I feel sorry for my daughter, I really do. The older one, not so much the baby, yet- I’m hoping by the time she grows up a little bit, so will I have. I’m not holding my breath. You see, for some odd reason, I am genetically predisposed to foolishness…I only want to make people laugh, to be entertaining. What better audience than a few fourteen year old girls who have nothing better to do? I’m not going to go into specifics here, most of it is just too awful to write down, but the thing is, I can’t help it. Sometimes my daughter laughs, her friends ALWAYS do, but at some point she gets that desperate, pleading look in her eyes that says “MOM…please, stop.” Oh, if only I could. Like last night when I performed the entire song “Give it Away Now.” by the Chili Peppers for her and her best friend Matty in our very own kitchen. Yeah, cringe worthy, I know- but it happened so organically, and the baby LOVED it, and quite frankly, I couldn’t believe I could still remember all the words. Anyway, you try starting that song and stopping in the middle. It’s nearly impossible.
Anyway, this is a recurring theme in my life, this silly, uncalled for behavior. As a matter of fact, the only time I can think of when I haven’t been this way are the times when I was using, still. That crap just sucked the funny right out of me and replaced it with a whopping side of bitch. I couldn’t laugh if I wanted to, unless it was evilly, right in your face, after I had just broken your heart or stomped on your dreams…well, maybe I wasn’t that bad. Ok, I was, but it pains me to think of it. I think it’s much better to be funny.
As far back as I remember, I have wanted people to like me- not just like me, even, but adore me. It KILLS me when someone just happens not to, for no particular reason. Even if I can’t stand them, I really want them to like me. I have no idea if other people are like this or if I am just the only one who is uncool enough to admit it, but there it is. When I was a little girl growing up, there was a lot of tension and fighting and anger and always the threat of violence to come in our house (sorry mom), and because of that, I found it very important that people outside our home loved me. I found other kids to be too shifty and unpredictable, so I forged friendships with teachers and store clerks and neighbors and any other grown up I could get my self in front of. I’m lucky I wasn’t molested a billion times, now that I think about it. Anyway, I learned that if I was smart and if I had good manners, and if I engaged in conversation, I was accepted. This has served me well throughout my life.
I also learned about reading people- you can get a sense of what type of person you are dealing with by simply observing them for a moment. Trust me, there have been plenty of times when I didn’t do this and wished later that I had! I also have a habit of jumping straight into an interaction without pausing at all, and I have definitely embarrassed myself. Anyway, I don’t think there is anything wrong with sort of adjusting your personality settings to harmonize with someone else’s- I think everyone does this when they are able, until they can get to know someone a little more and reveal more of themselves. My point is that some of the habits I learned very early in life have continued to be a benefit to me even now, and I’m grateful- without them, I think I would be very hard to take sometimes.
At work, it’s an uphill battle some days…me, fighting with myself to stop talking, to focus, to at least turn around and face my computer and make it look like I’m accomplishing something. In my office, I have sort of established myself as the “class clown”, and sometimes, (not all of the time, but it really does happen) I am honestly baited into conversations because of that. Sometimes, it’s even my boss who does it. I always tell them, when I’m being quiet, you should leave me alone, but no one listens…it’s incredibly hard for me to focus on the task at hand. Yeah, yeah, I know- sounds a lot like ADHD, right? Well, surprise, surprise- I was diagnosed with that years ago, now. Unfortunately, the only drugs that seem to work for me are the very drugs with which I seem to have a particular rapport. Even more unfortunately, I can’t get past the idea that the dosage instructions are just sort of loose, theoretical instructions, open for my interpretation. Which is why my doctor won’t let me have them anymore. Anyway, I have good days and bad days, and I make my boss laugh (even when she is trying very hard to be stern with me) so I guess that is good.
It weighs on me sometimes, though. I struggle in certain situations where I wish I could be more adult. I have had lots of times when I should have spoken up, corrected someone’s misunderstanding or let a person know the way they were talking to me was not okay. Now that I am really reflecting on it, most of those times were far in the past, so maybe that is just something that changes as you get older, but it has affected me, changed the way I think about myself. I am not always taken seriously, because I am funny. This does sort of make sense, but the thing is, I am not an idiot…just because I have a sense of humor doesn’t mean I have no brain. On the contrary, you would think it meant the opposite, if you really mulled it over. I get flustered and frustrated pretty easily, too, and I have a really hard time not just controlling my emotions, but not allowing them to take over. I am an open book, my heart is on my sleeve, I am who I am.
Sometimes I really would like to be different. I keep waiting to feel like a grown up, but I never really do. Sometimes I think it would be great if I were more subtle or mysterious, able to keep my composure, play hard to get,…just be quiet every now and again. But I am none of those things. If I am being mysterious, I am up to no good. If I appear to be calm and composed, I would look out- I am probably experiencing the calm before the storm and I am about to totally lose my shit. If I am playing hard to get, I’m just not interested. And if I am quiet, I am reading a book (and my mind is anything but quiet) or I am unconscious. This is just who I am.
Last time my mom was here visiting, I told her how I felt- that sometimes I wished I were more appropriate, less…me. She told me she often wished the same thing about herself, (which I found surprising as my mom always gives the impression that she is quite pleased with herself… 🙂 ) and that a good friend of hers once told her, “all that stuff you’d like to change about yourself is the very same stuff that makes people love YOU. You are different and funny and real, and that’s what sets you apart.” And I get that. I really do. Some days I exhaust myself and everyone around me with my gigantic, burdensome personality. It’s not always a blessing. But it does make my life more interesting, and it does help me meet a lot of people, and it certainly does start a lot of great conversations. Most of the time I would rather be me than anyone else in the world. Which is a good thing, because I suck at being anyone else. Now will someone please try to sell my daughter on this? And I promise, no more Chili Peppers.
Next time, it’s gonna be “Suck my Kiss.” I’m kidding, I’m kidding…geeze.