This weekend I found myself in the middle of a moment that was pretty awesome.
So I have this thing. It’s been like this for awhile, and it’s gotten a whole lot better. But it’s still a thing. And it’s just slightly problematic, because I’m going to be married in 3 weeks.
Married people kind of freak me out.
I don't know how to talk or interact with them.
Ok, so I know that sounds weird. For the record, a lot of things freak me out. Like I’m not just naturally comfortable around much. Maybe just kids and animals. And being in the woods. I’m pretty much always at ease with those. But mostly everything else takes me awhile to adjust too.
So I guess I need to elaborate on my feelings a bit.
I told someone this yesterday and he gave me a questioning look, that asked the same question that I’m sure you are asking. “Why do married people freak you out?”
Well, there are multiple facets to this. From my experience, married people are just so… different. Like it’s hard for me to relate to them. Conversations with married people don’t always just come naturally. I just don’t know what to say. And I’m sure I’m just being weird. But it’s just a thing I feel.
I feel like I don’t know what to say. That they are living this whole realm of life that I know nothing about. And I get all insecure. And I feel small. Like for some reason, they’ve advanced in this awesome level in life, that I’ve not achieved. And they are the “real adults” who work jobs and own houses and all that. And I’m not good enough. (Yes, I do have a job and own a house and am 26 so I am an adult) And I know this might sound silly. But this is what happens in my head.
And if I overly psyche myself out, then all normal human interactions become near impossible. Anxiety mode goes into full effect and I shut down. Talkative Emily that never stops talking and always something to say about everything is replaced with Shy Emily that wants to crawl into a hole and die rather than open her mouth to try and say anything because her brain has completely shut down. I am convinced I have no good thing to say, and I should just go away. I lose all sense of myself and all that I have to offer.
Now if I have some one on one time with a married person, and really get to know them, then I’m good. I can remember that they are a regular person and not some different species.
It kind of reminds me of a conversation I had with another woman I’ve slowly been getting to know. She’s married with two kids. We had lunch one day and I was newly dating. I was talking about this issue with her. And somehow we stumbled onto this little nugget of awareness. I always have the tendency to think that married people don’t want to spend time with me. And that ultimately I have nothing to offer. And she blurted out that she feels the exact same way! That college students would never want to hang out with married people with kids. That she would essentially have nothing to offer. College students wouldn't want to hang out with her. And it just clicked in my brain.
It’s been good for me to have several deep relationships with people in different spots of life than me. It’s been so rich and beneficial to my life. I lived with a family for a couple of months when I was temporarily homeless. It was HUGE for me to see the way the husband would treat his wife. The way the mom would interact with her children.
My closest friendship by far is with a single mom. We are COMPLETE OPPOSITES in most every aspect of life. And I’ve learned and endured and experienced more with this woman than I could have ever imagined. I love her more than I ever knew you could even love another person.
I spend excessive amounts of time with children. All ages from babies to high schoolers. I don’t babysit. I welcome them into my life. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been paid to watch kids. I won’t let parents pay me anymore. Not because I’m rich. But because they are my family. I live life with them. I plan hangouts with them the same way I do with friends my age. Picnics and parties and eating out. I remember thinking of them as soon as I started dating and carefully planning how I would tell them. I love them. We share life and moments and laughter and struggles. One of the main components of my wedding is making it kid friendly. Because I want nothing more than to share my day with the little ones. They’ve been as much as a part of my life as the adults.
And they leave me bits of awesome encouragement that decorate my office walls. And I don't know what I would do without them.
So this weekend I was at a retreat with my church. Yesterday during lunch me and Greg had just finished getting our food and a friend of mine came over and told me that they had a table and they’d love to have us sit with them. The dining hall was super crowded and they were opening up one of the side rooms for us to sit in. I was SUPER thankful because crowds mess me up, especially dining areas like this. So we made our way though the masses and sat at their table.
It was bit out of the way and it felt easier to breathe. One of the staff was lighting a fireplace behind us and I felt thankful for the provision. It felt so warm and cozy, where moments before the situation was headed towards one full of stress.
I sat next to Greg and my wonderful friend and her husband. Next to them was another married couple that we know fairly well. They asked us questions about our upcoming wedding. We laughed at random things. My heart warmed at seeing how quick witted my future husband is. He kept right up with the silliness. Everything felt easy and comfortable and just wonderful.
At some point it hit me in the face. I WAS DOING IT!! We were doing it. We were sitting here at a table eating lunch with two married couples. We were doing the thing! And it felt awesome! And I didn’t even notice it. And I was good at it. I was being myself and it was great.
It felt like that moment when you are a kid learning to ride your bike. And you are all paranoid and keep looking behind yourself to make sure that your parent is holding on to your bike as you are pedaling. And if they try to let go, you get all freaked out and yell at them and threaten to get off the bike and stop trying forever. But eventually your parent gets super sneaky and they end up letting go without you realizing it. And you are off on your own pedaling and not falling. And then when you realize you are doing it on your own, it’s the best feeling in the world. Well after the split second of panic and fear when you realize you are in fact doing it on your own.
So yeah, I had that moment. I had a normal conversation with married people. And I enjoyed it. We did the thing. And it was awesome.