One of the biggest moments of pure clarity that has hit me in a very long time was at a wedding that I recently attended. I have to say…weddings do that to me. These huge social events that I lived for in my wild and impetuous youth now cause me to crawl into my busy brain and become extraordinarily introspective. Well, let’s be honest. I don’t need an “occasion”, per se, to do that kind of internal searching…I am just that type of person.
I think, therefore I am, and all that jazz.
But weddings, funerals, and even birthday parties are something that make me truly wonder about myself. Why, you may be wondering (or how could anyone be that self-involved)? It’s this strange anomaly. When I was a young, vibrant little so-and-so with perfectly matching outfits and a head full of newly acquired knowledge of well-respected authors and unsubstantiated theories to regurgitate on cue at a party…I felt like the queen of all the social butterflies. I was so self-confident and self-assured. I knew that, while not everyone’s over-the-top-obnoxious cup of tea, I could hold my own. I always knew what to say and how to draw a laugh.
But then it became a horse of an entirely different color for a few years. Perhaps it was being a mother and all of the judgement and expectation that comes with that (über expensive baby) bag, perhaps it was my awareness of my rapidly advancing age that I occasionally wish came automatically with matching emotional maturity, perhaps it was an ideal that you can’t continue to be abrasive your whole life and still have anyone come to your funeral to hear Free Bird. Who knows? All that I do know is that I went from being a person that said (on more than one occasion), “People either love me or hate me, there is no middle ground. But that isn’t my problem what side people choose to fall into”, into a person that needed copious amounts of liquid courage to even say anything that wasn’t perfectly orchestrated in my mind and came out like a doll with a pull chord.
I wasn’t me. And when I was being me in front of my friends (read: drunk) then I felt bad for everything that I did say. Because, by nature, I am an abrasive know-it-all. That’s me. It’s what I do and what I am good at. It’s the only me that I know. So the more time I spent trying to be this watered-down version of myself…the more frustrated that I became with myself for not being able to be a “socially acceptable” person.
Then the wedding happened.
The wedding was for one of my husband’s closest friends for 10+ years. This same friend didn’t even bother to ask him to be a part of the wedding party (is there a synonym for wedding? I feel like this is becoming incredibly redundant) even though he was a huge part of ours a few years ago. Yeah, this asshole. His wedding. Needless to say, we were already annoyed with the situation before we even walked through the fancy pantsy front doors. And for the first time in years…I didn’t feel like being a robot. I didn’t feel like laughing at jokes I had heard a thousand times before without comment, I didn’t feel like pretending to be interested in the girls’ newest online romance, and I certainly didn’t feel like talking about the person that just went to bathroom with another person that is best friends with them. But that is what always went on at these functions. Every. Single. Time.
Then it hit me. As the din of the pre-wedding festivities began, I realized something– something huge…
I don’t like my friends very much. And what’s funny is…I am not sure that they even like me. That’s why I keep trying to tone it down when I am around them. Because I don’t want to be the person that just went to bathroom that is being talked about. But with that one moment of understanding, I was finally free. I was completely over attempting to stuff my square peg in the metaphoric round hole anymore. What is the point? Being a person that people like shouldn’t (and won’t be again) my priority.
When we all started hanging out years ago, we were young and wild. I liked to gossip as much as the next girl. Now, not so much. I don’t think I have all of the answers when it comes to how to live your life anymore and I know that people have the right to screw it up. And they certainly should be able to trust their friends…not be afraid to be themselves around them. Now, if what we are discussing is a fact (not an opinion, idea, or life lesson) I am still a pretty big know-it-all and I still give my opinion loudly.
But the biggest fact about me is…I may be brash, abrasive, and borderline crazy-as-a-tazy pants but I am not judgmental of other people’s choices and I would never act like I am superior to others. That’s not me. And it never -ever- will be (again, anyways).
So, for the first time in years, I decided that I wasn’t going to play the game. I have years ahead of me of having to put on a plastic smile for teachers, fellow mothers of Jp’s friends, and for a paycheck. But I wasn’t going to pretend to be something that I am not for the sake of other’s palates amongst people that I considered my “friends”. So I didn’t. And guess what? I pissed a few people off. You know why? Because that’s me.
But the next day, hungover and sipping Bloody Mary(s) with my husband, I didn’t feel bad about it. Not one iota. Because at least I did it as me.
I’ll find my “tribe” eventually.
I'm just living minute to minute, hour to hour, day to day.