People make an awful lot of assumptions when you keep the majority of your thoughts private. They desperately try to read your body language and facial expressions, but they don’t know what any of them mean, so again, they make assumptions. I’m not the kind of person anyone should be making assumptions about.
I have a very close-knit group of friends who I’d do anything for. I have a handful of family members I value, and sometimes even that is iffy. Beyond that, I keep things extremely quiet. It doesn’t mean I don’t think, feel, or love. It just means I keep things contained. My brother calls it “extreme cop face”. He will often joke that I’m working for the CIA because I keep my private life SO private, it’s basically a mystery. Growing up the way I did, I felt like I had to. It was a way of protecting myself. We all have coping mechanisms that, on occasion, follow us through life. It doesn’t mean they’re wrong or that you need to change, it’s simply how you keep yourself in check.
This is the second year in a row where I was invited to Passover functions. My entire life before this, I either spent the holiday with my parents and Grandmother, or I didn’t celebrate at all. I was sick in bed last year, so I did not attend anything. I’m not that far from it now, I’m in horrific agony, but this year I just flat-out said no. No to someone else’s friends, where I can’t go through the interrogation I know is coming, and no to my cousins, because I’m not schlepping thirty minutes away two nights in a row for something that isn’t all that important to me. Sad, but true. I love my cousin and I’d kill for him, but not enough to sit through something that is basically traumatic for me.
Because I said no, assumptions were made and accusations flew. I was accused of being “socially phobic”. Not true. I am not AFRAID of people. If I were, I’d never leave the fucking house or speak to anyone! I dislike people. I dislike inane conversation, things that do not matter to me, conversation I have no business taking part in, bullshit, falseness, disloyalty, petty, catty crap, and knowing in advance that I don’t belong. What smart person puts themselves into situations where they already know they do NOT belong?! I don’t. I have better things to do with my time. It’s valuable.
I am not one of those people that believes that good exists in everyone. I’m smarter than that. That’s like saying prisons aren’t full of murderers and rapists. Yeah, I bet they all have hearts of gold, too (Yes, I do enjoy my sarcasm.). If people want to meet me, they should be able to do so on comfortable terms. A holiday is not one of them. That’s my feeling on the subject. Besides, I lack the ability to pretend I’m enjoying myself when I am in pain, annoyed, or intolerant of those around me. I like so few people, it’s not even funny, but I am by no means phobic of others. I’ve made more new friends in the past year than I’ve made in the last ten. If I was indeed “socially phobic”, those friendships would never have made it as far as they have. Those I am now super-close with never would have gotten as close as they have, either. So let’s call it what it actually is: Socially selective. I’ve always been this way. I’ve always picked and chosen my friends because I am the type of person that doesn’t have to accept the crumbs of life. My mother always told me “Choose your friends wisely.” She was right. I’ve been burned by friends I did not choose, so there you go. I am socially selective. It’s not a fucking crime against humanity.
I don’t feel the need to attend every single thing I am invited to. Let’s face it; there aren’t a lot of things to begin with and sometimes, when I’m not sick, I just want peace and quiet to focus on the work I’m doing.
I have a religious function coming up in late June/early July that I will indeed attend, but I’ve known about it for months and that’s different than last-minute mentions. I have time between now and then to put an outfit together, and even if I feel like shit, drag myself because I promised my cousin I’d be there. It’s a special moment for him, and since I’m the only family he has here, I’ll go because he asked and because he told me how he felt about me living so close.
I have a friend coming to visit this summer, as well. We’re trying to plan a day or two where we can just hang out and have fun. I’d NEVER agree to being out in the sun during the summer for just anyone, so she was thrilled when I suggested we make solid plans. For me to know in advance that I have something to look forward to is really nice. But these are things with my peers. If I’m going out, I want to have fun. I don’t want to be pissed off, miserable, depressed, unhappy, in pain, or have my plans made for me by someone else. Life is short and I want to enjoy the time I spend and who I spend it with. I want to be able to be myself, knowing I’m not being judged. I want to be around people who appreciate and respect that I am imperfect, goofy, inappropriately hilarious, sarcastic, witty, smart, and that I don’t take crap from anyone. There’s a softer side to me, too, but very few people get to see her and that’s exactly how it should be. I believe in reserving pieces of myself for myself.
I can’t recall the last time someone asked me what I wanted to do instead of telling me what was being done and asking if I wanted to tag along. There’s a difference between the two, and for me, it’s an immense difference. If someone wants to spend time with me, it can’t be all about them. That’s not right, nor is it fair. If “going out” is going to leave me stressed, angry, in pain, or worse, all three, then I’m not going to engage. I’d gain more by staying home and learning something as opposed to making myself sick.
This year, I just need the holiday to pass. I am trying to focus on my health. I have a doctor’s appointment scheduled and I want to go into it with a list of issues to cover. I want to hit as many points as humanly possible because no one should have to suffer like this. I always tell other people to make lists before they go to the doctor, and I find myself doing that now, too. I know it will result in x-rays, lab work, MRIs, and a referral to a neurologist, but that’s better than nothing. I’d rather look forward to all of that as opposed to continuing to suffer. I can handle starting fresh, but I can’t handle the pain for another second. I shouldn’t be struggling to walk or feeling like someone has put rods in my spine. I am tired of feeling like I’ve been beaten or run over by a truck. I’m tired of looking at my back and seeing nothing but bruises. Hell, I’m tired of finding bruises on my body, period.
Not celebrating a crucial holiday has nothing to do with my faith. G-d knows who and what I am. I am imperfect. I pray. I hold doors for people. I let people ahead of me on line in stores. I give to charity and help people whenever I am able. I call people and check in to make sure they’re okay. I write letters, e-mails, and send cards. I try never to forget a birthday or an important moment in someone’s life. Celebrating a holiday doesn’t make you a good or bad person. Being emotionally present for people is more important to me. Not being cruel and hurtful is more important to me. Being able to look at myself in the mirror and know I do more right than wrong is more important to me.
I’ve said it before, but life is indeed short. I don’t get to spend a lot of it happy. Hell, I can’t remember the last time I was happy or what it felt like, but at the beginning and end of each day, at least I’m real. These things don’t have to be important to everyone, but they do have to be important to me.
Wishing everyone a Happy Passover and/or a lovely week ahead.
copyright © 2017 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.