Day 14 - A hero that has let you down.

Photo Credit: Kym Shumsky (Relishing.ca)When I was younger, I was fascinated by made-for-TV movies. There was the one about the brain transplant patient who gets the brain of a tall, svelt, beautiful woman and is confused when she looks in the mirror to see someone fairly average when she expects to see a very different picture.

Then there was the one with the identical twin sisters (played by the same actress, of course). One twin fakes her death and then comes back to impersonate her sister and steal her husband - or something like that. I don’t think I was supposed to be watching that one.

The melodrama in the fictional movies would likely have me splitting my sides laughing these days. (You have to admit the brain transplant one was priceless.) As I got older, and we got cable, I got to see them all on repeat on Lifetime. Made-for-TV movies are great late-night entertainment. (Trust me on this.)

Then there were the movie accounts of real-life people. Fictionalized biographies, I suppose. All of them had plenty of melodrama (or they wouldn’t make the cut on Lifetime). There was one fictionalized biography that affected me pretty deeply. The Karen Carpenter Story aired on CBS in 1989 and I remember my reaction to it as if it was yesterday. And let me just say from the start that I get way too invested in stories like this.

I had some knowledge of The Carpenters’ music before watching this movie. My parents owned several LPs and I listened to them along with The Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, and (my personal favorite) Simon and Garfunkel fairly regularly. 

Listening to Karen Carpenter sing was intoxicating. I wanted to be her. She was the first really cool person to share my name and that was pretty exciting.

Until I watched her story.

I got angry when I realized what she did to herself. How could she DO that to herself!? Why didn’t she see how amazing she was and take care of herself? I was only 11 and I didn’t realize how troubled she was. It was years before I was able to listen to her music. I don’t think I had a full awareness of her death before watching the movie.

I’m well aware now (though I wasn’t back then) that the movie doesn’t accurately portray her life and death, but I am still amazed at the disappointment I felt over the fictionalized account of Karen Carpenter’s existence.

Image Source: Facebook | Lost PinupThat kind of childhood disappointment looks very different as you get older and change the lens through which you see the circumstances. I no longer feel the anger and dismay that I remember so well from over 20 years ago. I don’t feel let-down either. But it is terribly sad that Karen Carpenter died so tragically.

I think it’s terribly sad that any person (particularly the female gender) gets to the point that they abuse their body to fulfill an impossible image that is, frankly, not even that attractive.

December 16 – Friendship (#reverb10)

December 16 – Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? (Author: Martha Mihalick)

Really?

AS IF I haven’t explored friendship enough this year? :)

I’ve always had a pretty healthy view of friendship, even if my friendships haven’t always been healthy. I believe that there are degrees of relationships. From casual acquaintances, whom I wouldn’t necessarily classify as friends so much as people I know, to people I get to know well, but not in-depth - co-workers can often fall into this category. Then there are the people who you get to know in a deep, long-lasting way. The ones who know you and love you anyway - warts and all.

The inner circle of friends is the smallest, most exclusive group and it’s hard (for me) to allow people into that circle.

This year I got burned. I let someone get closer than I should have and they turned on me. While I was hurt and angry at first, I quickly realized that the depth of our relationship wasn’t all that deep. When I figured that out, the hurt and anger transformed into just feeling sorry for the other person. What might have become a long-lasting friendship was cut off over a misunderstanding that could have been easily explained - if they had listened.

What did I learn?

That I can’t force anyone to listen. I can’t force anyone to be rational.

True friendship is precious. I think that’s why it’s reserved for so few. It takes time to nurture and build and if one party isn’t interested, then it’s fruitless to try to force things along.

I’ve known these things for many years, but they were reinforced to me this year when I finally took a step toward letting go with less angst than ever before. The situation wasn’t any less stressful, but I could confidently say that I tried to resolve things amicably to no avail.

Now that it’s all over, I can remember the good things without rancor and I don’t feel any anger over the way we parted. It is ultimately for the best.

Sometimes life just goes that way and you have to accept it for what it is.

Hindsight

Last weekend I had a phone call with someone I consider to be a very close friend, someone I've known most of my life and who knows me better than probably anyone other than my husband.

We discussed shared experiences from years gone by and how maturity has allowed us to look back with a very different perspective on events we thought we had all figured out when we were living through them.

In the course of our marathon talk (over three hours), we realized that we'd had very similar shifts in thinking about circumstances that were significant in both our lives. We attributed our hindsight to learning previously unknown facts related to certain situations as well as the ability to see things from an adult's point of view, factoring in all of the responsibilities that adulthood entails - for us, that included marriage and children, which happened to be very helpful to gaining a better understanding or empathy for what we went through.

I find it interesting that many years after living through what felt like such a negative experience at the time can be softened by considering factors I was too young to process at the time. It doesn't make the circumstances less negative, but it certainly puts a different spin that can make it easier to forgive real or perceived wrongs, let go and move on.

On the other hand, there is also greater awareness of machinations and manipulations that created unnecessary hurt and problems for so many people. That's the hard part to let go. These divisive actions continue to cause hurt and negative influence to this day because not everyone sees the events with the same perspective.

Perspective is a wonderful thing; it can change with a few words or new facts. It isn't like an opinion - you're not considered wishy-washy if you have a legitimately altered perspective. However, it's far too easy to hold on to a certain point of view when you don't have all the facts, or if someone is skewing them.

In my personal experience, looking back on many of the challenging situations I dealt with as I was growing up has given me a far more positive perspective - one that is freeing. I'm free of resentment, anger and hurt that could have negatively affected long-term relationships. I'm grateful for the clarity looking back has given me. I don't know every detail, but I know enough of the crucial ones to be comfortable that my current point of view is far more accurate than my limited understanding at the time allowed.

Have you experienced major shifts in your thinking as an adult? How did it impact you and your relationships with the parties involved?

*****

Written in participation of Bigger Picture Moments, "A moment where you recognized the role your faith plays in your every day life. A moment where you take note of motherhood and the importance of what you are doing. A moment that made you stop and breathe in the bigness of it all. The hugeness that is life and the small moments adding up to one Bigger Picture." Check out this week's posts at Trains, Tutus and Tea Time.