Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Perils of Forcing Change

Cup Day we had family and friends gather at hour home. The sun shone; the women looked fantastic in their hats and heels; the men came wearing ties and we had huge buckets of champagne on ice. It was a day to celebrate; a day from the routine of work; a day to rejoice in the people that we love, that we are lucky enough to have in our lives. 

My sister and nieces arrived early and as is the family tradition, the first cork popped well before midday. There was much laughter and barbecue; relaxation and migration inside to watch the race that stops a nation. Betting wasn’t quite as good. No names jumped right out at me so I backed something called Fox Hunt, which basically meant I backed my brother in law, the Silver Fox to win the Melbourne cup. I promptly text my sister in the UK to tell her the Fox had better win, or her husband was toast, to which she replied that she too, had backed it.

The Fox is probably still running…

Doing no good at all in my bets, I had arranged a “sweep” that encompassed prizes of money and wine; at least I got second in that.

No pleasant day of family and friends comes without a family drama.   In this case, it was my son, having downed several large gallons (I suspect) of Chivas Regal.  He basically attacked my daughter and her boyfriend when they arrived; the day went rapidly downhill from there. I was left to deal with a daughter in tears and driving off; a boyfriend skulking down the road and an angry son with a girlfriend trying to pacify him.

He didn’t understand that we all get to choose who we are with. If we love them, we stay and we march on through the good and the bad. If we don’t love them, or if their issues are too hard to deal with, we walk away and go it alone; hoping to find our idea partner somewhere down the track. She is marching on. He is attempting to change. The key word there, is that it is “he” seeking change.

I used to date thinking I was going to be the person who would help whoever it was, see the light. They are some of my greatest dating horror stories. Instead of showing them life and love, I just ended up hurting myself. Changing someone is not possible, they must change themselves, and before that, they have to want to change.

I told my son that the road he is travelling will do no more than alienate his sister; and if she needs him, she will feel unable to call and that is the ultimate betrayal in my family.   I know that I could call my younger sister or brother at any time, day or night, and tell them there is a body in the back yard.  They would come with a shovel and a bag of lime.   Okay, that may be an exaggeration because I’ve never had a body in the back yard to test the theory; but I believe it is the case.

We long ago established that my older brother is too law abiding and a little holier than thou and my older sister would be brow beaten into lugging the body through the bush, but would squeal like a pig as soon as a torch shone in her face.

Where am I going with this?   My day ended up with me drinking copious amounts of champagne and having a great time. I did miss the bed at one point and fell flat on my arse, but hey, that’s me.  Love me or leave me.

The next day I suspected I was in trouble when the Squeeze left with a “later man…” – not exactly the most romantic goodbye; hell, not even a kiss.   Later on, he had a go at me for drinking too much, falling on my arse and basically making a fool of myself.  He often comments on my drinking and I need to point out here that he drank for many years and I’ve had a glass in my hand for the last fifteen years; certainly before we ever dated; well before we moved in together – and yet he wants to change me.

When I thought on it, I realised that if you're trying to change someone, you are indirectly telling them that you don't love them the way they are. You are in love with the person you are trying to turn them into.

And then I realised, I like me.   I don’t want to be the person he wants me to be.

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