So I have been neglecting you guys and I apologise profusely. A few days ago I woke up to find City of Heavenly Fire awaiting me on my doorstep. No, seriously. I woke up at about 7.30 and there it was, in its little brown box, just begging to be unwrapped. Which I proceeded to do in the most animalistic way possible. So every moment that hasn’t been spent working or driving to work or doing birthday errands or sleeping, I’ve been reading the last book in probably my favourite YA series since Harry Potter. Yes, The Infernal Devices is my all time favourite series, but The Mortal Instruments has been with me for a lot longer. It’s kind of hard to explain. It’s like saying goodbye to Harry and his friends again, only I know I’ll see them again in The Dark Artifices.
So why am I writing today, then, when I should be reading to see how my beloved characters are going to get out of the heart-wrenching spot they just found themselves in? Because something happened last night.
I went to dinner at my dad’s friends’ house (down the road from me. I housesat for them, so it’s not weird. They’re lovely people). Anyway, it was nice. Just sitting around the fire and listening to a bunch of people chatting away. I got involved a little, but mostly I just listened. I’ve been on my own for about a week so just being around other people was comforting. I went inside to check my phone for a message from my sister, when the fire had made my jeans feel like the Devil had hold of my shins, and saw that friend of my dad’s cleaning up all the dinner stuff by himself. I could almost hear my mum’s voice scolding me, so I offered to help. I was halfway through the dishes when that friend asked me a question that I kind of knew I’d get asked eventually:
“So, Bec, why don’t you call your dad Dad?”
Now, my family history reads a little like a Hamlet, only without the killing. There’s adultery, abandonment, reappearances, deceit, betrayal, and confusion. I don’t really want to get into all of the sordid details because, well, it reads like a soap opera and it’s all ancient history. But essentially, the end scene is my dad remarrying and my mum staying single. And she has stayed single for most of my life.
Here’s the kicker: my dad and his wife are so perfect together it’s like being inside a romance novel’s happy ending every time I’m around them. They really are soul mates and it kind of gives me hope that marriage can actually work. You know, despite all of the sham celebrity marriages, people that give up after that one big fight, and those people who get married too soon who just simply grow apart.
So, now, when I got asked this question, I kind of developed verbal diarrhoea and spilled all of the details. The good, the bad, and the downright weird. I didn’t think much of it at the time, because when you ask someone a question like that, you know that you aren’t going to get a light and fluffy answer. It’s going to be full of hard truths and a bit of the ol’ emotion. But as I was cleaning the kitchen this morning, it occurred to me that I may have over-shared. Like, told too much of the truth. And I feel like I did something wrong, even though every single word of what I said was true. It might be because I shared with the wrong person, or that it was simply too much information or something else, but I still feel guilty.
The budding psychologist in me is asking why I did share so much. I think it may have something to do with my, self-inflicted, isolation. Even though “inflicted” has negative connotations; “imposed” maybe? So it may just have been the whole lack of conversation issue and I shared too much. Or, it may have been the fact that I’ve been repressing my emotions on certain issues and the opportunity to talk about said issues presented itself so I just blurted out all of these things my subconscious mind hadn’t told my conscious mind that I’ve been feeling. Or, it may have been cognitive dissonance. In case you don’t know what cognitive dissonance is, Simply Psychology defines it as:
Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviors.
This produces a feeling of discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviors to reduce the discomfort and restore balance etc.
I have two conflicting attitudes: loyalty for one party and happiness for another. These things can’t reconcile and so that cognitive dissonance caused me to blurt out a bunch of stuff that really isn’t anyone’s business but mine and my family’s.
Just wondering, guys, have you ever experienced epic cognitive dissonance? It’s weird, right?
I may have gotten a taste of this every time I make close friends, and they move away to better and greener pastures. I’m not sure. What I mean to say is that I’m happy for them, but I’m also extremely jealous that they’re getting to move on (especially as they won’t do anything to keep the friendship going long distance). So, yeah, bitterness on the one hand, and happiness for them on the other. And I don’t know how to balance that out other than not being so freakin’ needy. (And now I may have over shared…) It’s hardly of the same magnitude as what you’ve gone through with your family, so I don’t know if I’m even in the same ballpark with the whole cognitive dissonance thing. Yeah, I’m just gonna go and hide in this dark corner now. (How embarrassing.)
Nah, that makes total sense! The happy/jealous thing is so hard! Cognitive dissonance is full on. Amazing that we can hold so many conflicting beliefs and still manage to function. Everyone’s problems are important. Some are grave, some not so much, but none of that makes those problems any lesser to the person living through them. Compating problems just makes you sad. Trust me, I’ve been there. Hopefully everything gets better for you!