Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You're Me Except in the Ways That You Are Not

I confessed something to some friends a few weeks ago.* I didn't really want to say it because it made me sound like a terrible person. I have my friends convinced that I am a very cool, generous, funny person and while I didn't trick them into that on purpose--I sure don't want to go out of my way to correct them, you know? Don't rock the boat. Anyway, I told them this thing about my personality that I tend to keep a secret and all they said was, "Oh, thank God. Me too."
*It's not that I don't want to tell you here, or anything it would just completely derail and distract from the actual point that I'm trying to make.
I'm really beginning to learn that sometimes we like to think that we're the only ones like ourselves. And sometimes we hate to think that way but we do it anyway. People are always prefacing their opinions with things like, "maybe it's just me". I think that we humans are all very, very similar. You know, except when we are polarizingly different. We like to think that men and women are completely different from one another and it's a magical feat when they can communicate or have successful relationships. If I feel particularly insecure about something, I can let that uncertainty manifest itself in a myriad of ways. For the sake of example, I'll tell you that I tend to replay conversations. I go back in my mind and think of all of the things that I should have said or could have said to make a better point or I consider all of the things that the other person could have thought that I meant when all I was trying to say was ____. This happens and I hear people say (some joking, some not) "you are being such a girl." If a boy is particularly reserved or aloof, he's chided for being "such a guy!"

Here's something that I recently learned: that's not a girl thing or a guy thing. That's a human thing. Humans replay conversations, obsess over which jeans to wear and what time to shower to ensure an appropriate overlap between incredible hair and a lack of body odor. Humans get jealous over things that they never had rights to in the first place. Humans want to seem like they have all of their shit together even though we're all kind of just flailing in the deep end. People are people are people. And that excites me. It levels out the playing field.

We like to think that we know what the right thing is to do. We offer advice, like we have any idea at all. We say things like, "tell him [something that no one in their right mind would ever realistically say]," or "don't let it get to you." I'm going to take a minute, here, to interject that there are few things that you can say to me that can rival the physical reaction that "don't let it get to you" does. It feels like an attack on my reason. I already know that my reason is flawed, I don't need anyone else pointing it out. It's like mentioning that you'd like to buy a new couch and someone reminding you that you've got forty cents in your checking account and all you want to do is scream at them for thinking that you don't know the things that are positioned squarely in the forefront of your mind. But you can't say anything because the only word that comes to mind is a violently immature, "doy!"

Everyone is a person. Everyone is very complex and everyone is incredibly simple and yes there's a paradox in that but it's not untrue. I'm a 27 year old woman who's got an insatiable urge to run away and ignore work and spend the day in the park eating bologna sandwiches and ice cream cones and swinging until my legs ache. I think you want something like that, too.


Ryan said...

"You're all I am, I'm what you're not. Confusing." -Over the Rhine

Katie Hurl said...

Libby, this is perfect. Wonderfully stated. :)

The Foreigners said...

I love being reminded about how normal I am. I'm always a little bit afraid that I'm broken, in some way.
And I definitely, truly, deeply want to live my life swinging instead of working. You've got me pegged.

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