Do you ever have one of those awkward pauses? Someone asks how you are – supposedly an innocuous question – and you blurt out “fine” or worse, something falsely enthusiastic because you know the question isn’t really a question, anyway? I have been socially conditioned to the point that even I almost always say “fine,” even if it’s not the case at all. This last 10 days or so there’s been a lot of that, so much so that I’ve reached the point of wanting to say, (insert announcer voice here) “Congratulations! You are the 37th person this week to ask me this question! And since the answer is actually “Shitty,” your prize is getting to offer me your shoulder to sob on until I feel at least a little better!” No? It was worth a shot.
Last night I was able to go to see Glen play a solo show at SoHo in Santa Barbara. It was a lovely day, and nice to get away for awhile. Listening to Glen sing always makes me feel better. It’s not a shoulder to cry on, but may be the next best thing. He sang a cover of James Blake’s “Retrograde” that was just perfect. A little too perfect, maybe. There’s a line in the song,”Show me where you fit” that really hit me last night. I feel sometimes like I’ve spent most of my life trying to answer that question. I still have no idea. I know where I fit within the context of my home and immediate family… but outside of that? I feel like I stand adjacent to people rather than with them. I try to mimic normal behavior so I won’t stand out too much, but I feel like I fail there, too. I’m bad at it, and it just leaves me feeling worse. More awkward, if that’s even possible. I watch the people who seem socially at ease and graceful, and feel such envy. There is nothing easy or graceful about me, no matter how much might I wish it. I’m awkward and prickly and difficult. I don’t mean to be, I just am. Today in Bible study someone commented they were glad I didn’t just “go along” with whatever was happening… that I ask the hard questions, even if they make me stand out. I said that would probably be my role… asking those questions. I’ve never “gone along” in my life. I may have tried, but I usually fail, either comically or catastrophically, whichever. I want so badly to be an easy fit, and I can’t pull it off. I’m grateful for the friends I have I don’t put off completely, most of the time at least. They were hard to find. They matter so much I lack the words to explain it. If you’re reading this and recognize yourself as one of these people, thank you. I love you.
I still try hard to fit, for everyone else’s sake, as well as my own. It would be so much easier not to be that awkward girl. But everywhere I go, there she is. I can’t shake her off or leave her behind. I’d like to. Sometimes I’d like to gag her and lock her in a basement. But I live in California… there are no basements.
It’s been such a hard week. There’s so much stress it has us both at the breaking point. I had a rhythm to my days when Chris was working, and it’s gone. Funny how little it takes to throw it off. Avery doesn’t nap as well with him here, for whatever reason. Even if we’ve been active and busy, as we were this morning, when he’s around all bets are off. She had her lunch and should have gone straight to napping, but instead was bugging Chris to take her outside, or put on videos. Today it was Peter, Paul & Mary’s “Puff the Magic Dragon,” on repeat. It could have been worse. She crashed on his shoulder, but then was tough to put down. She kept waking up, and at one point was even fake snoring. She’s asleep now, as long as I keep rocking her “boat” with my foot. It’s all fine, but I need to pee, and it’s nearly time to pick up Braeden. I don’t want a new rhythm; I liked the old one. I just want him to get another job, now. Maybe that’s an unreasonable expectation, but I’m putting it out there.
Everything is not fine.