Monday was great.
The child and I spent time with some kids/moms neither of us knew very well.
It was a welcome reminder of the fact the persona we see at drop off or pick up (rushed, brusque) is not always who the person is.
Book. Cover. Judgeth not.
As often happens when women gather conversation turned fitness and weight-loss.
Not negative self-talk, fat talk and other sorts of discussions I strive to avoid/or nudge to the positive, but more laughing about the awkward life-moments which have come out of trying to get fit.
And, as often happens with people who aren’t aware Ive not always been fit & healthy, one mom looked at me and joked:
Can you even relate to any of our stories? I bet you can’t, can you?
“Oh Sister,” I longed to say, yet didn’t quite know her well enough for said sister reference.
“I can relate. I’ve been there, experienced that, and yes he thought I was pregnant.”
It would make for a better story, perhaps, to say “I’d entirely forgotten about the awkward-interactions until yesterday’s conversation” but I’d be lying.
I may have moved past—but I definitely remember.
The first was so predictable and verging on trite (can you say that in reference to real life?!) it still feels as though it belongs more in poorly written TV sit com than in real life.
I was car shopping.
I owned a large dog.
years later. still no mini-van.
I knew most likely I didn’t want to own a minivan sized car since I had no child(ren), but given Hercules’ size (and ick-capacity. note the rope of drool in the photo above) I decided check them out anyway.
I’d look around the *entire* lot before committing to a test drive.
(Can you see where I’m going with this?)
The salesman followed close behind making a valiant effort to spark conversation and get his sales pitch going.
(I’m sure you can guess now?)
I approached the ‘too big for my needs but would rock for Hercules’ vehicle.
I opened the trunk, peered inside and tried to envision my canine companion leaping into the mini-van.
(Now you know, yes?)
I turned. The salesman turned. He looked at me and said:
“Oh!! I see! You’re expecting!! How exciting!!” He called out as he scampered to my side.
I was not. Either expecting a child or his comment.
And, of course, being who *I* am (character flaw alert!), I grew more embarrassed for him and his error than even for myself.
Time has gifted me the inability to recall precisely how I clarified for him I was not expecting (I imagine 20something me turned the joke on myself).
Time has not gifted me the inability feel on a visceral level how embarrassing the entire situation was.
(and no. no car was purchased.)
The next interaction was more humorous (even in the moment), but also transpired in front of someone I r-e-a-l-l-y wanted to impress.
Someone I eventually married.
Three of us were hanging out and the conversation eventually turned to tattoos (shocking, I realize).
My then-boyfriend said to his friend:
You should see the tattoo around her navel! Show him your Star of David!
Before I could we were distracted by something and it was only later I remembered I was going to show Then-Boyfriend’s (very, very fit) friend my navel art.
I lifted my shirt slightly (just enough so he could see the ink) and waited to hear what he thought.
Without missing a beat the friend glanced at my belly and said (loudly. we were now in a big group and no longer just 3):
That’s not so bad. You can probably lose that pretty quickly.
Yep. He’d forgotten the tattoo-comment and assumed I was showing him my stomach in search of weight-loss tips.
Whats my point with all this?
In a small way it is a reminder never to judge a person’s experience
by how s/he currently looks.
In a bigger way, yesterday reminded me of the positive-power of laughing at situations & ourselves and how contagious laughter can be.
I didn’t laugh back then.
I only mildly chuckled a year or so later.
Yesterday, as we normalized experiences & laid witness to how far we’d each come (emotionally and physically), all of us were able to find at least a kernel of humor in the awkward life experiences we shared.
- Have you found sharing uncomfortable experiences helps you see they’re not so bad after all?