Tuesday, April 14, 2009
See this ugly old cactus just sitting in a pile of craggledy, sharp rocks?
This is what I was looking at, yesterday morning near my MIL's house. I had absented me from grim "felicity" awhile, and took myself and my take-out styrofoam of bad weak Texas coffee on a walk of sorts--really I left the house in tears but we won't dwell too long on the second, or perhaps the fourth, bout of semi-public weeping in a week. Let me tell you, it was no small feat for this reviled scullery-maid to free herself from the property. The gate there is strong and tall, the code to the keypad undisclosed, the remote hand-held device hidden away in the very bowels of the MIL's secured drawer...I finally squeezed myself through the bars with supernatural effort...
What I was musing on was the question of being liked. Which I am definitely not, by my mother in law. No, the old lady does not like me. Really, I believe, she hates me. Now, why should I care? I asked myself this as I paced the long road in the hot Texas sun. I've been pondering this awful problem since I read Brian's question--why do we need people to like us? Actually, I've been thinking about myself in relation to this question for ages now, ever since I first began to articulate to myself the fact that I really do want, need, people to like me.
The fact is, not everyone will like me. I've tried to be philosophical about it. After all, it's not possible that everyone, that every single person I encounter, will like me. I would sincerely hope that my ego could take it at this point in my life.
The problem is that, when I know someone doesn't like me, it puts me in a hideous ruminating spiral of existential fidgets, and I begin to run an inventory of all the ways in which I'm not likeable: neurotic, hot-tempered, controlling, weepy, nagging, myopic, stubborn, gloomy...fuck it, I'd better not list 'em all here, this special place where I can at least try to keep up some pretense...
And there's the awful prickly feeling that comes with being disliked. In Texas, I imagine that I am the icky person my mother-in-law believes me to be. Ungracious, difficult, and irascible. I've hated myself these past ten days.
So I suppose the answer to the question of being liked or not is...although in this case, I know intellectually my MIL's dislike is without cause and foundation...I'm still immature enough to reflect the dislike back on myself...do I need people to like me so I can like me?
What a dreadful thought.