It’s Not You — It’s Me. I Promise.
Sometimes I think it would be easier if I didn’t look like a middle-aged mom from suburbia.
Don’t get me wrong — that’s exactly what I am. And I am proud to be me.
But sometimes I think it would be easier if I looked a little more unusual. At least as unusual as I feel on the inside.
Because I go to my kids’ schools for parent-teacher conferences or to volunteer, and people assume that since I look like them — middle-aged suburban parents — I fit in. When actually, on the inside, I feel as out of place as a mom can feel at her children’s schools. Or their baseball field. Or their dance studio.
I think to myself that maybe if I had multi-colored hair, or had massive amounts of tattoos or piercings, or wore long, white flowing gowns, then maybe everyone around me would understand how much I really don’t fit in. How much I don’t want to talk about the PTO or what the coach is doing wrong with his team.
It’s not that I don’t want to talk to all of the lovely souls around me — I actually want more of that in my life. I just want to talk about things that matter. Make a real connection with those I’m with. Maybe if I did walk around in white flowing robes and talked about chakras all the time, then people would see something closer to the truth.
Except that I like the way I look. I love the people who have turquoise and purple hair (or my badass friend, Audrey, who just got dreadlocks as a suburban mom!), but I love my red hair. And I admire the people who are compelled to adorn themselves with tattoos and piercings, but right now, I am happy with my one tattoo and nose piercing.
And I don’t really want to wear long, flowing white gowns, because I like my scarves and booties and malas and ripped jeans — even if that last piece of clothing causes a surprising amount of angst in the over-65 set. I really like who I am, how I look, and how I present myself to the world (well, most of the time).
But I wish I had a way of communicating to my suburban friends, “it’s not you, it’s me.” It’s not that you’re not perfectly lovely, because you are! I see your soul and your light and I think you are an amazing human. But I really don’t care to talk about shopping or gossip. And it’s okay that you do!
It’s not you, it’s me.
If our conversation is stilted, it’s because I think coaches and teachers and people in general are doing their damned best to make their way in this world, and I want to lift them up and be grateful for all they’re doing for my children. I haven’t volunteered once to coach my son’s basketball or baseball team, so I sure as hell am not going to rip on the one coach who did volunteer — and does so every single season.
If I’m quiet, it’s not because I am not interested in you. It’s probably because I don’t want to scare you with my thoughts. I don’t want to shock you by asking if you are consciously happy in your life, or if you are comfortably numb. Or what your soul work is, or what it is your soul wants you to do that you are not ready to do yet.
Or it could just be that I’ve been writing something in my head all day that I can’t get quite right…and I’m having a hard time letting go of it and being in the present moment. (Although if the present moment includes small talk, I admittedly prefer being in my head anyway.)
If you want to sit down with me over a cup of coffee and talk about life, I would absolutely love that. But the reason I look uncomfortable talking to you in the grocery store isn’t you, it’s me. It’s because I’m thinking to myself that the Universe had me bump into you today for a specific reason, and I’m listening to your words for the message, while trying to filter the surface chatter.
A writer friend of mine recently wrote an article about being in line at the grocery store and overhearing a conversation behind her. Two people were talking about how they felt like they just didn’t fit in a lot of the time and felt “otherworldly”. And my writer friend humorously wrote that she was pretty sure everyone around her could hear how loudly she rolled her eyes. The whole article was about judging that person for using that one word.
But I totally got it.
I absolutely feel otherworldly — like an alien even. And I feel like that most of the time, if I’m being honest.
But I’m still trying to find my place in the world, and while I’m on this journey, I just wanted to make sure you knew —
It’s not you — it’s me. I promise.