Friday, February 01, 2008

The Only Sane Person in the Room

After spending a weekend with my relatives, I realized something about WG. He doesn't do well with crazy people. His relatives have their ups and downs, but his close relatives, at least, aren't openly passive aggressive or openly...uhm...nuts.

Now, to clarify, I'm not talking about my grandfather who has dementia. WG knows about that all too well, as his beloved grandmother suffered from the same thing before she died about five years ago.

No, I'm talking about the perfectly healthy people who have the potential to be sane. But aren't.

Having grown up surrounded by these types of people, I can easily sink back into the behavior of my home/family environment. I have trouble answering direct questions. I have speak in the language of those who dwell in the valley of the passive aggressive. I know how to manipulate the language to get my way.

Like I said in my earlier post, I think WG died a little each time he had to manipulate the minefield of passive aggression. He hates it when I slip into that behavior in the course of an argument ("Nothing's wrong. No, nothing. I'm fine. Why won't you fix what's wrong?"), but to experience an entire family that operates that way? Whoa. Too much.

So, I imagine he felt a bit like the only sane person in the room.

But then I got to thinking. I got to thinking about some of his super quirky friends, with their creative minds and their layered outfits with colorful scarves. I got to thinking about his family, and their complete normalcy. I related this to my struggle throughout my life to be "normal."

I think that when you grow up with a particular brand of crazy in your household (or, as is the case with me, in the homes of your extended family), you expend a great deal of energy trying to be normal, trying not to delve completely into the behavior of your family.

When you have a "normal" family (if such a thing really exists), you can simply allow your personality to develop, crazy or otherwise.

WG, his friends and some of his relatives, could develop differently than me (and many of my friends, because they weren't the only sane ones in the room.

Growing up in a saner family gives license to explore some of the quirkier elements of one's personality. When you're simply trying to stay afloat in denial (it ain't just a river in Egypt, folks) and passive aggression, there's no energy left over to learn how to sing like the folks on the Juno soundtrack. Instead, you simply survive.

I've survived, and for that I am grateful.

Maybe when I'm certain I can move beyond the insanities of my family, when I'm done with my Grace Kelly phase, I'll have the time to be that truly quirky girl I know I'm meant to be.

1 comment:

ruby said...

Quirky is good, insane is not. I'm glad you're going with the quirky option.