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"I can handle seeing you once every six to twelve months for a weekend, or maybe an evening, or just dinner.  And, it would be better for me if you didn't bring Godfry along."  I repeated his words back to him, verbatim, and he said, yes, that was what he wanted.  It hit me in a way I simply was not expecting.  James had called me up at home after he told us on our drive to Toronto that couldn't squeeze us into his schedule yet again.  This was the what...fourth time?  I can smell a snub.

Evidently, my attempts to keep up our family friendship with James and Lisa were too much for James.  We were all great friends at university.  We hung around together and started new traditions.  Lisa was the first one I told when Gavin kissed me.  Throughout that fateful conversation James told me how I am too intense, how he is emotionally exhausted after he sees me, and he just doesn't need me, and by extension Gavin in his life anymore.  I was stunned.  I told him he was the only one who had ever said anything like this–my intensity (too much) and being poor company.  James stood by his words.  That was 11 years ago.  I haven't seen either of them since.

There was a moment in life where a certain light bulb went off and it occurred to me I don't have to be like my father.  Simply put, my father has what I call a Jesus complex.  He carries the weight of the world on his shoulders.  He feels guilty for the blessed life he leads, for his successes, for his wealth compared to those he sees begging on the streets on his various trips to Southeast Asia and beyond.  If I allow myself to, I can see how this personality trait might exist in me.  Not to the extent my father is bit by the intensity bug, by any stretch of imagination.  I don't walk around with the guilt my father carries.  But, there are little bits of that intensity here and there.  I have to and do admit this.  I spend time in my head.  A lot.  So then, is this what James was referring to?  If so, why don't any of my other friends share his frustration with my intensity that supposedly leaves one exhausted after an evening together?

Back to being genetically predisposed to liking/disliking things–my post yesterday.  If I follow that logic (yes, my aunts and cousins do go through food phases much like our great-great-grandmother went through) and see we receive certain personality traits from our ancestry, then my father's intensity with which he lives his life has been passed onto me to one extent or another.  Do I really believe this?  It is the latter part, the "to one extent or another" which is important to me.  It's one thing to go through food phases and say this quirky little trait is from my great-great-grandmother.  It is different when it is a trait more serious.  I go back to the nature vs. nurture question.  Do some people grow up into violent felons because they saw that growing up and assumed it was a part of expressing anger and getting things done?  Are people religious zealots because that's what they were raised with?  Or, is it in the blood?  Is it in our genes?  Do I have moments of being intense because I saw that in my father, or am I just like this all on my own?  Is my personality my own?  Is there a happy medium where my personality is a product of my environment and the genes I have in me?

Back to that light bulb.  It occurred to me I didn't have to be like my father.  So, I went through a long "fuck it" phase.  Things I can't do anything about?  Stop thinking about them.  Etc., etc., etc.  I needed to swing the pendulum to the extreme opposite direction and let it all go so I could end up somewhere in the middle.  It worked.  My father still feels guilty for his successes.  I don't.  There are ways in which I can make a difference.  I have learned to recognize those and embrace them.  There are also things I cannot change.  Those I let go.

I see I am getting intense and my tea is getting cold.  That's my cue to exit.

Going from accepting this fact to acknowledging James as being right–that's a leap more difficult for me to make.  If he weren't the only making this assertion, if others said things less biting but similar, then I might be more willing to entertain this notion my intensity is a turn off.


Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Lisab41 wrote Jan 4, 2009
    • Stella~you bring up a very interesting point about nature vs nuture. I am adopted and when I had medical issues I was sent my birth mothers med hx. They also included a “personality profile” for both birth parents. Reading about my birth mother was liking looking in a mirror. I never spent time with this person yet she did everything I did/enjoyed everything I enjoy. Yet I also find my mother (adopted) coming out and the wierdest times. Can we be both? I think so...

      I too have had friends say something about my personality traits. I am too open and too accepting. Ok what the heck? Can you be “too” warm and open? It was hard to say goodbye to those friends but realized this is who I am and I like who I am! I don’t need the negativity in life. I think there is always things people would change about themselves but I don’t really know if you can change the core.

      It sounds as you have changed for the better because you maybe worry less. It is all about us, ourselves and how we feel about us.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Mz. Queen wrote Jan 4, 2009
    • Sounds like you’ve found yourself in the midst of it all. Now it’s up to you, whay to do with this new information.

      [Link Removed]

      47ntiredorunnin, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Stellababette wrote Jan 4, 2009
    • Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for what you wrote both about your history as well as your friends.  It’s hard to be “dumped” but I firmly believe (I would, of course!) this is his loss and not mine.

      As for personality traits we may or may not have picked up from our ancestry, I continue to wonder how much of me is “me” and how much is from my lineage.  I’m not sure I’ll ever figure it out, but oddly enough, I’m OK with that!

      Keep being warm and open and accepting.  This world needs more people like you! :)


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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Stellababette wrote Jan 4, 2009
    • 47ntiredorunnin,

      Thanks for your note.  Finding myself is fun.  Not done yet, though!!!


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