You’ve known me long enough to know that a number of things make me even more anxious than your average overly-anxious bird.
My relationship with food is totally cracked. I weigh myself at least four times Every Single Day. If my number goes beyond what is most likely a perfectly acceptable number for me, I flip out. (I don’t really Flip Out, but I get bummed. Not noticeably bummed, but still. If my pants aren’t fitting, I tend to do the sad face. Inwardly.) I’m currently a vegetarian with vegan tendencies who is counting Weight Watcher points and attempting a daily raw meal. Healthy on the outside, nice and unstable on the inside, right?
I get all weirded out in social situations. I’ve always had a terrible time with eye contact, which often makes me look like I’m either lying and being all shifty, or that I’m suspicious and unsocial—or an unfortunate combination of the two. I’m always afraid I’ll say something ridiculous, so more often than not, I either avoid saying anything at all, or I get overly jokey and then I spend the drive home regretting 73% of everything I’ve said. (I once had a friend who paused at least ten seconds before saying ANYTHING. He told me that he took that time to choose his words in the most economical way. He always struck me as the most eloquent of our group.)
When I was in junior high and high school, I rarely left the house to hang out with friends. I can name the parties I went to, and they all fit on one hand! (Jeff’s hand with the amputated thumb!) I went to a dance, I went to a Halloween party, I went to a Christmas party, and I went to our class graduation party. Really. That’s it. Instead, I practiced the piano. I wrote in my notebooks. I sat on the floor in front of my radio and listened to Kurtis Blow and Phil Collins and Screaming Blue Messiahs (and The Communards and Falco and INXS).
Now that my kids are reaching an age where they’re making friends on their own, I’m finding that I’m actually feeling stressed out about THAT as well. I’ve never been good about putting play dates together (In fact, I sort of hate the term Play Date.), but I’m starting to realize that if I make my kids spend their childhood the way I spent mine, they’re never really going to be social creatures! (Evidence: Socially Awkward Me.)
A few weeks back, Harper’s friend’s mom called to say that they were getting a small group together to go to the pool and were wondering if Harp could join them. I 100% trust both of the adults who would be there, yet I still was a complete Dorito-binging mess when I dropped Harper off. (Harper had the greatest time at the pool, there were a TON of lifeguards there, I have no idea why I flip out about this… Wait. No. I do know. I’ll get to that in a second.)
Meredith recently took a call from her best friend. She’s back in town after a two week vacation, and is wondering if Meredith can come over, go to Dave and Busters, and then hang out at the grandmother’s pool. I immediately began puking out questions to Meredith.
Me: Dave and Busters? Are the parents going to be hanging out with you the entire time? Because I’ve SEEN some of the adults who hang out there during kid-friendly hours. And, the pool. Will there be a lifeguard on duty? Because I’m not sure where the grandma lives, but I DO know that not all subdivision and apartment pools have lifeguards, and you are NOT allowed to go to a pool without an adult there, and ultimately, I want a LIFEGUARD there because sometimes adults get caught up in conversations and they lose track of kids and WAIT. DID YOU JUST HIT YOUR SISTER?! OKAY THEN. YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO GO TO THE POOL OR TO DAVE AND BUSTERS! EVER!
When I was in elementary school, a little boy from our church drowned at church camp. It affected me more than I like to admit. Because of that, I don’t swim. (I know it’s twisted. I know!) My kids have taken swim lessons and Jeff takes them to the pool every week or so, but I never join them because along with not digging the heat, I physically cannot handle the stress. Jeff’s parents have a boat and would probably love to take the girls out, but I can’t deal with it. If someone is drinking beer and driving a boat, I don’t want my kids to be involved. I WON’T let my kids be involved.
Perhaps this is why I love winter. (With that said, I once knew a woman whose only child was killed in a freak skiing accident.)
Please don’t tell me that I’m a disaster. I know I am. Please don’t tell me to take swimming lessons. The thought of it terrifies me, and I know that’s ridiculous. You can sing songs to me about never breaking cycles if you’re unwilling to make changes, and I’ll sing right along—as long as you’re singing in the key of D. (I love F# and C#.)
If you’re as unstable as me, feel free to sing it out. Afterward, we’ll high five one another while staring at the floor with our shifty overly-protective eyes.