Adulting One Baby Step at a Time

“I’m mad at you.” – me to my mom today

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I can image that someone reading this blog and all its emotional musing about food, weight, and childhood would think that the author – me – was probably in her twenties, maybe early thirties.

Nope. I’m 49 years old. 

Well, to be completely accurate, the outer, physical part of me is 49. The inner, emotional part hovers around ten or eleven. 

Stunted emotional growth is one of the unfortunate consequences of experiencing trauma and addiction, and I’ve had both. I understand that I’m not at the emotional level I should be at the ripe old age of almost 50, but I am not ashamed of it.

Complicated Splendor of Me

So here’s a breakdown of my composition:

  • The outside me is living a 49-year-old age-appropriate life: I get shots of botulism regularly injected into my crow’s feet, pay a lot of money to turn my gray roots blond, and throw down large chunks of my paycheck into my 401k every other week because retirement is, honest to God, not that far away.
  • The inside me reacts to life in a very childlike matter: I freak out when I think somebody is mad at me, I’m more concerned with my boss (any boss) liking me than doing a good job, and I spend the post-bills money like that retirement is never coming.

And when I get around my mom – with whom I am spending a ten-day vacation on a cruise ship, my current location – I go right into little kid mode.

Mom’s Fussy

So, let’s just say that Mom doesn’t travel well. She’s fine once she gets situated but getting her there is a struggle. She gets anxious, which makes her fussy. And when she gets fussy, she starts barking.

At me.

My mom had been barking at me all day today and finally, right before lunch, she barked one too many times. I did my usual silent seething until I took a few deep breaths and realized that I had a voice and was fully capable of using it.

“I’m mad at you,” I said over my bowl of Louisiana gumbo (which was truly delicious).

She raised her eyebrows. “Why?” She looked a little defensive but nothing serious.

I explained calmly and factually what had upset me, we talked through it, enjoyed our lunch, and went on to board the cruise ship, on which I currently write.

In that moment, I grew up a little.

I realized that my mom probably treats me like a child because I act like one. The silent seething I alluded to earlier is an example of my childlike behaviors. Like I wrote about in Day 14, I’ve had an extremely long childhood.

I can’t keep acting like a child if I don’t want to be treated like one. So today I took a baby step and I’ll take more tomorrow and the day after until I’m up and walking.

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