Monday, May 23, 2011

Fear and Loathing

Dramatic, I know. Over the top? Sure. Accurate? Not quite, but almost. Have you ever been the new kid? I have been the new kid plenty of times. Some of those times I had some advantage to take the sting of newness away. Some of the time I have felt I was at a disadvantage. I changed schools in 1st grade, in 2nd grade, 6th grade, 9th grade and 10th grade. Then again in college. College doesn't really count, though. Well, I was the new kid, but no one really knew it, because there are so many people in college. But I had a kid - and that was a bit of a disadvantage for me. Or an advantage. I couldn't tell you even one person's name from college. I went to class, went to work, went to other work, or went home to take care of Meg. And that was fine with me, mostly. I really wasn't into parties. I wasn't into making friends or hanging out - there was just too much to do. Plus, events of  my life had shattered shaken my previous self confidence. I never really got it all the way back. I wouldn't take chances on people not liking me, so I just ignored the fact that there were other people in my classes and said as little as possible to them for the 6.5 years I was there.

When I started a new school I usually had my little sister to worry about, to keep me from worrying about myself - and that helped. It was good to worry about her lunch, or pulling up her socks, or her making friends. But, when I started at a new school in 9th grade, she was at a different school. I was going to a high school that several middle schools dumped into, so I didn't seem "new" to anyone, and I sort of just slid right in with a group of pretty cool girls. I had a great time that year. I hadn't learned to be shy or self conscious. 

Back to being the new kid... you know that feeling you get right before the first day at school? That sort of nervous excitement, the level of which depends on what advantage or disadvantage you see for yourself in any given social or classroom situation. Sometimes, depending on the circumstances, I would be happy/excited, other times, just shear dread, like when we moved home from Arizona and I had to start high school as a sophomore in Arizona clothes - you know, clothes are everything in high school, and my clothes were Arizona clothes - Ohio was about 2 years behind Arizona, fashion wise. My clothes looked like I had just landed from Mars. I stuck out. I was odd. I had cropped, printed jeans, weird sandals and sloppy, loopy shirts that hung to one side. I was the weirdo. And everyone already had made their friends. Thankfully, my Boo and I had lunch together, and a big goofball in the form of a soon to be dear friend rode our bus.

Tomorrow I am starting work back in an office again for the first time in a long time ( I have worked from home almost entirely for years). I know some or many of the people there, including my familiar security blanket, my sister, Dana (she probably doesn't realize she served as a security blanket for all those first days of school). Even though this is a "family" business, that almost makes it harder. I have yet to put my finger on why, but I know it has to do with being the oldest, but not in charge. Weird and unnatural, if you ask me. I am used to being in charge and working for my little brother's company has always been off kilter in that respect. But it has offered the blessing of working from home - and what a blessing that has been.

I don't know why this is filling me with so much anxiety, but it is. I have been two heart beats from a panic attack for days. I hate that. I feel like such a wuss. I used to be strong and confident. (I also used thin and pretty, I have a feeling those go hand in hand with confidence.) I now use my kids as a security blanket. I rarely go anywhere without at least a few of them. I don't know who to be without them, and I reeeeaallllly want to tuck the baby into my purse and just take him with me for the day. I don't know what to wear. My mom asked me what I was planning to wear the other day, and I just don't have those kinds of clothes. You know, the ones not stained by breastmilk and peanutbutter. The ones that don't have holes in the back pockets. And I am pretty sure I don't even own a non-nursing bra. Maybe one I bought for a wedding. I do have a couple of pairs of pants I bought a few months ago to wear to church, so I guess I will wear my church pants and my wedding bra, and attempt to find a shirt that covers...everything. Shoes? I have no idea. I have 1 pair of brown sandal deals that are about 10 years old that I consider my "good" shoes... meaning that they are not technically flip flops. I also own a couple questionable pairs of Berkinstock clogs that Doug calls my "pregnant" shoes. I think I'll wear the sandal deals - they are the least gross. I'll check out the other girls and see if I can get away with my favorite brown flip flops from Target.

Why are shoes so important, anyway? I have spent the last 14 years almost entirely at home, and almost entirely barefoot and pregnant. And I liked it. I feel totally out of my element. I am old - the people *mostly in the office are young! So young, some of them were born in the 80's! When I was in high school. I don't know how to be the older person. I don't know how to not be in charge. I don't know how to not be the mom, or the teacher. Or the wife. I don't even know exactly what I'll be doing - so what if I suck at it?

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