Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Inner CrazyTown

My kid, A, has grown up so much lately.  I have mentioned to you all before how he has some little quirks, and that one of them is that he's a bit awkward when it comes to building friendships and being social with his peers.  He seems to have come a long way in a short time, and is much more comfortable making friends and sort of bonding with other kids.  I have described him as seeming sort of "star-struck" by his classmates.  Yesterday something dawned on me.

I think I'm the same way.  I can remember as a kid feeling awkward around the rest of the kids.  I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb, and like the other kids were so much better and cooler than I was.  When I did have friendships I used to feel afraid all the time that they would stop liking me for some reason.  It very well could have stemmed from being a new kid so many times, who knows.  But I didn't feel like I was smart enough, pretty enough, funny enough.  When I moved before my senior year in high school and started a new school, I tried very hard to be more confident.  To be myself, but not be so timid.  It worked, and I made solid friends there, but I still never really felt sure of myself.  

I had a lot of friends in college, but that sort of goes with the territory of not only being in a marching band, but being a girl drummer.  It made me sort of a novelty.  I still had a pretty low self-esteem, and I think I clung to people too hard, afraid they wouldn't like me anymore when they really got to know me.  

I'm 40 now.  My goal for my 40's is to learn how to be comfortable in my own skin.  After landing one of the best men I've ever known as a husband, giving birth to two beautiful boys, and keeping them healthy and happy so far, you'd think I'd feel pretty solid.  But 13-year old me is still a very big part of who I am.  I have friends, good friends.  Granted, most of them have to be my friends because of relation or marriage, but I think they actually do like me.  But I still feel unworthy when I'm around my peers.  I see other moms at the school, and I have this feeling that most of them are better moms than me.  They are more "together" than me.  Their kids are more successful.  Their homes are probably nicer.  Their cars aren't as messy as mine.  They probably do a weekly board game night at home and entertain all the neighbors with home-cooked meals.  They're not as chubby as me.  And if they are heavier than me, it's all right because they're definitely more comfortable with themselves than I am.  And it looks better on them anyway.  

I don't have ANY idea why I do this to myself.  I was not emotionally abused as a child.  I had the same ups and downs that most people have had.  I have had dark times.  I don't know anybody who hasn't.  I would love to find a way out of my own head sometimes.  

Yesterday I ran into one of my kids' friends' moms (you know who you are--we chatted about our kids' love for cardboard and tape).  She's gorgeous.  She has this amazing curly hair that looks so perfect.  I have curly hair.  I feel like most of the time it just looks like a place the finches from my barn would like to make their home.  She has a warm smile, and she's raising the sweetest little guy.  She approached me yesterday and greeted me, in a very honest and friendly way.  We've seen each other many times over the years, so this was in no way strange, but I felt surprised.  A bit surprised that she would recognize little ol' me.  And so flattered that she'd want to chat with me.  So what the heck is the matter with me?  I know I'm nice.  I know I don't repulse people.  Why would I feel anything about that?  It was very NORMAL.  Why do I feel, in the moment, like ohmygoshI'mgoingtosaysomethingstupid?  

There are a couple people I don't feel like this around.  My hubby.  Children.  My siblings.  I'd love to say my siblings' spouses, but SIL2 is gorgeous and has an amazing career, so she's obviously way cooler than me.  But I know she loves me.  I also feel fine around my hubby's siblings and their families.  That's about it.  Oh and my little chihuahua friend.  That doesn't make any sense to me, because she's beautiful and tiny and kind and she was a cheerleader.  There's just something sweet enough about her that makes me not question why she'd want to be my friend.  She's friends with everyone she meets.  

Is there anyone out there as insane as me?  I know I lean on you all a lot to make me feel more normal, but I'm coming right out and asking for it now.  If you think I'm crazy now, I get it.  But if you have a little bit of my crazy, let me know and we'll go out for martinis and tell each other how much cooler we are now than we were at 13, and we should just forgive and accept our cute little 13-year old selves, and embrace our wiser, softer, older selves.  My 10-year old seems to be doing quite well at that already.


  1. hi Teri - Just wanted to say that i have really been enjoying your blog. you're a wonderful writer. i sat and read your posts this week about your dad and i was so touched - embarrassed to say it made me cry at work but i have lost both of my parents (my dad just a couple years ago). your truthfulness spoke to me. i told chong (i tell you his name so maybe you will know who i am) about it that evening and he said i should send you a comment. at the time i thought, "nah, she doesn't know who i am and it would be really un-cool to write". well, your post today made me laugh (i have lots of that same inner crazy) and made me want to write to you. so there you go - a little bit of crazy from another nutty 40 something mom. thank you for your entertaining, theraputic and always honest writing - its really great!

  2. Amy of course I know who you are--you are one of the women who make me feel inferior!! You are also gorgeous, and you landed one of the best men I know, and you have beautiful perfect children and you get to hang out with another one of the best people I know, and your children get to call him uncle. I am so sorry for the loss of your parents. It's like being a member of a club you never wanted to join, isn't it? You guys are the best, and thanks for writing (and reading). Give your hubby a kiss and a squeeze from me. I miss him!

  3. I was out having drinks with some couples the other night. The wives have this glowing confidence that I envy and find intimidating. They are smart, energetic and just all around beautiful women. Even though I know I have a good job and my own success, I'm a good mom with great kids, a fabulous spouse and am surrounded by wonderful people. I find my self wanting to hide in my shell because I just know I'm going to say something stupid. Last night my husband said to me - you do know they feel the same about you don't you? I looked at him like he was crazy. Then he listed off all the things I just said above. I didn't know what to say!

    I have this same reaction to many people I meet. Family, parents, people at work. I was packed full of insecurities as a kid and my 41 year old self still feels that same 13 year old fear that I'll make of fool of myself.

    Its great to know that I'm not alone and that this inner crazy might just be a part of being human.

  4. Oh Teri......I just LOVE you! I am sooooo thrilled to know that you can feel comfortable around me(AS YOU SHOULD)!!! ;) True, I try to be friendly to everyone I meet, but I do not feel completely "myself" around many.

    I have always felt like I could "open up" about anything with you and the more we would talk I found that we have LOTS in common. Also, I too had a really rough time as an awkward 13 year old with braces, a fresh new short cut and PERM and thick glasses....yea picture that...ha! I am still that girl deep down. I think that our young teen years "ground" most of us.

    Just know are beautiful both inside and out!!! Also, to all of us you are the perfect Mom, wife, housekeeper, chef, baker, entertainer, you have the perfect kiddos, and you have it all "together"!! So there!! Muah!!!!! xoxo

  5. As your little sister, you have been my "rockstar", the person I always wanted to be as cool as since before I hit the dreaded 13. You are also the only person throughout my life to genuinely make me feel like I was just fine exactly how I am. That has always made me want even more to be just like you. You do that for so many people, Teri. I absolutely know the feeling, thinking that I'm one stupid statement away from people not liking me anymore. But the next time you feel that way, please try to remember that at least one person will always feel starry eyed around you. I love you and worship you always.

  6. Oh my gosh I don't even know what to say. Thank you, sis, for such sweet words. But I still say you set your bar too low...