People talk to me. Always have. They tell me stuff that has been weighing heavy on them. Strangers, family, framily, friends. I always listen and, according to the situation, I take a few quiet moments before I respond because I take it seriously. I mean...it's hard for a person to share something they are struggling with when they would like further clarification. No matter who the person is they are confiding in.
Because of all this...I've determined that there isn't much new under the sun even as there have been a few times when I've been speechless initially and all I could do was *BLINK*.
A while ago, someone came to me and shared a situation that has been bothering her for a minute now. See...she has a good group of girlfriends. They all spend a lot of time together. Most of them are stay-at-home moms living the perfect life outside in. The person telling me this is married, in a high powered corporate position and her husband is a high-level executive as well. They have children and all the things that come with having children. House, cars, private schools, family vacations, mommy group meetings, sorority and fraternity meetings, couple vacations, girlfriend trips, sports, dance, tutoring, church, etc.
On the couple vacations they travel with the couples in the good group of girlfriends. During the girlfriend trips, they go someplace fabulous and enjoy being with each other without husbands and children.
All seems pretty lovely from where I'm sitting listening to this.
That good life ish.
So the person telling me this...(We'll call her Olive...just because I'm sitting next to a character analysis of a character I'm working on named Olive. LOL!)...OLIVE is busy. EXTREMELY busy. Climbing her level of corporate ladder is hard work and the industry she is in is fast paced. Her husband is in the same industry. Think BIG.PAYCHECKS.
Olive is textbook Type A personality. Olive comes from a Type A family of "NO EXCUSES." She has always been the type of person who saw a problem and dealt with it head-on and she doesn't let much rattle her. When it comes to home and family, she's learned to leave the stresses of work at the office and focus on her marriage and her children being happy and healthy. So...she's the kind of person that doesn't complain much because she's learned that complaining doesn't fix a damn thing. If something is wrong, pull up your sleeves and fix it.
Olive's husband is very hand's on with the kids and he loves his wife. He's much less of a Type A personality than his wife is and follows her lead on certain things like finding the best schools, etc. Olive and her husband have the perfect relationship for them. Of course there are disagreements because hey...that's marriage, but nobody has ever left the house, drove off mad and stayed gone. They might stew in it for a minute...but, Olive's point is..."Hey...we got these kids. Ain't nobody got time for crazy."
Once a month, Olive's close group of girls (sorority sisters and mommy group friends) all get together for a girl's night out. Lots of wine is normally involved and it generally ends up turning into an emotional dump for everyone. They bitch about their husbands, their children, their mother-in-laws, all of that. Olive tries to be the person who helps bring it all into perspective. "Girl, your husband loves you, all men do crazy ish, you shouldn't take everything your mother-in-law says as an insult, the other parent at the school might not have been trying to one up you, your husband just bought you a new Audi for Christmas and yall have that big azz house, do you really think it's wise to expect him to take you on that 3 week trip to Europe for your birthday in February when his company just announced layoffs are looming?"
She tries to be encouraging and supportive.
She invites their children over for sleepovers so that a couple who sounds like they are having issues can have some downtime together. She just tries to help whenever she can but she's not the type of person who asks for help from anyone outside of her family. When she needs someone to watch her kids, she has a babysitter. When she and her husband travel together, either her mother or her husband's mother comes to stay with the kids. They just aren't the type of people who ask other people to do stuff for them.
She is helpful where she can be helpful.
It never fails, however, that when Olive is headed home after the monthly bitch session that she thinks to herself..."Why are they always bitching about simple shit? If your husband did some shit that pissed you off...why in the hell didn't you tell him about it instead of stewing in it for weeks? If your mother-in-law came to help you unpack your beautiful new home, why are you mad that she put the glasses in a cabinet you didn't want them in? Why not simply say...Mama J...would you mind putting those glasses in that cabinet instead? If your husband's sister needs a place to stay for two weeks while she transitions to the city...why not welcome her with open arms and make it as comfortable for her as possible in the guest suite that is on a completely opposite end of your big azz house that you had to have that your husband, her brother, works hard to provide while you get to stay home while the kids are at school and pick them up after?"
Yall get the picture.
She doesn't SAY these things to them like that...but she does let them know that these situations wouldn't be a big deal TO HER.
Recently, at a monthly dress up, get wasted and bitch session, everyone got quiet awkwardly and started staring at Olive. Olive took a sip of her wine and was like...
The head complainer (who you'd honestly think was living the most miserable life given to man), started with...
"We want to talk to you."
Olive looked around the table, put on her game face and sat up straight. (You know...that way you do when your boss calls you into her/his office saying he/she needs to talk to you.)
"Okay, talk. What's going on?"
Head Complainer: "We were all talking (Olive made note of that) and we realized that you never share with us. You never tell us anything that is bothering you. You never talk about anything going on with you and Chris (made up name for fictitious Olive's husband) or anything. It's all very surface with you and you always come across as everything is so perfect and not a big deal."
Olive sits back and says, "No, never said anything is perfect, but I just don't let the same types of things bother me that appear to bother yall."
Head Complainer: "Oh come on...so Chris doesn't do ANYTHING that pisses you off?"
Olive: "Chris annoys the shit out of me all the time but at the end of the day, he's my husband and the father of my children and I'm not about to drag him."
Head Complainer: "Oh...you mean like we do?"
Olive: "Hey...Chris pissed me off yesterday morning. He knew I had an early morning meeting and, instead of putting his car in the garage last night after the gym, he pulled up in the driveway behind where my car comes out of the garage. So I had to move his car before I could move my car because he was upstairs getting the kids ready for school. But I moved the car and got to my meeting on time. I was annoyed but then he called and said he couldn't find the brush to do our daughter's hair and I realized that him getting the kids ready alone this morning was something I should be grateful for because I know a lot of people whose husbands don't help with that sort of thing."
Head Complainer: "Like my husband."
Olive: "Your words, not mine. I've never let Chris think that I was Superwoman. WE have kids and a home and bills and family and friends to take care of. Not just me. WE. So that means WE need to do what needs to be done. If he gets home first, he starts dinner. He takes the kids to school, I pick them up. I am not a single mother so there is no reason I need to do everything for our kids on my own."
The other women started looking down at their drinks at this point while Head Complainer kept complaining saying how they all wanted to be close and felt that Olive holds back for whatever reason. It ended with Olive basically saying, "Look...I've seen bad marriages. My parents had one. I learned to not let small shit wreck my flow because I don't have time for that. I don't have the luxury to nor do I want to not work. I put in solid 9 hours of work before I get home to my family and I don't want to be miserable or unhappy so I don't let little stuff annoy me. I just want my kids to be happy and healthy and I want to grow old with my husband and travel the world with him once we get our last kid out of college in 20 years or so. I don't want to be mad all the time. I don't want to hold stuff in all the time. Me and my husband get it out. Yall have been with us and seen it in action. And we're always respectful, because we respect each other and we know how busy we are and what we don't have time for. I'm sorry yall think I don't share intentionally but that's not the case...I simply don't stay annoyed about small shit long enough for it to be share worthy."
They all hugged and kissed kumbayaish and left after the subjects changed.
But it was awkward. Tre' awkward.
On the drive home...Olive was feeling some kind of way. She focused on the fact they all got together and had an intervention because she didn't bitch about her life the way they did. As Olive turned into her driveway she wondered...SHOULD I BACK UP OFF THESE CHICKS?
When she shared it with me, that was her question to me.
I pondered it and answered her even though I didn't need to ponder it. I knew what I was going to say immediately. I just didn't want to come across as ugly.
What would YOU have told her?
What do YOU think about the "intervention?"
Do you feel like you have to share everything in order to be close with your girlfriends?