Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Popular" Sucks (or Pet Peeve #?)

I was never a popular kid. I suppose, like most kids, I wanted to be. It seemed like a good idea to have half the school population clamoring for your attention, wanting your opinion and seeking you out every day of the week for fun & exciting events and outings. Best of all, it would be a sure fire defense against boredom, being kept busy by all your fans and devotees.

I had my group of friends but I dare say I wasn't even one of the more popular within my own group. Despite all the lovely benefits of being popular, one of the most important aspects is something I am not good at - chit chat. Knowing this is a big weakness of mine, I avoid it almost at all costs. I don't start conversations with strangers, I don't initiate phone calls and I hold back, sometimes way back at social events. Those things put me far out of my comfort zone. Even family gatherings, which I don't do much anymore since leaving the west coast, I invariably found myself on the perimeters looking in. Discomfort sometimes feels like my natural state of being.

That may seem very odd if you know me, because I love teaching. But let me tell you, teaching is simply a role I play. Perhaps I just don't know the role of playing myself.

There is one place that I am popular. Within my own little family of four. And there are times I would definitely like to step out of this role. Let's start with the hubby. He works 60-70 hour weeks. When he's home he wants my attention. Even though he may be spending most of his time at home with his laptop working, he still wants me in the room. And if I am on my laptop playing a game or otherwise entertaining myself it displeases him. I do not do well just sitting in front of a TV... I need something else going on, cross stitch, paper crafts, computer, DS... anything. And all those things annoy him. I guess he can "compete" with the TV but anything else is too much. If he wants to "get away" that does not include our offspring. I do understand that we need husband/wife get away time, but I also enjoy our family of four time, too. I also understand that Daughter 1's retail management job and Daughter 2's college career/part time retail job make it very difficult to find time for a family getaway, but I do hate excluding them.

So what about the daughters? Both having retail jobs makes time together difficult to arrange, and adding college classes makes it darn near impossible. Add to that one being over the age of 21 and the other not, adds another dimension. So I spend time with either of them on an "as available" basis. Recently it was running errands with one. With the other we planned a half day trip to a previously unexplored location. You would think dividing up my time like that would work, right?


Each outing with one person seems to bring out the worst in another. I hate this with a passion. Something I tried to overcome way back in the dark ages was the idea that two other people getting together was a bad reflection on me. It's not. So why why why, do I have to hear things like, "you always wait until I am busy to do something" from the person that has to work? Do I have sit and do nothing until every member of my family happens to have a day free at the same time? Because Daughter 1 has to work am I not allowed to spend time with Daughter 2?

What ever happened to phrases like, "that sounds fun, have a blast!" instead of "poor little me, I can't go." I absolutely abhor being put in the position of leaving someone out, and yet every member of my family makes me feel that way, makes me feel like I am responsible for their happiness or unhappiness.

Adulthood means having responsibilities and having responsibilities sometimes sucks. It may mean one can't do or be everywhere they'd like. But all I am asking is to please please please suck it up and be happy for what you get. Being popular apparently comes with a huge serving of guilt. If that's the cost, then I don't want any, thank you very much.

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