It was Friday.
And I was joking around with one of my work-friends.
Work-friends are people who act like they would give you a kidney between the hours of 9 and 5, but after 5:01 PM – they pretend not to know you when they you see at Target [because it's like so inconvenient.]
Welcome to my world, anyway…
Uh oh, the shit’s about to go down in Work Town. I am about to put my head in a guillotine.
Grab some popcorn…
Question: Why don’t I listen to um… me?
[Don't do it. I am warning you. Feelings have no place at work. Stuff all of your feelings inside and then go home and order something online. You'll feel better. Pinky swear... That's an order.]
This is what I said to my work-friend on a perfectly good Friday, when I heard I wasn’t invited out to lunch with everybody else.
[No seriously, everybody was invited - Elvis, Jimmy Hoffa, Marilyn Monroe - and they are all fucking dead]…
“So I guess I am not on the invite list,” I joked [like an idiot, I told you to shut up. Remember...]
She shot back like a bullet – “No, you’re not.” [Ouch.]
[See? I told you, but you don't listen.]
I am not sure if it was the casual iciness of the words, the fact that she was my work-FRIEND, or that she said it so proudly that bugged me most.
[Um...hello. She is not your friend, at work or otherwise. What bugs you most is that you are gullible - at all of WRONG times?
And you, I mean "we" hate weakness in us. And this seems like weakness that could have been avoided.
Oh shit, the executioner is not done. Daaaaaaayum! Gotta admire her endurance.]
“I mean you’ve made it pretty clear that you are not interested,” work-friend said matter-of-factly.
We are not interested in the barracudas in Work Town - the ones who like to get people fired, the ones who will stab you in the eye for target practice, and the ones who are so out-of-control that they should really have "nutjob" tatooed to their forehead. All of which were invited, by the way.
But "we" like our friends. That is why we call them "friend." And we have also been clear about that, just for the record.]
Dont’cha just hate when someone quotes you back to you like you are Shakespeare or something – just so they can stick it to ya. It’s so totally awesomesauce. Not.
[Blah, blah, blah. Here's another Shakespeare quote: "If you prick us do we not bleed?" And by that, stop doing shit that will hurt me. We have already tried this work-friend thing. It's hard to be friends with sharks. Besides, you don't even like the ocean...]
Still, it hurt me.
The deepest part of me.
[Stop it. You are making me all mushy.]
And I guess I was shocked that it hurt me, because trust me, I know the deal in Work Town.
They will drink your blood as a protein shake and blame you for not having more blood when they are done.
[I hear that, boo.]
But still it hurt.
[Sigh. I can't take it anymore. Call me after you've had your much-needed glass of wine. I need a manicure.]
My hurt totally fucked up my Friday drive home. Watery eyes. I mean the whole drama queen kit and kaboodle…
And here is where my therapist thinks I am functional like a washing machine.
Because I know how to sort through my dirty laundry and get to the root of the problem.
“I have never seen anything like it,” she said once, “you are very functional. It’s amazing really.”
Um…m’kay? I will roll with it, but it’s not that amazing.
I don’t really know any introverts that don’t ponder shit endlessly.
They ponder things just to think of things to ponder and then ponder some more.
Pondering for an introvert is like cheesecake – you can never have enough because it tastes so good.
But I’d rather have other skills.
Like singing like Aretha Franklin.
Or etch like the Etch-A-Sketch whiz kid. I totally suck at drawing using only knobs connected to plastic. [Do you see how grad school has failed me?]
Here is a reason to be a good ponderer…
When I was growing up, I moved around a lot with my sociopath, abusive mom. It was just me and her.
And she was – is – crazy.
I almost had to learn to think for myself – endlessly – just to survive.
But that was necessity.
Not some great skill.
Here is the thing about dirty laundry.
It pops up at the worst times – usually when I am feeling pretty confident and self-assured and motivated.
And it rarely has anything to do with “what just happened,” but instead something that happened long ago…
Like standing at a dinner table.
[I don't why they don't see me. I am standing right here. I know I'm short, but children are not invisible.]
I wish I could talk.
[Let's hope all of my piercing 10-year-old stares communicate the words, "I want to stay. Please don't make go home."]
I am convinced people thought I was mute.
It’s a good thing I was a straight-A student or I am sure they would have written off my silence – as some kind of developmental deficiency.
Add to that, painfully shy and petrified most of the day, and well…
My friend’s mom keeps moving around the kitchen. Very focused. Food must be cooked. Food must be on the table. It’s dinner time.
I liked to go over my friend’s homes after school.
I am not sure how I had any friends.
People tended to take me under their wings. Maybe it was the long pigtails down my back or the fact that I wasn’t a bother.
No one really wants to be bothered.
I just remember standing there – next to the dinner table – so still, petrified.
Just wanting that invitation to stay more than anything.
To be wanted.
To feel happy that I was wanted.
Just wanting to belong somewhere, anywhere.
Because I knew when I went home.
It would be hell.
And it would be torture.
And no one would genuinely care that I was there in the first place.
That was the thing about my friend’s mom – she always seemed happy to see her.
It was amazing to me.
Amazing that your mom would be happy just because you walked through a door. That’s a door’ major function. Right?
[That must have been one hell of a door?]
My therapist told me this summer in a very clinical way, “Studies show that abused children who get attention are better off than children with uninterested parents who give them no attention. Because to a child bad attention is better than being invisible.”
Just for the record… Invisible equals awesome. I am sure the younger me would have thought so to.
Further, studies show that stepping on glass doesn’t burn like stepping in fire – but somehow manages to be fucking painful.
This might have been the beginning of the end for “us.”
I sat there thinking – ten years ago a statement like that from a “professional” would have set my healing back ages…
This is why I tell people to challenge all of their doctors.
Because sometimes they are incredibly stupid.
Anyway, I had to go home. Back to my monster.
Without fulfilling my idyllic dinner fantasy.
Apparently, staring intently and standing really still is not a great way to ask for stuff. [Go figure.]
So that is what it felt like last Friday.
I was a girl with long pigtails standing at the dinner table.
My Dirty Laundry Fairy Tale is over. The end.
And I gotta admit I felt better about an hour after I figured out the root of my sadness. Funny how that works.
But don’t get it twisted. I have a lot of practice, and therefore, am highly functional at deconstructing and processing my gaping wounds from the past. [My therapist is right, in that respect.]
I am not implying that it should be fast or easy.
But that was a tough one.
Here is what is also tough.
It is hard to live in the inbetween – to have it both ways.
I can’t say I don’t want to be included, except for the 5 seconds during the year I feel that I do
And expect other people to know, care or understand.
It’s just completely unfair to ask people to read my mind, especially when they don’t give a fuck in the first place.
An introvert’s life is tricky that way.
I will be sure to take all of this information into new, viable relationships because my work-friend was right.
I would rather chew on glass before I pretend to want to socialize with any of those vipers in Work Town.
[And by that, she - I mean "we" - mean they can all suck it.
I don't mean gentle sucking like an attentive lover caresses your hard nipple with his eager tongue. She means suck it like a Hoover-vacuum-sucks-all-of-the-crap-off-of-your-carpet-suck-it!
Ahhhh, that felt good. We are back, bayyyyyyy-bee.
Do me a favor and save all of your Oprah moments for like... Oprah or a nun or that nice lady at Target who always calls you "sugar baby." M'kay?]
Now, shut up.
I got it.
Having “friends” at work is like sticking your hand into a bee hive.
You “know” there might be honey in there somewhere, but the odds are your ass will get stung trying to find it.
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