I notice when around others who are also lacking self-esteem, I flounder, and bluster, and have such trouble. While camping with just my husband two nights at Treeman State Park, I slept, and without sleep aids. I slept soundly and all night. I adhered to what my needs called for; ramping down long before bedtime, being quiet, just watching the fire, almost bored, my husband asking, “So what’s on tonight?”
And we both chuckle, as it’s our habit to watch TV in the evenings happily, he in the living room, me in our bedroom. It puts me to sleep and is on a timer. Habits. I need them. My tired out immune system needs them, including the TV. But I’m alright with my husband, who tolerates my habits, and more than that, has his own which match mine, both of us rather shy, and quiet.
Put me with that pompous ass, Harry, Carol’s husband, who has bigger and better of everything, and I have to use sleep aids, and did both nights while camping at Fillmore Glen. I hate that and use them sparingly because they make me groggy all the next day. He had the ‘bigger camper, the bigger veranda on the camper, more wood and a bigger truck, so we should spend our time over at their site,’ he kept saying repeatedly.
His over-sized truck can accommodate four, ‘so we should ride up to the trails with him and Carol, in the back seat,’ with their two stinky dogs on our laps. That part he left out, but it did dawn on me that in the back cab we would be stuffed in with those two mutts who stunk like old wet laundry and shed mercilessly.
I like those two mild mannered dogs who were strays and had suffered quite a lot before being adopted. But I wondered at their new home as Harry yanked on the leash when his temper flared or he didn’t get his own way. It is still making me wake at 3 or 4am in the mornings as I try to make sense of his psycho behaviors that I felt subject to.
And I try to figure it out. Samuel is just not in to figuring out other’s behaviors and tends to think I am the problem and weird one because other’s get to me so much. And perhaps that is partially true. Other wacko’s do get to me. Treat me fair and I am yours, I open, I can trust if you are trustworthy, very rarely others are. (trustworthy) Not in my little world. Perhaps I need to broaden my world just a bit.
I want to talk to Samuel about Harry, so I can put him to rest. Then I can rest. But Samuel talks about motors and electricity. And I cannot talk to my other friends about a husband we all know. That is just bad form, talking about another’s husband. But maybe my angst is a positive memory to keep so I won’t be tempted to agree to another stint of having to tolerate Harry. It is just not worth it. The idea of camping with them sounded good, but the constant bragging and pressure to do and be where he wanted us to be, in order to pump up his ego, just exhausted me.
Saying ‘No’ to his repeated pressures to ride in his truck which is the size of a house, or spend night two over at his site again, sitting in full sun, took a lot out of me. And standing up to Samuel, who would rather just go along with what Harry wanted, rather than what I preferred, was not fun either. I was on my own, and then there was the three of them.
When Harry came over to our site, nestled in shade, with my fire going, he rebelled. ‘OK, so you won’t come to my better camper again on night two so I can bask in your admiration of all my bigger, better stuff? I’ll just fucking ignore you and disrespect you, and play on my god dammed phone all night because that is more interesting than being with friends and learning more about you and your life,’ as we play games then sit around the fire.
My ideal camping mates? Playing games together as if we were together, not one person on the internet while playing. And then staring into the fire while those dreamy big philosophies, thoughts and ideas erupted and we shared them with fun, laughter and excitement, feeling warmed by company rather than repelled by them.
That is how I how I felt with Harry and his phone. Do I want technical devices while camping? No. I knew about him and his tendency for boasting. I guess I forgot how bad it was, or maybe I have just come into my own and care about my own needs, or am beginning to. I have to. An aging body needs much more care and upkeep. I need to be with others who are able to not only care for themselves, but are also able to support my needs, or even be aware that others are around them!
Harry is not one of them. I still believe that when I am this upset about being with others, it’s not about them, but about me. I have to self-regulate. If I know someone will interfere with the necessary things I need daily to insure the simplest of my everyday needs, sleep, and self-love, then I need to make the choice to not be around them, and/or speak up.
Speaking up at the time? I don’t know. I think that would definitely cause much friction and many nasty responses from Carol. Not worth it. She knows how he is. She was making excuses for him, and mentioning very delicately that perhaps while camping he ought to keep the cell phone off. And he countered with excuses about how important the phone calls were.
I’m not sure though about all the fiddling with it during game time, and what could have been interesting conversation. Is checking the current temperature that important, or using an on-line calculator to add up Yahtzee scores? Oh, I get it, bigger and better than our paper and pencils.
Tolerating the flaws in others has not been my forte in the past. I begin to trust then, what? You’re not perfect? Time to move on, retreat, put up walls. But as I learn to accept my own flaws, and love myself despite them, I learn to accept others also, the whole package. But accepting others is not the same as feeling victim to them. That is not acceptable. Maybe once a pompous ass, always a pompous ass. Maybe I should have taken a bottle of rum.