THE TURN AROUND: A REAL LIFE STORY
Here’s a little story about a nice “turn around” with a fourteen year old that I was certain was being the “Stupid/ bad/ selfish” one. In my stupid (and suffering) state, I was quite clear: she needed to change.
This story takes place in Sonoma, around 2000, in the summer. I’d gotten over the trauma of a gal named Sally Ann running off with a man named Joe. (See the next story: Sally Ann “should love me more” turned around. )
I’d stopped believing my thinking that she was meant to stick around and argue with me. And I had stopped believing my own thinking that no one else great would show up in my life.
And then Celeste did. A perky yoga teacher, who shared gardening and bike riding and a general love of nature with me.
We grew fonder and fonder of one another, and then couldn’t restrain ourselves to two residences. So I came to spend the night with her.
Off in a huff went Lara, her fourteen year old daughter. Her father and Celeste had been unhappy for many years and had been apart for almost a year, and that didn’t matter to her: she didn’t want her Mom living with her new guy.
There I was. The new guy. Ughh.
Off she went. In a huff. In the middle of the night. Big drama. Big show.
And she’s fourteen, right? She’s a pain in the ass, nasty to her Mom.
Which is to say: the whole usual teenage thing.
And me in all my wisdom? I decide to get all twisted about her being “selfish.”
Which I could make a great case for; after all wasn’t she throwing hissy fit after hissy fit? (I.e. acting 14).
And then a pleasant and slightly stunning light bulb went on: I was the selfish one.
When Lara threw her hissy fits, it upset her mom, Celeste.
Result? Celeste and I had less fun. Me, me, me, with less fun. Poor me!
This upset MY selfish wish to have great times, all the time, with Celeste.
I was a hypocrite (this has been discovered since, many times) and that was funny and a relief. She was selfish. I was selfish. So be it.
And guess what? Once my mind got clear, our relationship got clear. Like this:
One day she was over visiting us and I decided to tell her my discovery about me being the “selfish” one.
What teenager doesn’t want to hear an adult admit that they are an ass?
She lightened up and when I left to go to a garden I was caring for, she shouted out after me, “Goodbye, Selfish Chris.”
We were friends ever after..