Having a counsellor to talk to is fascinating. Having a good counsellor to talk to is, well, everyone should try it. (Everyone! A good one, mind!) One of my counsellor’s particular rules is I am not allowed to blame myself and beat myself up over, well, anything, really, as I have a terrible tendency to sit there staring up at the light-fixtures to stop tears overflowing my lower eye-lids, saying things like ‘If only I’d realised, if only I’d known, if only I’d tried to do X instead of Y…’
‘If only shmonly,’ says my counsellor, ‘You did the best you could with the information you had.’
In the course of this sequence of not-being-allowed-to-diss-myself, we also discussed why I diss myself. (Family dysfunction hununga rutoot nureek squilookle, tedious predictable). And I had an insight. Or a resight. All my life, the people around me, the ones whose opinion was most formative and important, told me that I was not worthy of love. I don’t think they meant to do that, honestly, but the messages were, variously, ‘you talk too much. Stop showing off, it puts men off. No one likes a smartarse woman. You’d be so pretty if you were thinner. It’s a shame you need glasses. You make too many jokes, men prefer it if they’re the funny ones in a relationship. Why do you have to be so opinionated? Have you lost weight? Why aren’t you a doctor/lawyer/professor yet?’
(Eeep, my family are such sexist bastards. Eeep).
I spent years thinking I’d never marry because no one at all would ever want to marry me. Why on earth would they?
And then H loved me, and my Important People were so! Very! Pleased! Because H, H was great. H was talented and good-tempered and thoughtful and did the washing-up and could cook and had a good job and was so patient with May. So patient. Look at H, putting up with May sounding off again! Amazing. Wow, now he’s being proud of her being funny! Look! Isn’t it special? Isn’t she lucky that he appreciates her jokes?
So, that was the dynamic, at least in my own head, for a very long time. H was The Great Catch, and I was the lucky, lucky, possibly undeserving inferior being who had caught him. God knows with what. Limed twigs? A large net and a trident?
We could flip this, couldn’t we? May is bright, articulate, funny, opinionated-in-a-good-way, has great hair, talented, cooks a fabulous lasagne, and actually quite a few people like (really really like) full-breasted curvy girls with neat ankles and a habit of poking their glasses up their noses and looking fiercely at things. How did H luck out and catch her? Watch May putting sweetly up with his ineptitude in all things literary! Awww, she’s explaining the neurobiology of consciousness to him again. Remember when she patiently showed him how to wash the outside of bowls and saucepans before stacking them in the cupboard? Isn’t he so very lucky he’s found a life-partner that makes him laugh like the proverbial drain on a daily basis? I wish my spouse made me laugh like a drain on a daily basis.
(Yeah, no, it was a resight. I just remembered this poem from June 2011.)