…much of our life is spent doing the crazy mental arithmetic of how, at any given moment, we might improve, or at least disguise or present our defects and screw-ups in either more charming or more intimidating ways.” ~Anne Lamott Grace (Eventually)
While we were in that weird holding pattern between arriving here and starting to unpack, it forced me to unplug from everything for at least a few days. The unexpected benefit was that I found a book I had been wanting to read and actually read it cover to cover in about 2 days.
That sentence hit me like a ton of bricks. What I love about reading Anne Lamott is that it never fails that she writes something and I think to myself, “I didn’t know someone else felt like that!” If you are not one of us who actually does that crazy mental arithmetic, I can no more explain it to you than I can explain string theory.
I like to think that as I’ve gotten older that I have grown more comfortable in my own skin… that the calculations have at least slowed, if not stopped. Right up until I’m faced with the newest challenge, and my insecurities rear their ugly head again. I’m not talking about anything earth shattering here, I’m talking about what should be mundane (and probably is for most people).
This morning we went to our new church, one that we attended when we were here about 6 years ago. I was doing fine, right up until we ran into a couple we knew from when we lived here before. We didn’t know them well, but had mutual friends in common. Back then it seemed like she just didn’t like me, or maybe it was just that we didn’t hit it off for whatever reason. My dh recognized them, but didn’t remember their names or how we knew them. So instead of being honest with him, I pretended like I didn’t remember them either. I didn’t want to be the one who knew all about them, when they might not remember us. I even knew their kids’ names. And while we’re talking politely to them about the acquaintances we have in common I’m silently sizing her up: “Am I thinner? prettier? She looks tired and older.” Stupid.
Ironically, although I don’t think they remembered us, I still got the same vibe from her. Sort of the same bland disinterest. When I came home I had to get out the book and reread that quote again. Someday, I’m going to be able to grow up and opt out of the math.