Anyone who has known me for awhile knows that I have a somewhat aggressive personality. I do not mean that I randomly punch people (although I often wish I could) or that I frequently pick fights with my spouse. (Actually Matthew and I hardly ever argue, perhaps because we often get to kick each other. Sparring is fantastic for a marriage.) No, when I say I am aggressive I mean that I go after things full throttle and do not stop until I am satisfied. If something is wrong in my life I do my damnedest to fix it. If something is wrong in someone else's life I'll fix that too! I hate being sick or injured or anything else that slows me down and I am that annoying patient who will not let the doctor put anything near me without first explaining what it is for and why I need it.
For the most part I am a perfectly polite, friendly, non judgmental person. But if someone is bothering me I ask them to stop. If you cut me in line I politely remind you to get your ass to the back. I am not one to shy away from confrontation if I feel it is necessary and there are few things that irk me more than excessive whining.
I am a doer. This makes me absolutely terrible at dealing with things that I cannot do anything about. Waiting? I suck at it. Time heals all wounds? Not if I have anything to say about it. And patience? Lets just say the two of us are not friends. The AA serenity prayer could have been written about me.
When I was pregnant there were few things I hated more than unsolicited advice. Especially because half of it is just bragging. That is so great that you made your own baby food out of mashed sweet potato and fresh herbs that you grew on your windowsill. Prenatal yoga is awesome, good for you! And yes I do plan on nursing. How long? As long as I feel like it. And no you cannot touch my belly. I DON'T KNOW YOU!
People can come to me with their problems, I am a great listener. Feel free to cry on my shoulder. The only catch is that after I hear your story I will then come up with no fewer than 156 solutions. Whether you asked for my help or not.
I really do mean well. I do not like to see people I love in pain. So I try to fix things. A lot. And often I cross the line from helpful to downright obnoxious.
Today was one of those days. I went to visit my father who recently had hip replacement surgery. His recovery is slow but every day he gets a little bit stronger, does a little bit more. Still he is afraid of falling and the last time I visited he mentioned that he felt more secure when I helped him walk because I was stronger than my mother. He also mentioned that he did not have much of an appetite that day. What did I do? I suddenly became his nutritionist, his psychiatrist and his physical therapist all rolled into one. I brought him smoothies. I told him all about what color his urine should be to insure that he was properly hydrated. (Yes we did really have this conversation. Yes I know that is gross. You should hear us at the Thanksgiving table!) I broke out the walker and the cane and one of those gyro-tonics machines that look like torture devices. (Ok, I lie, I don't have one of those. But if I did...) I came up with motivational phrases and encouraging mantras. In other words I was an overzealous, exhausting pain in the ass.
I meant well. But it would have sufficed to say "Hey dad, I am here if you need anything. Oh and by the way, it is nice to see you." And maybe "I put a yummy smoothie in the fridge if you want it later."
I am not as bad as those health obsessed people who scowl at your food and then proceed to tell you what they feed cows, how many calories are on your plate and every detail of how you are slowly killing yourself. But I can be pretty annoying. And even if I am right about everything (which of course I am!), you can't make people be healthier. In other words, I can lead the horse to water, but if he wants to drink Pepsi there is not a damn thing I can do about it.
It is good to be a fighter, to attack the world with clenched fists and ferocious screaming. But sometimes, a quiet whisper is more appropriate. I need to learn how to do both.
Also, I wouldn't lose my voice so often.