Things I Didn’t Learn About Myself Until My Mid (okay, Late) 30s…
1. Making friends is hard for me. I’m wildly awkward and have paralyzing social anxiety that developed in adulthood. Y’all I CANNOT ‘people’ well. When I was a kid, I would’ve said I had tons of friends. I loved going to parties and big events, large dinners and football games. The more, the merrier.
But now, as an adult human and exhausted mama, I’d choose reading a book or watching Netflix and talking to exactly zero other people Ev.Er.Y.Time. Meeting new people (especially women) makes my armpits sweat. I assume you are judging me and that my obvious inability to dress myself at age 37 is making you feel better about how badly you thought you were doing. (You’re welcome.) It’s not because you seem rude, it’s because the voice in my head can be a huge b*tch.
2. I don’t really like homemade macaroni. There. I said it. Give me good, old fashioned, orange tinted Kraft in a box any day of the week. It makes me feel nostalgic the way I remember snacking on Chef Boy R Dee (no way I spelled that right), or talking on my highly coveted clear land line telephone, or rocking out to NKOTB like a BOSS!
3. I have no shame and little filter. I often hear that this comes with age, but most women claim to develop the trait in their 40s or 50s. Well, call me an early bloomer, but I’ve got this thing on LOCK! Go out in public wearing yesterday’s leggings as pants? Yep. Wildly abuse the intended use of dry shampoo? Uh-huh. Continue shopping for bananas while my kids scream in the cart and kick each other like they are each covered in wild, swarming, killer bees. I am unphased, Karen in aisle 9 with your finger on the last digit of the number for CPS. “Go ahead and call,” I smile as I pass you. Your bottom jaw drops below your severely angled haircut and guess what? I. Don’t. Care.
4. I’m an introvert. No one ever believes this about me and it feels weird that I should have to explain this instead of it just being accepted as fact. But, it’s true. When I go to speaking events, I smile and laugh, chat and mingle, and then go back to my Airbnb with takeout tacos, text my husband that I have no words left, and go to sleep. It seriously takes ALL that I have to engage in conversation eleventy million times in a weekend. I am WAY more comfortable on a stage speaking to thousands of people I may never see again than having a one on one conversation or (gasp) talking on the phone. Who even calls me!? My real friends know they’d better be bleeding or on fire to press ‘send’ on anything that’s not a text.
5. I actually like…no, LOVE…receiving flowers. Yeah, yeah, all women say it’s a waste of money. But guess what, men everywhere!? We are liars! Yep. Straight up. There may be a select few who stick to their guns here and remain in the flower-hater category but here’s the thing: Flowers are more than romance. Flowers are a tangible sign that you thought of me today or that you remembered an important date. And, though no one else on the internet will admit it besides me because, well, see #3….but Flowers delivered to us at work mean that OTHER PEOPLE see how much you love me. And that feels awesome. It makes me feel special, you’re a hero, and Karen in the next cubicle can shove it bc she didn’t get anything. So HA! (Apparently, I should amend the list to add that I am also petty.)
6. We all have a ‘thing’. Maybe yours is more obvious like mine. I mean, no one thinks I’m auditioning for a late sequel to The Nutty Professor. This is ALLLLLLL me under here. My jeans have been big digits since I can remember and I only shop online because who wants to leave a store hating themselves!? But my friends who are runway quality babes complain about their too hairy arms or ears that stick out or elephant cankles. I see them and think, “What does it feel like to look good in everything!?” But they see me and say, “I wish I had your confidence.” So there. We all have a thing. Some may hide theirs better than others, but it’s there. I promise.
7. Being weird is awesome. When you are growing up, you feel pressured to fit in, to chameleon yourself into your surroundings. No ma’am. We are real, live grown-ups now and you know what? My son who others may think is a little out of the norm, is my freaking hero. And his friends? They wear tall striped socks with shorts, hoodies with T-Rex tails, and may never have brushed their hair. And they are my people. They encourage each other, lift each other up, and circle around one another when one is singled out. That, my friends, is boss status and I love it. They don’t fit in…except with their people. Perfection.
8. I’m the mom I was made to be–not the one you think I should be. When our moms were raising us in the 80s, they RAISED us. Now, in a world of internet, social media, and Pinterest pressures, we are PARENTING. There is no playing outside until the streetlights come on or sending kids over for slumber parties to kid’s houses you don’t even know their last names. There are Karens out there and they are on a mission to shame us into believing that we aren’t doing enough. Um. Pump the breaks. My kids are alive, mostly clean, and well-fed even if it is from cheese sticks, yogurt from a tube, and meat in the form of a nugget. They go to school and USUALLY brush their teeth. So, you’re welcome, society. I’m just the mom I should be. Not any more than that. I am hilarious and tell jokes and quote movies with my kids. I do NOT send Santa shaped treats to homeroom or volunteer to be a room mom lest I poke out my own eyes because that would be less painful. If that’s you, great! Be that mom. We’ll balance each other out.
So whether you’re a young twenty-something with dreams and hopes or a middle aged mom like me who can only be described as ‘weathered’, stop caring about what other people think. They don’t pay your bills or live your life!