Epiphany of St. Ives the Younger

My birthday is coming up(!) and as is usual, I like to indulge in a little bit of self-searching. Today’s post is brought to you by the memory of St. Ives and a tiny room in a boarding house, many moons ago when the Earth was young (and so was I).

The Apricot Scrub Kerfuffle of 2007 was the day I got fed up with living in close proximity with another person. It was also the day I realized I really have very little patience for drama.

It didn’t help that she was female. I was unused to living with females other than my mother because I had never tried it before. I have two brothers and I adore them. I adore them for being born with enough years between us for the whole messy sibling thing to not be a bigger issue. I adore them for being boys and for never getting in my way. We had had next to no friction – they had their toys and hobbies, I had mine, and whatever split the difference was something we all enjoyed anyway.

It didn’t start badly. I liked her, for declaring no one got to scream at her unless that person paid her rent. I liked her, for sharing her grandmother’s wisdom: never go out with crappy underwear on, you might get in an accident, end up in the hospital and everyone will judge you for wearing old rags as underthings.

But her predilection for the communal dorm style of living, where everyone blithely borrows from each other, had begun to get on my nerves.  I don’t mind lending someone a bit of face wash when in dire need, but I do mind when the tube is brand new and said someone thinks nothing of asking to break the seal and have a go.  That’s just bad manners.

It was a death from a thousand petty cuts, ranging from her eating my hopia to her little catfights with frenemies, to her manufactured drama with les boylets, to her calling me mean because I was incapable of keeping my opinions to myself.

The final straw was when she spent hours curled up in the upper bunk, crying on the phone to some guy she’d strung along about how much pain she was in from what turned out to be a ruptured ovarian cyst. If you have enough energy to cry on the phone about how much something hurts to your boy of the week, it doesn’t hurt nearly enough. I felt she could’ve saved some of that energy to, I don’t know, drag her suffering self to the nearest hospital instead of wasting time fishing for sympathy. Obviously I have no idea what the term ‘to coddle’ means.  Whatever. I regret nothing.

I did feel bad for her when she came home from the hospital all bandaged and drugged up. But whatever goodwill she’d gained by actually having the operation faded away when the next few weeks were all about how she felt the scar from the laparotomy would disfigure her for life, how Contractubex would hopefully make it look less angry and how she would never be able to wear a bikini again. She’d nearly died, and that was her epiphany?

So I did what I do when I reach my limit with people: total radio silence. I deal with drama by shutting down and refusing to acknowledge that someone still exists. It can go on forever, years, even. Le Hubs says it’s extremely childish. Maybe to a certain degree, it is. I see his point because really, I’m too old and life is too short to not try and fix these things. On the other hand, I am too old, and life is too short, to have to deal with petty things. Clearly, I’m not the most sympathetic person when it comes to people who need a lot of attention. Not that I’m absolutely devoid of it, but there’s only so much hand-holding a person can do. Don’t like someone? Leave. Feel bad? Get even. Drama is bullshit. Self pity is bullshit. Most things can and should be dealt with using common sense and a can-do attitude without the need for a spotlight, a stage and a bullhorn.

The modern-day feminist may hate me for sandbagging the tribe, but we come with a lot of baggage. I know this for a fact because I am female, and I know what kind of insane maelstrom I am capable of conjuring. It doesn’t need to be compounded. Between this, that and the other, I can count the number of close female relationships I have on my fingers. I am happy to say all of them are strong, intelligent, level-headed, no-nonsense women with as little tolerance for hysterics as I.


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