The Contrarian

It’s not easy having an opinion that differs from the vast majority.

It’s even worse when that vast majority is your family and the soon-to-be in-law family.

I’ve lived my young life being myself and that meant a lot of disagreeing. When it was suggested my son had oppositional defiance disorder, I laughed. It made sense because that seemed to be a theme of mine growing up. I argued almost anything and most of the time it was never intentional.

Arguing to me was like breathing: involuntary and necessary.

As I grew into my adult skin, I’ve learned to curb my natural tenancies to disagree. I’ve learned to silence my natural inclination to debate everything. I can now listen to what others have to say without thinking of ways to debate it.

What can I say? I’ve matured.

But the inclination is still there. It’s deep within my spirit to disagree and I find myself doing so when I feel trapped. Backed into a corner over a situation I can’t find comfort in, I lash out and make room to escape with my sharp tongue and my opposing opinion.

Recently, I’ve been more argumentative than usual and it’s because I’ve found myself on the path to joining my life with another in the foreseeable future. This idea in and of itself is wonderful and I can’t wait for the planning and discussions to be done and for it to be official. But the idea of hosting/paying for a larger than life event for a single day to celebrate has been a major cause of stress and anxiety.

If I struggled in my younger years with defiance and opposition, then I’m wallowing in it now. But there is a catch…I’m not purposely doing it to defy any one person, I’m honestly against something I feel is not in my best interest.

And yet, when the option of not having some garish, over-priced party that I’m truly against is mentioned, I’m admonished for considering it. That in some way, my wish to save money and put it towards my future life and family instead of a few hours of dancing and drinks is an awful idea and I’m an awful person for considering.

Bad reluctant bride-to-be, bad!

And then I’m left stuck in a corner, the weight and pressure of family and friends opinions pressing against me and I find myself speaking out of turn and with a note of defiance. Everything I’ve done to confine this part of me is slow working its way out. I don’t think people are ready for this side of me.

The contrarian is slowly surfacing and I have a feeling it’ll get worse before it gets better.

Let’s just hope I don’t cut of my nose to spite my face. Or that I don’t alienate myself from my future family. Or even my own family…

Sigh…

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Release

These shackles and chains,
they bind me to my past.
I wait to find the key, to be released.

Some say it is in my power,
my will to find the ability
to unlock the chains that
confine me so tightly.

They are right,

partly.

There is still a peace I seek,
a freedom in knowing,
you are far from me,
distracted and contained.

Unable to seek me out.

I stumble and make my way,
living a busy life of

[this and that]

looking for a key,
a sign,
that I’m out of danger.

That I am safe.

Without knowing,
I forget the gag and chains,
I begin to live despite it all.

I live
I laugh
I love

And there…

in the midst of all this living,

I found peace.

My wrists are unbound,
my voice free,
my life

Mine.

Loose Ends

I’m a pretty responsible person. I pay my bills on time, I set up my dental appointments for every 6 months before I even leave after my cleaning, and I rarely, if ever, fall below my account balance.

I’m pretty dependable. You ask me to be there at 5:30pm for dinner, I’ll probably show up around 5:15pm with a bottle of wine and a side dish. If a party invite arrives, I respond within 24 hours even if it’s just to say “I may be able to make it, I’ll update you as soon as I know.” Rarely are there unanswered voicemails on my phone.

But something changed recently. I started to slip. First it was a balance of a bill at the dentist office. I don’t remember what it was for and I vaguely remember paying the first partial while at the office but in the end I was receiving notices about an unpaid amount and that drastic action would be taken to collect.

I was shocked and a bit dismayed that I was never verbally contacted or reminded of this bill.

I was also shocked that I never followed up or cared much until it got too late.

So unlike me…

Then I learned of a fee on my son’s lunch account at school. One that angered me because my son is not a recipient of hot lunches but instead a student who brings his own meal. Instead of calling or questioning this small dollar amount, I let it slide. That is until I received an email threatening the closure of his hot lunch account until the small amount of $4.75 was paid.

In the end I wrote out a check and left it with the school secretary. The account is paid in full and there will be no further actions taken against us due to the measly little fee but I still feel resentful.

Doesn’t matter… it’s taken care of now.

Then there is the issue of my home. I’m a renter and I have the pleasure of renting a nice little condo in a quiet little community. Even so, I’m rarely there. And my lack of attendance at my little place has turned into an issue. First it was the dental bill I never received because I wasn’t picking up my mail regularly. Then there was the issue of an inspection I missed. One that would result in a fee towards my landlady’s HOA account.

Ooops…

What has happened to me? I’ve become so slovenly and careless. While there is some responsibility resting on the shoulders of the other parties involved, if I had been on top of things like I usually am, I would have caught most of these issues before they had become issues.

Somehow I’ve let go. Maybe it’s because I’ve become tired of the constant weight on my shoulders or maybe it’s due to the recent changes and shifts my family has been through. Maybe I just wanted a break.

I think I could even blame it on love. Falling for someone gives you a sense of dreaminess that clouds the day-to-day doings. Life is too rosy and beautiful in behind the shades of romance to bother with the bills and household maintenance.  “Can’t stop to check for termites! Have a date with a wonderful man!”

No matter the cause, the effect is starting to wear on me. All these loose ends hanging around were bound to bother me at some point and it seems that the veil has lifted and now life is staring me full force in the face, threatening to consume me.

So I did what I would have done had I been in the right frame of mind: I made calls, paid the bills, set up appointments and put in place a few comments to avoid any future issues. Like a note with some companies to call me instead of mailing statements and bills.

All the loose ends have now been tied up neatly and nicely. I’m free of the obligations I had left to fester on their own. And I feel a bit better. I’m disappointed with myself for allowing my life to take over and blind me to the responsibilities that never took a break. That were always there.

But the lesson has been learned; life continues to move on even if you stop for a while to smell the roses.