I am a difficult person to like. I am not altogether sure why this is or why it has plagued me for most of my life. I don’t know how I come across or why people tended to go out of their way to avoid me – it has always been there. I was the kid with one or two friends, sometimes even one or two best friends. But never more than that.
I have been aware of this deficiency in me since long before anyone pointed it out to me. It has never really been my looks, my grades, my voice or any other easy to define issue that has always caused me problems. Don’t mistake me, I am not a queen of anything, certainly not beauty, but I am average. I try in so many ways to be normal.
My default position these days is to simply ignore or deny all of it. I speak of the mothers on my son’s baseball team as being snooty, or more interested in their shoes than their child. I talk about the men in my son’s boy scout troop as being ridiculous or frustrating.
But the truth is I know even when I write those posts, even when I am able to convince my readers of this truth, that I am really just putting up defenses. The truth is those other parents are probably perfectly nice people; they just don’t like me. The truth is those other parents seem to have that same magic all those people in college had that I just seemed to have missed.
But I do dismiss them with the power of all my anonymity. I dismiss them because they dismiss me. And despite my age, my child’s age, it still really hurts. It hurts that it doesn’t happen to my husband and it hurts that it doesn’t happen to my sister; it hurts because no matter how many people say that I need to try harder or worse that it is only in my mind, the truth is I am simply not like-able.
I think that over the years it has become harder and harder for people that are in some way part of my life to see me as a potential friend. It is a horrible cycle – I pretend it doesn’t matter which pushes people away. And every time I think it really doesn’t matter I am reminded that to me, it very much does.
I took my five year old daughter to a birthday party this weekend. A typical party for a five year it contained enough sugary sweet love to make Disney look like an amateur. My daughter had a grand time running around, eating pizza, playing with the toys, and eating cake. The other girls were nice to her and while I never got the impression she was the most popular child but I wonder if at five years old there is such a thing.
I sat on the sidelines as directed, one to keep an eye on my child, but mostly because this time I was determined to make an effort. I had never spent any time with these women, the mothers of the other girls, so I wanted to be open, friendly and seemingly willing to be friends with whoever. I injected myself politely in a couple of brief conversations and answered every question with a kind and smiling response. In other words, I tried hard.
And what happened? I was ignored. I sat while the other mothers around me made plans for the next weekend in my ear shot, never once thinking of my child or of me. I sat there and listened to them talk about their teacher, their lives, and their other children. And not once was I asked about my thoughts, opinions, goals, or even my daughter’s thoughts. I was literally shunned.
Before you immediately make excuses for these ladies, don’t worry I already have for you. It is the only way I can protect myself. I know that I am new to the group and it is hard to engage someone who doesn’t know everyone’s history. I know that they probably don’t see each other very often except at their daughter’s birthday parties so it turns into a time of gossip. I know that they don’t think of the price of that purse or shoes in the same way I have been raised. I know that they see a girl, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt and no make-up as a bum and someone who is uncomfortable to be around. I know all of this – and it still hurts so much.
I always thought that I was bigger than this. I always thought that at least I was smarter than everyone else or that I at least had a family that no one could compare to. I always thought that I was apart from the need for others to like me. I thought I was past the part that I need approval from someone else. I always thought that I could handle this being alone. But it hurts.
My daughter or my son for that matter are not yet affected by their mother’s lack of desirability. They won’t have the same issue with their father as he seems to have that what ever it is that people want to get closer to. But I am scared for my daughter especially when she realizes that all the other girls are being invited to places she isn’t; and the reason she isn’t is because of her mother.
I am scared that I am going to hurt my daughter’s chance to be whatever it is that she wants to be. I am scared that she won’t be able to ultimately find her dreams because her mother stood so firmly in her way. I am very scared that she will be painted with the same brush I always have.
I watch my children, I watch over my children. I find myself scrutinizing every move every five year old around my daughter is making. I find myself almost obsessed with wondering how a five year old girl likes my five year old girl. Disappointment is part of life but it shouldn’t come at the price of your own mother. Will I lose my daughter when she finally has to realize that her mother is a liability, the ultimate roadblock to everything that seems so important when you are young?
I am desperate to find a way to make perfect strangers like me in a way I haven’t done since I was very young. And I feel ridiculous actually believing that these women are for one moment ever thinking about me. I feel ridiculous that I am not yet old enough to ignore what has happened my whole life. I feel ridiculous that even as I type this I am crying because there is literally no one I can call to talk to about it.
I am not on the top. I am not on the bottom. I am an average girl wishing that someone liked me too. I have always been the average girl since the day I was born, wishing that I too had that special magic that gave you friends. I am not sure why I was denied that magic or who exactly denied me that magic. But in this cold, lonely world, I wish for that magic with all my heart.