I was brought up by goats, if photos of my early childhood are to be believed. There were also some parents with hair down to their hips who worked their way through most of the community farms and communes of the south of England, before settling down on the rolling hills in the heart of Hardy country.
I went to local state schools and did pretty well academically (until A levels); was generally seen as a bright, sensitive, quiet child, with an artistic and musical bent. As I got older I became more shy and shunned the lime-light. I played a leading stage roll when I was about 10, but after that preferred doing backstage (I only badly stumbled my lines once, but it still haunts me). I’ve been accepted by some as an honourary girl (or possibly ‘lesbian trapped in a man’s body’); was far more likely to be quietly talking/playing with them than running around with boys (who were into football and boring things like that). This may all sound too good to be true for husband material. However, there are some bloke-ish characteristics I annoy May with.
So that’s a synopsis, but to get to the interesting stuff let’s rewind a bit… when dinosaurs roamed the planet [too far – Ed]… my parents married as I was starting to make my presence obvious. The family legend is that they worked in the veg garden in the morning, put the bread to rise and wandered over to the registry office for the necessaries, baked the bread, finished the gardening and then drove up to posh grand-parents in London without even bothering to change or dress up at any point. Unfortunately, said posh grand-parents had arranged a surprise grand wedding reception, so my parents had to be smuggled in through the basement, so they could go and smarten up.
This casual, laissez-faire attitude is one of the first of the traits I have inherited and think worthy of further discussion/confession (although, rest assured, I did make more of an effort for our wedding :)). Generally it serves us well; I can be cool under pressure, take things as they come/go with the flow, etc. However, there seem to be a few downsides to this, mainly:
Appearing to not really care about things
I find it very difficult to maintain a concentrated interest/effort in things. This manifests itself in a couple of main ways:
- Not following things through
On the trivial level this means I’ll probably never get really good at hobbies, such as photography/music as I won’t put in the 10,000 hours in a constructive and useful way. On the less trivial end this leads to major relationship rows, as it doesn’t come naturally to me to ‘do my homework’ and think about my thoughts/feelings to be able to explain my odd or annoying behaviour to May.
- Flattened affect
I don’t ever/very rarely really get enthusiastic about things. For example, May loves Spring and will bask in the glory of buds, colours returning, sights and smells – talking with great energy and a spring in her step. I… don’t: “It’s Spring; it’s OK I suppose” “I like the colours of Autumn too”. I secretly admire May, but cannot muster similar feelings.
This also allies with an area Womb For Improvement asked specifically about – handling of miscarriage/bad news. I would like to think of myself as strong and supportive, although counselling and a few rows have snapped me out of this self-delusion. In reality it’s a *sigh*, *pause*, OK moving onwards… I’ll just put these strange emotional feelings that I don’t know how to handle or react to in this little box over here… Oh, yes May would probably like a hug… What can I do to fix something/anything… What laundry needs doing…?
Now, overall I think of this as my rational side – May hates me thinking this, as to her it consequently leads to me making/displaying some very irrational decisions/behaviours. For example May would ask me if I was upset after a miscarriage and I would quite calmly answer ‘not really’. Partly this is because I do/can not feel directly physically connected to the event – how could I by the very fact I wasn’t the one who was pregnant; the embryo was just a bunch of cells, not even a child – I didn’t see its face or feel its kick or corporeal presence. The other part is a lack of empathy and awareness of emotional responses.
My inability to properly recognise and deal with emotions is also probably another post (and it’s only relatively recently I’ve acknowledged them at all). But leaving that aside, I guess the let’s not get too bogged down in this, life happens, life goes on take that comes across as a ‘no use crying over spilt milk’ attitude that can (I now realise) seem at best slightly cold and uncaring, and at worst cruel and abandoning from an external perspective. I’m a sulker, rather than a wallower, so I will get taciturn (also unhelpful I’ve found out the hard way) and just try to keep myself occupied to work through the sulk and avoid the emotional distress… bit like goats really.