Do you ever feel like you have certain groups of people where you keep saying things that…aren’t representative of you?
I do. It’s my neighbors.
We live in a really awesome neighborhood, full of older homes and “mature” landscaping. Around here, that means it’s “transitional,” in that half of the owners are the old jerks who paid $67,000 for their 2500 sf home (or, “original owners” being the nicer way to say that.) They’re not really jerks, they’re just in a different stage of life, not really “friend” material. The other half are folks with kids. For whatever reason, we’re finally getting out more, going for family walks and have started socializing in the streets. It’s exciting; I have felt that *knowing* our neighbors was something missing for us. And they have kids moderately close in age to Margo, so that’s an awesome perk.
But, it’s weird. I keep feeling pigeonholed by the random questions they ask me and the lack of time/ability to explain myself or even be myself. Some of that is the kids’ fault; hard to see a convo thru when boys are playing in the street and crashing bikes into each other. And I sorta get stuck in these odd conversations and get one weird question and no time to clarify. I’m frustrated, and they think I’m too young, pregnant/anti-alcohol and/or politically ambivalent and a prude. I’m MAYBE one of those things, (if you think 30 is young.)
Like, Friday night there was an impromtu gathering in someone’s driveway. BYOB, kids play till bed, music in the garage. Fun stuff. Well, it devolved into ladies/men groups. The lady group was talking about books, and I’m like “ooo! This is my convo!” Then, of course, 50 Shades comes up and they’re all “did you/didn’t you read it” and asked me. I can’t lie… so I said that yeah, I read half of it and couldn’t finish. Then they sorta brushed me off, and I was left feeling like an illiterate prude. I’m NOT!
And then they’re like “do you want a beer?” I didn’t, I was running 8 miles the next day, and had one with dinner (which was sorta pushing my limit) “No thanks.” “Aw, are you sure!?” *look at me like I’m crazy*
Sigh. I’m not crazy. And also? It’s okay if someone doesn’t want to drink. It’s ok! There are many, many reasons that someone might not drink and it doesn’t (shouldn’t) need explained. Anyway, now they think I’m pregnant and/or one of those judgey non-drinkers. I keep thinking it would be a good entree into mentioning I’m running a marathon, maybe give them a sense of something I *do* like, you know, proactively… but alas, not yet.
Then there was talk of someone’s birthday. “How old are you, Jamie?” 30 – “oh…” no “oh you’re so young, but dude, I’m 13 years younger than at least one of them. And frankly, the 15 year old daughter of one of them? I had the best convo with her. The more I think about the awkwardness we’ve been experiencing, perhaps the age gap IS the bigger issue.
Then, THEN!, politics comes up. I want to vanish. I have a dumb democrat (meaning she kinda sorta knows the issues, but won’t stand by any statement and follows everything up with some hedge to negate her statement like “but all politicians are liars,” or “but I don’t really know, I disagree with other parts of the democratic platform”) and a financially motivated republican who proclaims proudly she doesn’t like him, but she’d “vote for Mitt twice just for no capital gains tax.” Huh. I’m not TOUCHING this. And so I get to listen to this inane political back and forth, trying not to agree too arduously with stupid dem. I’m just getting to know these ppl, I don’t want to be defined by my politics (a problem “Don’t touch my capital gains” lady doesn’t seem to share.)
I actually got up and joined the men at that point. Margo had a good time, and once the lady chat broke up it bounced back a little. I was just left feeling misunderstood and sorta misjudged. They’re nice people, there’s nothing malicious about any of it, but I just don’t feel like I’m able to accurately portray myself in these weird social situations. I don’t really know how to remedy it either… since it seems to compound on itself and I’ll probably be more awkward next time. Humph.