(This moment of neurosis is brought to you by the number 9 and the letter C. Any similarity it bears to actual recent events or conversation is merely coincidental. Actually, the plot and characters ARE inspired by a conversation that was just had here at work, and I want to assure those involved that this post is in NO WAY an attack on you. Our conversation was merely the catalyst by which I have recognized my need for serious therapy.)
What is it about receiving unsolicited suggestions that makes everything less fun for me? Maybe not for you, maybe you like the collaboration, maybe you never thought of that and think it's a really good idea thank you.
Not me. (This is another case of being the Most Easily Bugged Person in the world, I think.)
It doesn't apply to everything. Cooking? Yes, tell me how to make a really good devilled egg. I seriously don't know anything about it, and don't feel the need to reinvent that wheel. Directions? Which way do you go to get to your house, 'cause I don't go there as often as you do. Movies? Yeah, which one is going to be worth the $20 it costs us to see it? I don't want to find out by trial and error. I don't mind seeing what everyone else has seen. Or reading what everyone else has read (except Da Vinci Code. Not gonna do it.)
But so many other things lose their interest for me as soon as someone else shows enthusiasm for my doing them. I felt this way about the wedding. I didn't want anyone else to tell me what they thought would be perfect or "so you". It makes me feel crowded and panicky. I think it has to do with one or more of the following a) never getting the chance to find out what I empirically would actually LIKE, b) having my excitement overshadowed and thereby nullified by the excitement of someone who's not even involved, or c) not getting to discover anything first hand.
Some other examples:
I don't want ideas on how to decorate. I think I might be good at it if I ever felt sure the suggestion didn't come from someone else. It's something I feel Senor and I can handle on our own, and only we know how our personal traffic patterns work. If you think our couch would be perfect here or there, it only makes me feel uncertain about where we chose to put it.
I don't want color suggestions when I am trying to choose yarn. You're not going to be wearing it, are you? So butter yellow and forest green are beautiful to you. You know what, on second thought, I don't like these colors either, nevermind.
I don't want the car you want to sell me. It's not "Me" unless I choose it. You don't know me.
I don't want help when I walk into a clothing store. I want to shout at the saccharine sales girls, "I WON'T LIKE ANYTHING YOU BRING ME AND IT WON'T FIT AND I CAN'T AFFORD IT!!!!"
I can do it myself, people. I can. When you help, I feel like you don't trust me.
Here's why I bring this up: I'm FREAKING OUT!!
It is generally acknowledged that we are planning to have little ones soon. Soon is a relative term, of course, but "Soon" is the danger zone. As long as there are things in my future that haven't happened, there is still some hope to influence me, I guess. I feel paranoid just having something in the offing. Already I'm getting input about pregnancy and birth-giving... and that puts me in a pickle because here are some of the things that I now don't want to do simply because they were suggested to me instead of my thinking them up:
Have the baby in the summer (or fall, winter, or spring).
Have the epidural. (I can do it myself.)
Not have the epidural. (I'm not stupid.)
Let people touch my belly. (It's mine.)
Not let people touch my belly. (Babies are for everyone!)
I have a problem. It's not you, it's me, seriously, it's not you, I'm not being sarcastic here.
There is no way that I can prevent helpful input from others. Input is merely a way for people to show that they care, that they're moved, that they want to play a part in something wonderful, that they want me to enjoy my experience as they did, or to enjoy mine more than they did. I realize that it will come from family, and friends, and doctors, and nurses, and neighbors, and people waiting to cross the street with me, and drive-thru window attendants. I know I can't stop it, and I realize that I don't know everything, and there are things that will be helpful and necessary to find out from others. I need to figure out how to not let the helpful hints make me feel trapped.
I feel trapped already by this pregnancy. You know, this pregnancy that doesn't exist yet. That's not a good sign.
If I spend 9 months feeding a child this kind of panic, it's going to come out looking like Woody Allen.
(For all of you with whom I am in regular contact, please don't take this as a Gag Order. It's not that at all. I've just discovered a need to vent. Maybe by venting now instead of later, I can get it out of my system, and then we can have some fun. I do want to be a fun person, honest. I just didn't realize how complicated this whole "having babies" thing might turn out to be.)