I can take a lot of shit. A lot of us Midults can. And apologise for everything. Sorry you have to read this. You are having an awful day? I am so sorry. Yes that is my foot you are standing on, sorry. Sorry you nearly ran me over, sorry about my lady voice, sorry to bother you, sorry sorry sorry. And inside I am stretched, I am like that lady from The Incredibles, an elastic girl; I give everyone so much rope. I have always been proud of this ability to over-tolerate. I am the eternal sunshine of the optimistic, slightly damaged mind. Because really it’s fine that you are mean, it’s OK that you hurt my feelings. God, you are funny. And clever. And gorgeous.
Take the boss who tortured his staff. I patched things up. Soothed and solaced. Humiliated myself excusing bad behaviour, repairing tornado damage – turned myself into a henchman. For years. But then one day he hurt a friend. And she decided to leave. And in that moment I glimpsed a future in the office without her, and I clearly saw all those other sad souls… THE SNAP. Yes, it hurts me first, that stinging sensation when the nerves spring back and slap me around the face, before winding around my throat and squeezing until I can’t breathe for a bit. And then: I. Can’t. Do. This. Anymore. And we are done. Sorry. (Obviously I am trying to sort the ’sorry’ bit out with my therapist.) It happens at the end of relationships: one boyfriend who’d been yelling at me for years told me my arse wobbled too much when we had sex. SNAP. Another used me as a shoulder to drunkenly cry on until one time I didn’t answer my phone. I had SNAPPED. I never answered my phone again.
I conclude from all this that while my patience is almost endless, there is – buried – self-respect. Which means that you can push me and push me but you never know… actually neither do I.