I had a hard time writing about this because I don't want to. But it's stuck in my head and I think this might be the only way to get it out.
My husband is learning new English words all the time and he likes to try them out on me. The first time this happened, we were not married yet. He was taking ESL night classes at the school where I work, and I would stay at school at take him to his brother's house after class.
After class that night, he put his arm around me and said, "You are my only bond."
"Your only bond?"
"My onee ban."
He was smiling at me, so I figured whatever he was saying was something nice, but I still was not getting it.
Finally, we got to my car and he showed me his notebook with the words he was saying to me.
"Oh! I am your honey bun!"
I love telling that story because it is sweet. Then he started learning other words and phrases: boring; obnoxious; I am not your maid; don't get clever with me; my wife will kick your ass. Okay, he did not learn that last one at school.
He also says, "You are my boss. You are number one." Every time he tries these words out on me, I know when he is being serious and when he is kidding. I do know that he loves and respects me.
Tonight he told me that he learned the word self-centered, and just like every other word he learns, he teased me by using it with me in mind. I did not take it well. I was so bothered that I could not let it go even after he made me understand that he did not believe that about me and that he was just kidding. I believe him; I am questioning me. Am I really self-centered?
This word, self-centered, and it's relatives, selfish and self-absorbed, have dogged me most of my life.
I remember being called selfish when I was very young. I don't remember the context--probably something I did not want to share. I do remember the pain of hearing that about myself. I felt it again tonight. I think at a young age I was so determined not to be seen as selfish that I gave away and gave in way too much. Then I spent too much time worried if it was enough and what people thought of me.
Self-centered. It's all about me.
Forget young age--I still do it.
I guess I want to say that I am still a work in progress in this area of my life.