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.