Friday, September 9, 2011

Sore Thumb. Wait, square peg? Does it even matter?

No.  I did not injure my thumb or any other phalanges. 

I’m talking about sticking out like a sore thumb.  (And by the way, I once had a terribly infected cuticle on my thumb…I assure you my thumb stuck straight out…

…and felt as though a thousand fire banshees were perpetually spraying streams of hot fire urine on it while a million tiny drummers beat it to hell with their drumsticks…which were made of spears and shards of broken glass.)

But that was years ago.  

Anyways, so yeah, sticking out like a sore thumb.  Can I put that on my resume?

Anyone else thinking about Sarah Jessica Parker in the 80s?
Maybe square peg is actually more like it, actually.

(Yeah, it is.  But still.  A sore thumb really does stick out.  So that's covered.  Phew.  ANYWAYS...)

Because it’s a skill or a trait I’ve possessed since childhood.

Let me take you back to St. Paul’s elementary school circa 1987.  I spent nearly every recess watching the other kids play with each other, while I played with things like dandelions, or rocks, or worms after a really hearty rainfall.

Or sometimes I played on the swings, wishing I could just swing right up into the sky.

I wasn’t sad or depressed.  It was more like, I just never felt like I fit in.  Even when I made friends, the friendships always seemed to fizzle away—usually because someone more assertive would come along and decide that she was my old friend’s new best friend and there was no room for Tiff in the picture. 
No seriously, that happened.  Twice. 
But as an only child, I had a keen sense of doing things by myself.  I was used to it.  And that’s how I spent the majority of my childhood – alone with my imagination.  And for the most part, I was just fine with it.

As I grew, sure I had friends.  Mainly my cousins, but as time went on and I got older, I did have a core group of people I hung out with.  Still, even in their company I often felt like I just didn’t belong.  

There are a few very close people in my life who I truly feel like I fit in with.  That I rarely ever feel like some sort of strange oddity around.  And I’m super thankful for that, but for the most part I can’t seem to find my place.

Of course, these days it’s less about the social aspect, I love people.  I’m a goddamned social butterfly nowadays.  And I love to meet new friends and people.  I really do. 

But when I think about my life, I realize that there are at least two distinct facets that I’ve never quite been able to reconcile: the social me and the domestic me.
Social me goes out, has hobbies, does improv, karaoke, hangs out with friends, etc.

Domestic me hangs with Max, makes dinner, pays bills, does chores, sits at home alone or with Max.

Social me interacts with my social circle.

Domestic me rarely ever does. 

Now I’m not saying that one is better than the other.  Or that I like one aspect more than its counterpart.  That’s not true.  Each facet has its own unique sets of perks and drawbacks.

I think what’s hard for me is that I can’t find anyone in either circle to relate with both sides…if that makes sense.  

When I’m in social me mode, I have no other single parents to relate to, typically.  The biggest part of who I am, which is Max, rarely ever makes an appearance because a.) he’s a little too young for some of the events and b.) there will likely be no one around for him to hang out with.  And I’m fairly certain none of my single, childless friends really care about how awesome Max’s autobiography was, or that he blew my mind with his vocabulary over dinner. 

When I’m in domestic mode, again, I have no other single parents (or parents in general now that I think about it) to relate to.  And the parents I do meet, they tend to live the suburban life.  They don’t have an outside hobby or passion.  They like to talk about curtains.  They haven’t been out on the town in years.  So it becomes just me and Max.  As for those single, childless friends of mine, they are great with him, but I can sometimes tell they’re not entirely comfortable--which is understandable and I totally get it.

It’s almost as if I don’t even fit into my own life sometimes.  Does that even make sense?  Probably not. 
Perhaps I create this dichotomy myself.  Perhaps it’s really just a figment of my own imagination.  I’m betting that it actually is.  

But still, it’s Friday night.  I get to hang out with Max and I’m excited about that.  But then I start to think that perhaps I’d like to have one of my girls come over for a glass of wine and some shit shooting after Max goes to bed – and there’s no one to call.  (Part of that is also because 99% of my friends and acquaintances live in Chicago---but that’s a whole other story.) 

Or I see all of my improv friends taking new opportunities or performing more, and I wish so badly that I could do the same, but I know my schedule doesn’t quite allow for it.  

Some days I don’t even think about it.  And then there are other days, days like today, where I just can’t help it.  Like it’s beyond my control.  (Maybe it’s the grey weather…)

Where the heck do I fit in ?  What am I supposed to be doing?  How is it that I could be given so much in terms of having a great kid, great friends, and great opportunities to do the things that I’ve always dreamed I’d be doing (all of which I am infinitely grateful for), yet none of it seems to fit together cohesively?

Or is that just normal?  Does everybody just feel like that sometimes?  

If that’s the case, I guess I fit right in just fine then…right?

I don’t know.  I do know that eventually this nasty thought pattern will let up and I’ll get back to not feeling like a puzzle piece that doesn’t belong to any puzzle.  Well, I mean, I probably will still feel like that, it just won’t bother me.  I’ll embrace it like I usually do and recognize that I’m uniquely me, and that’s just fine.   

Even if it doesn’t seem to make a lick of sense. 

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