I mean about being authentic. I am moving away from “should”s. I am becoming realistic about the facts of my life - things are a certain way. My choices about how I spend my time can (sometimes) affect wether they remain the same or change. I am trying to make those decisions based on my priorities and having done that, I must accept the results. Things do not have “needs”. The floor does not “need” to be swept. The floor is dirty. If it is more important to me to coach a kid or plant a tree or sleep, then the floor will remain dirty until sweeping becomes the most important use of the moment or someone else chooses to sweep it. I will not apologize for that.

    if you come over and my house is a mess, it is a mess. I *could clean it - but clearly I am choosing to spend this moment with you instead. If you think a clean house is more important, you have choices. Maybe I will let you clean while I do something else. Maybe if you go away, I will clean it. But probably, I will do something else I think is more important.

  5. #255
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    I have a different take on the house cleaning conundrum. I don't see it as an either or thing--for me, the disorder in my house--and I am looking around and seeing it in every room, especially since I am in the middle of a declutter/dehoard/deal with stuff now instead of later project--reflects depression and an inability to make decisions and move on in life. So for me, it's not authentic to have my house in the state it is in now--it is inauthentic and disturbing, and I feel I can't be myself.

    But people have different values. So if you like to live a certain way, and you see it as a time tradeoff to help others or help the earth or sleep vs. the house cleaning or decluttering, then that is your value, and you are being authentic to your value. I see it differently, as supporting myself and my need to live in beauty, and to be a "good steward"--again, we are both trying to be good stewards, just do it/see it differently.

    And that is great! I guess what I am trying to say is that we all see the world through our own lens of being, and what makes us happy, and then we look at others through our personal lens and say things like, "goat ice cream, gross" which is kind of stupid. We all do it.

    Back to my decluttering/cleaning/straightening project, as that is authentic movement in a direction I value.

  6. #256
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    This is such an interesting thread. Learning, deciding what I need to be comfortable, happy is an ongoing process. As CL experiences it, the "shoulds" can take you over until you have no idea what is important to yourself. So, bravo to everyone working on finding just what it is that works and finding a voice that helps you get and keep the knowledge.

  7. #257
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    When I go to someone's house I could care less how neat or clean it is. I go to visit the person. When I was raising my kids my house was much messier then it is now because there were 5 of us and I was super busy with college and then work. My kids were my priority above the house. However, I find it now peaceful to keep things neat and clean so I do. Right now I am doing my usual spring cleaning which means all the curtains are getting washed and the windows. etc. I am motivated to do that when the weather starts to get warm. In 2 weeks we are having a big barbecue with lots of people. We do that every summer and I really enjoy it. Last summer I waited until June and it was way too hot to eat outside. Last summer was unusual but I am not taking any chances this year.

  8. #258
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    When I go to someone's house I could care less how neat or clean it is. I go to visit the person. When I was raising my kids my house was much messier then it is now because there were 5 of us and I was super busy with college and then work.
    Terry, your comment sponsored some interesting thoughts in my head.

    When we visit DD and DSiL, their (new, no-home-improvements-needed) house is always cluttered. Though that is not my preference it does not bother me as they have a 2-1/2-year-old and a not-even-a-year-old and both work jobs that continually try to suck up more than 40 hours a week from each of them (plus commute, but that was a decision they made). So there are toys all around, almost always a laundry basket of clean (unfolded) clothes well away from the laundry room, the day's dishes in the kitchen sink. So, yes, we're there to see them, not the house. When those same kids are at our house, it's a glorious mess and I don't mind cleaning up, though I am hopeful that someday the clutter tornado will wind down. But I don't have to live with it full-time (absolutely not my preference).

    Many years ago, my first wife and I would visit her mom, who lived alone. I was appalled to see dishes in the kitchen sink from some time ago (whatever the dish contained had dried up) and piles of paper waiting to be taken out of the house (to the trash, back in those days) and the bathroom was filthy. That bothered me. It's not like MiL couldn't physically handle it -- she volunteered outside her home, as she put it, "driving the old ladies around to their appointments". But she didn't handle it. Maybe there was some latent depression or some other emotional issue going on that I never saw. But it did strike me how dirty the place was and I have to say I was not excited about visiting.

    Not that I have a fully-formed opinion at this time on the matter of prioritizing a clean house. But your comment struck me in two very different ways. Now I'm working on figuring out why.
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  9. #259
    Senior Member catherine's Avatar
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    I think there's a difference between clean and tidy. Steve, your DD/SIL's home is merely untidy. Your former MIL's house was unclean. Big difference.

    My DIL is a clean nut/germophobe, but her home is constantly strewn with laundry that hasn't gotten around to getting folded, toys, and assorted other clutter. But the kitchen and bathrooms are clean enough to lick. Kind of a disconnect, because I always find that it's easier for me to clean when there is no clutter, but some busy families know how to prioritize "clean" at the expense of "clutter."

    I find I'm much more sensitive to my own clutter when I come back from business travel, or, more recently, the house in VT, which is still very minimally furnished (and I hope to keep it that way!). Somehow, when I walk in the door, the clutter jumps out at me, but when I sit in it for a week or so, I just get de-sensitized and more tolerant.
    "Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it--every, every minute?" Emily Webb, Our Town
    www.silententry.wordpress.com

  10. #260
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    Yes, many of you are getting the point exactly. It is about what matters to you and why and the effect that has on your life. It’s about WHY you are sweeping (or not sweeping) the floor. Paying attention to the “why” helps to clarify the “what”.

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