Every now and then I surprise myself.
Sometimes it’s a nice surprise, and I realise I’m not quite who I thought I was. Some incident, usually a small one, reveals to me that I’m less of a mess than I see myself as being. Or I realise that being such a mess is an advantage every now and then – those are the best nice surprises!
Sometimes it’s a neutral surprise. It’s a reminder of something you already know but maybe haven’t thought about in a while. It can be nice, but it’s more neutral in its effect. It’s sort of: “Oh, yeah…that.”
For instance I know I’m not the terrible person I was convinced that I was for so long since childhood because my narcissist mother needed for me to be the terrible one so that she in comparison could be the wonderful one (it was a little bit more complicated than that, as it always is with narcissists).
A large part of the narcissist’s view of themselves relies on comparing themselves with others, with the ideal goal being to compare themselves with someone else and win that competition (eg. my ego is bigger than yours, yours is puny! HAHA I WIN! – that was a bad example, I’m sure you can come up with a better one). The comparison competition is usually rigged because they have more of a chance to consistently win that way.
Sometimes it’s a nasty surprise. We all know what those are. Those ones tend to get our attention the most and make us forget all the other kinds of surprises. Those ones can make us surprise-phobic.
The other night I surprised myself, but I’m not sure what category of self-surprise it falls into… it all started earlier than I’m going to start the story.
I had just finished watching a film (what film it was isn’t really relevant, or maybe it is and I haven’t made the connection) and got up to do some stuff (like get a glass of water). That’s when I felt a weird sensation which I described quickly to myself in imagery as a screwed up fairly unused tissue which you’d tucked into your sweatpants’ waist because no pockets, and it went for a ramble down the pants and got stuck halfway down. But my sweats have pockets and the legs are loose. So… WTF!?
WTF!? in this case turned out to be a newly formed prominent lump on my knee (see image below)…
And no, I’m not going to share an actual photo of it because ew (even though it’s not really that ew, it’s more huh? Is your knee supposed to look like it’s wearing a bowler hat without the rim?), but if you’re a visual kind of person and need more than a drawing – type ‘prepatellar bursitis’ (otherwise known as Housemaid’s knee) into google images.
My body regularly surprises me.
Mostly they’re nice surprises as in – I survived that uninjured! I really didn’t think I’d get away with that! Thank goodness I have a hard head because that was a rather strong impact! I am always hitting my head because I often forget it’s there. It does have a few permanent not originally part of the skull bumps and scars. The biggest is when I crashed into a concrete wall while playing some stupid human centipede (not at all like that film I am never going to watch) type game at school because I was at the front and the kid at the back fell over, human dominoes falling ensued with added momentum for each kid which fell and my skull broke the fall for all of us. Luckily there were only about 20 kids in the class (me included).
Often they’re neutral surprises as in – Huh? What have I done now, is that blood!? where did that come from… oh yeah… never mind it’ll sort itself out.
Occasionally they’re bad surprises like some years ago when my back couldn’t take anymore and said enough! But it got better while teaching me to be less of an ass to my body.
What has surprised me the most about this sudden lump on my knee and how I’ve handled it since it appeared seemingly out of the blue is that I didn’t feel ashamed about it. I didn’t feel like I needed to hide it, pretend it wasn’t there and tell no one. Don’t bother people with your stuff!
To be fair to the me who feels ashamed of bothering people with my stuff, if you have any ailment or injury around narcissists… it turns into a competition, and a point of comparison, with the narcissists always having to win (no one suffers quite like a narcissist, you will never win the suffering olympics when they’re participating even if you take it to the max).
I realise that sounds strange, but it’s even stranger to live it.
If I got a cold as a child, my mother would get the flu and my father would get pneumonia. My mother would then let my father and myself know (loudly and repeatedly, for years afterwards too) that she had won because unlike us she was soldiering on, a saint and martyr forced to look after both of us while she was dying more than we were. Once you’ve been on this merry-go-round a few times, you learn to keep as much as you can about yourself to yourself, and to always feel wrong about having any stuff of your own. It’s a hard habit to break… free from.
When you come to think about it… everything and everyone is strange. In some ways it’s what makes personal stories so interesting. It’s how we find out that we’re not alone in strangeness, even if our strangeness is slightly different from that of others. We’re all strangeness expressing itself.
I didn’t surprise myself though, when I decided to give my knee lump a name, Lumpy (short for Lumpknee), and a voice of its own. Lumpy says: It’s time for you to stop kneeling, and crawling around on your knees!