@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
It’s not a role I signed up for. Or even one I necessarily enjoy. But I guess every family or group of friends has one. The person you call for advice or to vent for some clarity. I’m not sure how I became the family mediator. Probably, I fell into it, when I was very young, trying to explain to my sister and brother how immature they were being when they acted out or were disrespectful to my parents.
But when I was younger, I enjoyed helping people. I also liked the fact that I was so young, and adults, including my parents, looked to me for fairness. I liked being a kid and being “wise beyond my years” even though I didn’t really know how I became that way. Wisdom seemed more of an innate trait than a learned one to me. I prided myself in being like Yoda, without talking in puzzles.
As I got a little older, I would be the confidant of family, friends, co-workers, and sometimes, if not often, people I seldom knew or just met. While I harbor some personal secrets that few know besides myself, I also have a repertoire of others secrets: dreams, hopes, fears, sins. It kills me that I’m a writer and the best stories I know are true and cannot be told, at least not yet. Maybe one day.
It’s true I began to detest being this person. It gets heavy to hold to hold the weight of other people’s problems. And I fell into the trap of trying to fix people. You cannot change people, or save them. You can lend an ear, offer advice, but we are only ever our own super heroes, forever responsible for ourselves and our own happiness, a burden to our own minds. This also led to me never venting my own problems. Of course, my own problems were relatively null. But when it became apparent I cycled in and out of severe depressions, I refused to seek help, and didn’t want to do to other people what they did to me. I can carry it on my own. Until I couldn’t. But that’s a different story.
It’s rare I seek out other people for advice or guidance. I have a small select group of people I go to when I need to. And the reason for that is because I’m never really sure exactly what they’re going to say. I will never ask advice from someone who is predictable. Then, what’s the point? I also like people who are harsh. I don’t want to be told what I want to hear.
My friends and family have deemed me both extremely fair and extremely judgmental. This, at first glance, seems like a contradiction. But it isn’t. In order to be fair, one must be judgmental. They must judge all the sides, the people, the circumstances, the assumptions, the feelings, the facts, the misinterpreted facts, and so on. I believe it is because I am so judgmental that I am fair. Just because you are telling the story, and I am biased towards you, doesn’t mean I won’t consider the other stories. That’s it right there, isn’t it? It is my love for story telling that makes me a good listener to my friends and family. Because stories can change vastly depending on the perspective. And this outlook makes me hardened and cynical, as well as overly empathetic at times. And no matter how fair one analyzes a situation, one never really knows the internal struggle, be it pain or love, fear or excitement, disappointment or rapture.
It’s so tricky when emotions come in. Logic takes a passenger seat. Reason becomes a backseat driver. Fuck safety, I took off my seat belt long ago (metaphorically speaking, I think people should wear actual seat belts in cars). And how are such things interpreted? How can they be? If someone or something is so important to you, do they cloud your judgement or do they clear it. What I’m asking is, are you the clouds or are you the wind?