The weight of the unarticulated

Our new TV imploded so we haven’t had one for a week. I wanted to watch something on the iPad tonight but my husband wasn’t interested in “huddling around the small screen.”

So we ended up talking, and I ended up sharing things that I didn’t realize I needed to share.

I cried, and I felt ashamed for the tears I shed. I hadn’t realized the weight of so many things left unarticulated. There is much I don’t say, for fear… of what exactly I do not know.

The fear you cannot name is the most terrifying of all.

But maybe I can make it. The words are jumbled, the adjectives misplaced, but the gist of it is there. If only I’d venture to say the words.

Tonight I tried and I cried and I felt weak for the tears. It’s frustrating, and I wonder what my husband thinks of me, but I can’t change who I am or how I feel.

Why do tears have to be the mark do the weak? Perhaps they are really the mark of the strong. Or simply the mark of the honest.

I tell myself often: We are all doing the best we can.

13 Comments

  1. I don’t tell myself that because I don’t think it’s true. I know it makes some people feel better, but it doesn’t work on me. I don’t always do my best, and I sure as heck know some other people who don’t either.

    1. I choose to believe that people are doing the best they can. I didn’t always believe that, but Brene Brown’s book changed my mind, or at least my perspective.

      Sure it’s easy to believe that people are not doing their best. But then what? Nothing can be changed.

      If I believe that people are doing their best, including me, and that when they fall short of their own, or other’s expectations, it’s because they lack the skills or resources necessary to meet them, then something can be done. Then you can teach/learn the necessary skills and identify/attempt to procure the required resources.

      It may not be true that people are trying the best they can, but I like to believe it is, because them there is the hope that we can do better. And instead of judging people and myself for falling short, I can think of what barriers are standing in the way of achieving more.

      1. I don’t really care if it produces a “better” outcome. The truth matters to me.
        Anyway, it would ultimately be unsuccessful and cause relationship problems to try to psych myself into believing things that are not true. It would cost me my self-respect.

        I think it’s actually easier to believe that others are doing their best. People like to say that because it’s easier than actually confronting and dealing with bad choices and bad behavior, in particular bad treatment of others. And that is fundamentally unfair to the people who are being harmed. Calling out the truth, which is that myself or others sometimes behave badly for no good reason, is a lot tougher.

        1. Just because I think people are doing their best doesn’t mean I think they should be resolved of responsibility for their actions. People still need to be held accountable.

          I can understand how you feel. I used to feel that way too. But I changed my perspective, and I think it has made a really positive difference in my life. I think I’ll write more about it in an actual post.

          1. I’m glad it has made a positive difference in your life (I guess?), but that does not make it true. That’s why I just can’t get on board. And that’s why I think it’s a way of avoiding the truth because the truth is too hard.

            1. Well, we can’t really know. There is no scientific way to prove people are or not “doing their best.” So I don’t think it’s fair to say you believe the truth and I believe a falsehood.

              Do you mind sharing what you believe “accepting the truth” about people not doing their best means? Why is that “truth” so important for you to believe?

              1. I think the truth about people not doing their best is that they are willingly, confortably doing bad things. So, for example, if my husband were a selfish jerk (he isn’t), the truth would be hard to acknowledge. It would be easier to say oh, he is doing his best, he lacks the skills and resources (and is incable of obtaing them on his own). That would help me stay in my marriage, and would give me hope that he could change. But it would be a false hope, because I would be misdiagnosing the problem. It would really just be making untrue excuses for him, and for my own unwillingness to face the unpleasant reality of his treatment of me. Is that “better”? I don’t know. It would help me stay in a troubled marriage to someone who treats me badly, but maybe that isn’t really better, not if it costs me my ability to face and acknowledge reality.

                I agree that we can’t really know what people are capable of in general, but I think in certain situations we can make a guess supported by facts and reasons. When you say “choose to believe, that implies that you aren’t really convinced, or are pretending to believe. Could you “choose to believe” in unicorns? Maybe. But nobody would say they choose to believe in horses.

  2. I can see this as true in certain contexts but when I think of hateful deplorable bigots, I can’t agree they’re doing their best. Or are you saying *that’s* their best? I allow zero excuses (economic anxiety my ass) for such things.

  3. Crying is definitely not a sign of weakness.
    I tend to agree with the ‘everyone doing the best they can’ when it comes to emotional stuff – for instance, I get too easily discouraged socially if I don’t get clear positive feedback from others, and usually I fight this feeling and continue trying (when it is obvious that my insecurity is dictating my perception of the situation. I don’t mean that I resiliently stalk people who don’t want to hang out with me), but sometimes my feelings get the best of me and I quit trying. In a sense, this is not doing my best, but sometimes I just feel that I can’t reasonably do better.

  4. Was away without internet for 2 weeks. It was lovely. And also lovely to come back and read so much all in one sitting.
    Super clapping for you as a plumber and your sticking to it all until you won. I was told once to to pour a sinkful of boiling water down the drain once every month to keep the fats from building up. Am doing this nowadays and hope it helps. Might your drain problem be another issue caused by your tenant? I have no idea how your sewer is set up but consider idea if it might be possible.
    Re your lost friend who read your blog…as a reader it has been clear for forever that you are sensitive about friends and want to have and keep them. Knowing that, her actions in cutting you out from her life while continuing to read about yours really was knowingly causing you pain. That is the betrayal.
    Thank you for trying so hard to help the PTA create more community and make your daughter’s school a better place for everyone.
    Glad you had a good mother-daughter afternoon.
    Extra glad you and your husband had some time and got to talk with each other. It does seem that while talking isn’t always easy it does improve your relationship and understanding of each other’s current status. So hard to do that with two jobs and other activities and children.
    You have grown and changed so much over the past long years. Pat your self on the back for growth and also for continuing to be a teacher in helping others see themselves including insecurities as normalized through your writings.
    Hoping your home is filled with the smells of Christmas and the warmth of love. Good wishes on getting to the end of school for this calendar year.
    PS: I stand with believing most people try most of the time … some people just have a wrong idea of what the right way to behave towards others is; they believe their greed and self-interest focus is right.
    Hang in!

  5. I like this part. Tears are the sign of someone who feels. And to feel, we often have to face up to emotions, uncomfortable things that they are. Ultimately, I think that that self-evaluation will do us benefit, even though it would be more comfortable in the short term to avoid that.

    And those words of Brene Brown? They helped me understand someone close to me who I’d been critical of for years. It has completely changed our relationship for the better. And I’m much more compassionate towards them now.

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