What is that feeling I’m having again? It’s so familiar. Not a good thing, either. Why am I acting so awkwardly? Why am I not talking? What’s wrong?
Oh yeah. I’m the odd one out.
It happens every once in a while. Very rarely, really. In this case, it’s me and a small group of ladies I would call acquaintances (as opposed to friends). They’re friendly. They’re nice. In their presence, I feel like a dork. I’m not telling the right stories. I’m not keeping my crayon between the lines of the coloring book we’re using. Maybe I have an intensity about issues I shouldn’t. Maybe it’s how I wave my middle finger in the air to punctuate a story (never at somebody, more like to make a point). Maybe I should have smaller boobs and stop wearing tribal earrings (I swear, the only remotely “edgy” thing I have going!).
It’s times like this I am grateful I (generally) like myself, and that I know people who like me for the person I am. Most of these people are women who are – to use my friend Steph’s descriptive of yours truly – “brassy”, irreverent, and outspoken, like me.
But sometimes – like now – I feel an elusive cliquishness that distresses me. I don’t know how to break the code and play by the rules. I want to. I don’t have a problem playing by different rules. So I stop saying anything snarky, or the word “crotch”, or talking about my husband’s ass. Still, I can tell I’m not fitting in. It isn’t working! Last resort? Be quiet. Be a wallflower. Go home to those who like you. Call best friend up and share an amusing sexual harassment story.
These days I know enough about people to know that exclusivity is often not deliberate – it’s a miscommunication between species. In this case, the vanilla-wafer jock / cheerleader girl with the overly-friendly, foul-mouthed trollop who takes smoke breaks behind the gym (guess which one I am?). It doesn’t even hurt, exactly.
And then I wonder – do I do the same to other girls? Who are they, and what’s their story? And why are they silent?
If that’s me, I’m truly sorry, sisters.