Some people are shockingly awkward. They lack any semblance of charm, aside from being charming with how awkward they are (if that is still a thing).
When I was younger, almost everyone was like that. Why? Because we’re teenagers who desperately want to fit in and be loved/involved in everything. We want everyone to think well of us and have serious trouble if anyone has a negative thought.
But now, I’m in my 30’s and I have well-learned that some people will just dislike you. There is nothing you can do about it.
Occasionally, I meet people who still carry that self-esteem killing baggage from our youth. They desperately want to be liked by everyone, and any time they are confronted with the reality that they are dislike, they get violent. Not physically, though sometimes physically, but emotionally. They lash out, they get accusatory, and in the end nothing is their fault or problem.
The worst part about these people is that they are so desperate to look like they have it together. They will put up any front to seem like they got it all. They tend to have those “magazine” homes, with perfectly matching decor, knicknacks, everything framed, and tons of photos of themselves.
The part that breaks my heart the most is their constant quest for validation.
But the part that loses my sympathy is how many of these people will take the validation and praise, but then never give any in return. In fact, almost everything they say is hopelessly negative.
Because being effusive and positive is so desperately uncool and will make them vulnerable.
DH and I were talking to BIL and SIL, and DH was telling them how much the baby classes have meant to him. He talked about how he felt much more prepared and how he learned how to swaddle.
Their reply: We won’t be taking those, we don’t need to. SIL knows everything about babies. (Then SIL chimes in) Swaddling an actual baby vs. a doll is totally different. Much harder.
DH and I were talking about how far along I am, I told them 37 weeks and ready for this to be over.
Their reply: Well he’s fully formed and ready to come out whenever! He can come out now and be just fine.
Yes, thank you for telling me, the pregnant woman, that my baby is ready to come into the world. Thanks for letting me know that from a medical standpoint, he is healthy enough to breathe and function on his own. I had no idea, as someone who has been pregnant for the past 37 weeks, about the stages of fetal development. I had no clue.
But the worst part? The part that makes us wince/cringe and has made our parents look aghast and weirded out?
Their constant vocalization of how proud they are of us. For having a baby. They’re proud of us for having a baby. The various reactions from our parents?
MIL: What, like he had a hand in any of this?
My Mom: Why is he so weird? What a weird thing to say.
My Dad: You know… just ignore him.
FIL: *bemused smirk* Proud?
They say a lot of weird things like that. I think it is their way of balancing their indignation that we are having a child before them. Their immediate reaction was, “It should be us!” and now, to not be assholes, they are expressing their pride in the fact that DH and I are having a child.
The reality is that they are painfully awkward people, and because they refuse to acknowledge how awkward they are it shows that they completely lack any charm. They are truly unforgettable people.
I’m not even joking. When I first met DH’s extended family, BIL and SIL were engaged. DH’s uncle and I were hitting it off as we discussed sustainable crop rotation (he is a scientist) and then he suddenly asked me, “What is the name of BIL’s fiancee, again?”
He’s known her for over a year at this point. I told him her name, he nodded and said, “Is she having a good time?”
His guess was as good as mine, as I’ve known her for two months at this point. She was sour faced, sitting in the corner, arms crossed. BIL was hovering around her, whispering to her as she just shook her head or nodded. He literally had his arms on either side of her chair as he hovered and kept whispering.
I assured him that she was, and we went on to discuss how hops grow.
When we would go to functions where we are forced to interact, people would first assume that DH and I were his brother and fiancee. Why? Because they thought we were the couple that was going to get married due to the way we behaved.
Over time, people began to ask if DH and I were coming to events and would always mention, “They are just the life of the party.” There was no inquiry as to whether BIL and SIL would attend, and they often didn’t because she likes spending time with her family over the other side.
The bottom line?
Life is what you make of it. It’s the biggest lesson my father ever taught me and one I hope to pass on to my child.
If you wish to carry a raft around with you at all times, because once you came across a roaring river, then it is your choice. But don’t start complaining and whining about how slow the journey has become or how heavy the raft is.
You can let go of the raft at any moment, but you choose to hold onto it in your misguided belief that it will keep you safe.
If you let go of the raft, you run into the risk of needing it again later on in life. But you have gone for miles and days without a single roaring river in sight. Maybe a few quiet ones, a creek or two, but you managed to cross it without using the raft.
Don’t be afraid of living without the raft.
Don’t be afraid of other people’s judgments and opinions of you. They are about as important and relevant as you wish to make it. You’ve got one life to live. Don’t spend it letting anxiety and fear rule your life.
The more you embrace your authentic self, the more people will respect you for it.