When my husband and I became engaged, we knew we did not want to wait very long to get married. Why wait? We knew we wanted to be together, and we wanted our engagement to be short enough to minimize extra stresses and anxieties but just long enough to sort everything out and make our plans. While we were trying to find a date that would work, we worked to coordinate a time that would be appropriate for our immediate family and closest friends. My husband and I both checked with our most important people, and we were thrilled by how painless it was to find a few possible dates that were good for everyone. ..well, almost everyone.
My closest friend expressed during many conversations and in many emphatic ways that she was not pleased with my timing. I asked what dates or weekends would work for her.
Why, none, but thanks for asking.
Why were we getting married so quickly anyway?
Did we realize that life doesn’t always revolve around us?
Regardless of what we chose, it was going to be incredibly inconvenient for her.
Ouch. That was not at all the response I was expecting. I was shocked. She had previously been very excited about my relationship with my (now) husband, and she knew we were planning to get married in the near future. I did not understand why she was now abruptly hanging up on me during phone conversations, snapping at me during conversations, and telling me that I was being exceptionally selfish when I was bending over backwards trying to figure out how to accommodate her. (I actually remember one phone conversation during which I had worked myself into such an anxious state that I was hanging upside down off my bed and pounding on the floor while talking to her. That’s pretty close to literally bending over backwards!) I was hurt and puzzled. I tried to apply logic to the situation to sort out why she was acting and speaking in a way that simply did not match what I knew about her. There was a bitter resentment aimed my direction that I was unable to explain or understand.
I understand now.
This understanding hit me today, just about when a colleague asked me with a mischevious glint in her eye if my husband and I were going to be having kids soon. Reading between the lines (and noticing her eyes darting downward towards me during our conversation), I realized that she was wondering whether I was wearing many winter layers, had eaten too many treats over the weekend, or was sheltering a mini little being-in-the-making under my sweaters. Ugh. The question was uncomfortable — who likes to be told in a veiled way that they need a diet? — but I was able to easily answer it with a standard, boring response. (“Oh, well, someday, but not in the immediate future!”) What bothered me was the intense frustration that I felt when she asked. We’re not very far into this baby-making process, but I already find myself wanting to shout “Mind your own business, you nosy twit! OF COURSE we want to have a baby, and I don’t know when it is going to happen, but hopefully it will be soon. Now get me another cookie!”
That was unexpected.
Suddenly I had a flash to a conversation that I had with my friend during the wedding planning, one that ended with me in tears and wondering why she was so angry. Today, while I was feeling unexpectedly and uncharacteristically annoyed at this well-meaning if nosy and tactless coworker, I realized that what my friend was feeling is similar to what I felt today.
Resentment that I do not yet have what I want and that I do not know when I am going to have it.
Disappointment that other people do have what I want.
Annoyance that I cannot say what I really think about it.
Today, during this eureka! moment, I was finally able to identify the emotions and thoughts that have been nagging me for several weeks. The things I have felt…
…when I learned that an acquaintance/friend (who is pretty similar in regards to career, age, marriage, etc.) is 12 weeks pregnant. Amid all of the audible gasps and congratulations from the women in the cluster around us when she announced she is pregnant, I found myself wanting to cry and forcing a smile. That was unexpected.
…when I read a news story about a quasi-celebrity’s pregnancy with baby #20. First, shouldn’t this make me sad for humanity instead of frustrated and longing for just *one* baby soon? And yet, I wanted to scream at the computer and shout about how unfair it is. That was unexpected.
…when I saw the posts on Facebook about my cousin’s pregnancy – and my other cousin’s pregnancy. I am thrilled for both women, one pregnant with her second baby and the other pregnant with her fifth. I was surprised to find myself bitterly muttering to myself that they should stop flaunting it and be more sensitive. That was unexpected.
…when I learned about an acquaintance who is dealing with the shock of discovering an unplanned pregnancy soon after breaking up with a longterm boyfriend. This woman is in her mid-20s and is stunned and overwhelmed. She is adjusting to the news, but it sounds like she is currently devastated. My first thoughts were not of sympathy and compassion; rather, I was jealous and surprisingly judgmental. That was unexpected.
It is not logical, nor does it feel good to experience these emotions. Regardless, they pop up, and I find myself trying my hardest to push them away and remember that it is okay, my life is okay, and it will all work out. Something will work out.
It is just *really* difficult to remember that and even more difficult to fight those crappy, resentful, annoyed, disappointed feelings.
I understand now.