I had my engagement ring that was a moonstone in a gold band setting reset.  I loved the ring but my knuckles are bigger than they were 30 years ago and the ring no longer fit on any finger, unless pinkies count but this was not a pinky ring.  So, I found someone to redo it last month and she did a very nice job.  I picked it up on Wednesday and started wearing it.

And no one said anything.

Well, I haven’t seen that many people in the last two days and I am wearing gloves a lot of the time and I can probably come up with more reasons no one noticed but the main reason that no one noticed is that there is no one who is committed to noticing — what I do, what I wear, and how I feel.  This is a time of learning to do for myself and only myself.

It is true that on occasion Julia notices a little bit — a red sweater that she hasn’t noticed before, perfume — but generally I am unremarkable to her.  I could make the same supper for her almost every day and as long as I switched out jasmine rice and noodles once in a while, she’d never notice.  This is not much different from her typically developing peers but a typically developing kid might notice out of politeness if nothing else.  This is a social skill that Julia is very far from understanding.

I guess . . . no, it’s true.  I have been seeking approval and recognition forever!  I don’t mean that I’ve never done anything for myself, of course, I have, but never completely.  Everything was in some way in hopes of pleasing.

Where it came from is easy — mother.  I had a mother I could never please.  I knew that very early but I kept on trying.  However, the more I tried, or rather, when I tired hard, whatever I was trying at was very far from anything that she would ever approve of.  For a child yearning for approval, we were a mismatched pair.  There were very few “good jobs” or high fives in our house. I brought my well-learned lesson to friends and lovers.  I imposed it on David — I don’t think that pleasing him was his idea.  It was very hard on my when he did not like/approve/enjoy because of something I did or some idea I had.

I could go on about this but the present lesson that I am learning is to please myself.  Is this finding myself?  It is very hard.  Having no one to please has left a huge hole in the reason I wake up in the morning — why write, why clean, why cook, why accomplish.  Slowly, very slowly, I feel a turning.  The house is comfortable . . . for me.  This redone ring . . pleases me.  Travel that we do, clothes I buy, the big ginger cat that lies on my lap is for me.  I wonder if I will come to enjoy this pleasing.  If I can just enjoy what I do, how will I change?

Strange new world.