nurturing sucks

shadeshaman's picture

I got my palm read last week. Not the fortune-telling kind, the personality kind of reading. Interestingly enough, according to Glynn, while I'm very smart and creative and intuitive, I'm not exactly a teacher or doctor kind of person. I'm not a nurturer, at least not innately. I wasn't baby-crazy as a kid or teen, I didn't imagine that I'd have a bunch of kids. I'm not like that. But, I think this is in part because I got forced into being the caretaker for my mother--and younger brother--I've been a caretaker, a nurturer for most of my lifetime. First my mom, then my FAX, then my kids, and sort of everyone else who has come my way ever since, including housecleaning clients, bandmates, boyfriends, housemates, etc., mostly out of habit, largely because I never really developed my own sense of self, (and all with a heavy dose of "women/moms are natural nurturers").
Well, what if I'm not?
Well...I'm not!
Fuck it, I'm not a natural nurturer, that fucking "nurturing instinct" so greatly lauded as being the realm of mothers, it's not something that comes naturally to me. I chose to have the kids I have, and I chose to shoulder the responsibility of nurturing them, but 20 years later I'm screaming "get me out of this motherfucking trap!" The thing is, I don't know who I am. I know part of it, duh. But I've never, and I mean NEVER allowed this non-nurturer part of me to flourish. I was trained so early to give away anything of my own--physical, emotional and intellectual--that it's a real fucking stretch for me to conceive of doing things for myself, reserving things for myself. Giving away parts of myself is not nurturing, BTW, but I'm pretty sure that my mom knew less about nurturing than I do.
Anyway, I'm beginning to observe and name when this fake nurturing happens, and also to see how it makes me grouchy as fuck, because I'm totally fucking drained. I.e. I got asked out on a date last weekend. How often does that happen? About half a dozen times every 43 years, in my world. I'm not exactly into the guy, and he doesn't have a car...already I found myself making excuses for him--oh, I can drive and he can pay for gas, oh, we can meet up, etc. (even though his offer was in direct response to a post I made on the FB wondering if it would be possible for someone to take me on a date, and my two requirements were: he drives, and he buys--$10, tacos, I'm a cheap date; and he couldn't manage one of the two, and he didn't even offer to pick me up in a taxi or something.)--I even gave him a ride home from the bar where we ran into each other and he asked me out, even though he's over 40 and he's not poor and it was NYE and there were free taxis all over the place. Not because I'm into him. No. Because I went into caretaker mode!
(A week later and he hasn't called. Fuck it. Nevermind, it's just as well.)
Anyway, I got a viola. Someone gave me this viola

that was in his house--an ex had left it there and never retrieved it. He figured it was worth about $35. I've played it for a few days now (already have a pick-up for it) and I love this instrument. The viola in general, but this one in particular. I think it's a 1950's student model, it's a 16" Jackson-Guldan. (I just paused and did a little research on the interwebs. This might be more like a 20's-30's model as it has real purfling.) I'm taking it to the fancy violin shoppe within the next couple of weeks to get it set up, n get some new strings, and I think I'll have them rehair the bow, as there were "bow-bugs" (moths that eat the bow hairs) in the case.

I am writing music on this viola. I don't have a name for it yet. Sixteen Inches of Love? That's what I'm calling it now. I think, for maybe the first time ever, I may have a girl instrument.


Bee's picture
Submitted by Bee on

There is nurturing, and then there is nurturing. Or rather, there are so many different kinds it is a pity we're forced to demonstrate skills in only a few defined ways. Kind of like expecting everyone to have the same haircut.

I grew up in a family where defence (physical, emotional, whatever) was the primary form of caretaking. I'm raising my kids in a family where organisation and debate are the premiere social values. Nowhere in my entire life have I ever produced or lived with the more common and acceptable forms, i.e. "affection" or "sympathy." I'm affectionate and sympathetic, sure, but those aren't the ways I express devotion. It just isn't natural ... to me.

And yes, there are harsh social judgments because of this. We're commonly perceived to be abnormal because I am fierce and fearless, and my children are eccentric and loquacious. Though my kids are fine - we're all fine. I would even go so far as to say the children are better off with the framework I have provided, because of course, they are my children. They need what I provide to live with me, but also to venture forth into the world. Raising them differently would have distorted their natural characters.

Though if they could change anything about me, they would install a chip to talk about shoes and clothes. I am sadly lacking in those areas.