We had our Thanksgiving potluck at my work today. I brought a very tasty apple crisp (thanks Miriam for the recipe!) and it all went pretty well. The food was good across the board, especially a Brussel sprouts dish someone made and someone else brought a really tasty sweet potato casserole.
Anyway, as we are standing around milling about I realize I don’t really know many of these people. When that happened I have a moment of panic and kind of switch into a default mode which, for me, is trying to be helpful. It’s what I do when I am nervous. It may sound cute, but in reality it makes me very uncomfortable. I suddenly feel awkward and nervous and stupid. Obsequious even.
I am suddenly that fat 9th grader I was over half a lifetime ago.
I want to be liked and accepted. Not that you likely care but I moved around a lot as kid. My mom was married 3 times which means I was abandoned in a major way 3 times by the man who was my model and my idol.
I am older now and know that situations and people change and situations change and we all make choices but that is how if felt.
I had to make new friends every time I moved and had to say goodbye to friends. At some point the pain outweighed the benefits so my naturally gregarious Leo nature became more subdued. Sure, I could make friends fast but I stopped wanting to because it was inevitable we would say goodbye, promise to write each other knowing that we wouldn’t and then (maybe) connect on Facebook 20 years later.
Which brings me back to the potluck and the realization that even though I have had a full and awesome life of doing many amazing and quite often stupid things. I have a beautiful wife whom I love and have been married to for 10 years and dated for nearly 5 before. I have 2 gorgeous daughters. My name is even different in that I made a very conscious decision to go by Patrick instead of Pat and my last name is not the same as it was when I graduated high school (thanks to the Army and another not terribly interesting story). I am still kind of fat, but other than that really superficial thing I couldn’t be more of a different person.
And yet some part of my core will always be that kid wanting to be helpful so you will like me.
Who will you always be?