Friday, January 29, 2016

It's okay, you can laugh

Years ago my mother's mantra to me was this-
Laugh and the world laughs with you. Cry and you cry alone.
'Course she's the one who used to sing Cry Baby to me whenever I did cry.
Which was a lot when I was a kid. But whatever.

Earlier this month we attended my husbands annual holiday party.
Yes, it is held after the holidays. And it is held on a Wednesday night.
I'm guessing his boss gets a cheaper better rate for the banquet room that we use.
It is a more relaxed atmosphere to be honest. It's 30 people in plain clothes, no rank and no uniforms.
Nice conversation with nice people in a nice restaurant with nice food.
It was a nice night :)
Once it wraps up and people start grabbing their coats it's time for the dreaded good bye.
I say dreaded because it involves a handshake or a hug or that weird awkward crap you say when it's time to leave and nobody wants to be the first out the door for fear of being the couple that broke up the party.
Then it's walking past the other couples that are donning their coats to head towards the host of the party and his wife.
They are friendly, lovely, wonderful people. True pillars of the community.
We say our thanks to them for a lovely meal and then it's time for that awkward hand shake or hug thingy. You know what I'm talking about, right?
They extend their hand but you've already moved forward for a hug and so what happens is that his hand grabs your hand but your forward momentum sandwiches both of your hands (yours and his) which are gripped in a handshake right smack into the middle of your bosom.
Every. Single. Time. Girls.  Every time.
I am not only awkward at small talk but awkward when there isn't any talking at all.
That's right...I'm an awkward hugger too.
I could have sworn that his boss was going in for a hug. Not a creepy one but a genuine hug.
So on the way home I tell my husband how I hate feeling so awkward during the good-bye part of these evenings.
He asks me why.  I tell him that I am embarrassed about moving in for a hug when his boss was going for a handshake. That I feel dumb and remorseful. And can't stop feeling stupid about it.
He nonchalantly tells me that everybody was being hugged and to not worry about it.
I asked him "Don't you worry about these things? Don't things like that bother you?"
He rocked my world by answering No. No?!?
No. Simple as that.
I busted out laughing at myself because I really do take myself too seriously and then girls...I let it go.
And haven't worried about it or thought about it since (with the exception of this telling).

So, today at the market, I ran in to an old high school friend.
Queue up the awkward small talk.
Son of a.......Why am I so F@#&ing bad at this???
She asks if my husband and I are still together, and how many years have we been married.
"Uh..33 or 34" I tell her. She says they are still together after 35 years.
She wants to know our secret to staying together. I tell her this-
"The way I figure it, if we had gotten divorced the next person I married would have his own version of faults and things that would aggravate me so I might as well stay with the man I'm with."
Plus I tell her that I still think my husband is cute and that I think he smells wonderful.
Blink......blank stare......Uh.....crickets flash..........shit.
I got that exact same feeling in my gut as the handshake/hug thing with my husbands boss.
Why am I so awkward??
More to the point, why do things like this bother me so much?
Why do I feel like I need to find a way to call her and try to fix it?
Uh..I didn't mean to say that he smelled good..uh....What I meant to say was...uh..
For heaven's sake that would just make it so much worse!! And I know it.
I'm trying to find the humor in this but really all I feel is that weird humiliating shame thing that happens to me when I open my mouth and try to engage in small talk.
I always say too much. It's as if I have no filters.
I leave the market feeling stupid, again, and remind myself to keep my mouth shut in the future.

An hour later I found this on my Instagram feed.

Wowsa. That feels a lot better than telling myself that I'm awkward and foolish.

Next time I see this friend I will tell her Only my surface is disturbed. not.
Maybe I should just stop trying so hard.

When I first saw Annette I hugged her and felt awkward and stupid afterwards for being so forward, like maybe I should have just waited for her to make a move to hug me, but no...I dove right at her in my haste to meet her and say Hi!
Again, maybe I should just stop trying so hard.

To me it feels awkward to be still and silent and awkward to be open and up front. It feels awkward to be truthful and it feels awkward to lie.
It feels awkward to be honest with you guys and hope that y'all don't think I've lost my mind.
Geez...Get a grip Lolly.

Truthfully this awkwardness only happens with people on the periphery of my life. It's with people that I don't see very often or people that are merely acquaintances.

When I settle down and think about it I'm not really that awkward.
I have a spouse and sisters and a best friend and kids and grandkids and extended family that I am NOT awkward with.
I can hug them and talk with them and laugh with them and not feel weird or foolish.

Maybe it's just as simple as this - I need to stop hugging strangers that I sort of know.
I need to stop saying that I am foolish or weird or awkward because I stink at small talk.
I need to learn to laugh at myself and not take the world or myself so seriously.
I need to remind myself that Only my surface is disturbed.
The rest of this beautiful hot mess that is me, in my core, is NOT disturbed.
I love myself, I am happy, I am at peace, I can be still.
Only my surface is disturbed.


  1. I believe whole-heartedly in hugs and that they make this planet we live on a little more tolerable. If the recipient of your hugs is unable to gracefully accept them. too bad for him or her. I give them freely because that is who I am regardless of who anyone else is.

    PS. Charmed by the fact that, after 34 years, you still think your hubby smells nice.

  2. OK, if you had said that to me I would have loved it and laughed and given you a hug. In my opinion that woman that asked has no personality. What you said, all of it, was perfect and honest.

  3. Oh my gosh, I love this post Lolly and I love you! I love that you hugged me and I felt immediately at ease with you. Its ok to be a hugger even when others aren't. It won't kill them and it might even make them happy! You are wonderful and so kind and so sweet and you most certainly have absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed of. I agree with Birdie. I would have laughed and thought it was awesome that you think your husband smells good! She was probably shocked because she doesn't feel that way about her husband. Maybe they just tolerate each other. Who knows! But your truth is your truth and you can shout it out and there is not one thing wrong with it!

  4. It's nice to be introduced to your blog, Valerie. Or do you prefer Lolly? :O It sounds like you are a deep-feeling introvert. They make the best kind of friends. xoxo