My year started off with meeting new people and, believe it or not, this is a new occurrence for me as my days consist of seeing the same groups of people throughout the week. Basically, I felt like I was forced to leave my bat cave and be around new people.
Let’s bring up jury duty, shall we? Not long ago I was thrown into the mix of potential Alaskan jurors up in Anchorage. I’m stuck in a private room that contains your pick of blue and white collars enrolled in the lottery to prosecute the soon-to-be orange collars … and there was no breakfast buffet. I thought this was America!? From oil field workers to uptight ladies, there was a smorgasbord of Alaskans. Unless they were reading or pretending to read, everyone seemed quite pleasant for being redirected from their daily life. We have good people, folks.
Sitting there in the crowded room I realized to these people, I am nobody’s mother or wife, or any kind of special person. When is the last time you were a nobody? What I love about the Kenai Peninsula is when you walk around the store somebody will probably recognize you. You might even see a familiar face at the library or post office. To be a blank page is something I anticipated in college, but now it makes me self-conscious. Over the years I’ve grown, gained some knowledge, and am a little more mature. I’m thooper thmart now. So being a blank slate again was a little intimidating. I had to learn how to give an introduction all over again.
First impressions are rough, even though being myself is hardwired into my DNA. There is no other way. If you hate me, you hate the real me and if you like me, then you’re a real classy individual. Bless this queen. I don’t hide my flaws which helps me accept myself and in turn it’s easier to accept others. Being yourself is honest, easy, and no hidden agendas. I’m no saint obviously. These traits can be horrible when it comes to parenting my 9-year-old daughter. She needs less of the obnoxious “real me” and needs more of my patience, gentleness, and tact. These do not come natural for me, but I do the best I can.
Do the best you can. Don’t you love that phrase? I’m completely in love with it. It works great even when you’re in survival mode and don’t feel like yourself. Making relationships are fun when you’re in the mood and prepared for it, but challenging when something big is going on. Maybe someone close to you passed away. Maybe work is stressing you out. Maybe someone deleted your episodes of Downton Abbey on the DVR. Life happens! We’re human. Even so, I hate it when I don’t feel like myself and am around people. Being misunderstood is awful (unless you’re Kanye). You never know though, good people might help you through your journey or be there on the other side of it. Some of my best friends saw me in the beginning of being a mother with my brains fried. There’s nothing wrong with that. Eventually they could relate! It’s an opportunity to be a different version of the real you and that’s not a bad thing for potential friends. They deserve to see your crazy before they commit!
When I’m about to be around people I don’t know, I could prepare for hours. My husband does nothing but show up and people flock to him like Jagger. Why is that? Do I need to grow my beard out? Why does his glorious radiance call out to the common people, but mine doesn’t? Then I think about why I like him. He listens to people when they talk to him. I am thinking about a sandwich. He is gentle and polite. I’m loudly talking about how both of our couches smell like puke from when my kids had the flu. Even though we are so different, we’re both being our genuine selves, which will attract (and possibly disturb) the kinds of friends we want in our life.
Here’s the thing: Friendships are valuable. I love living life with people. I don’t have a million friends, but I know the people in my life are special and it was worth the hard work to get where we are. The first step always starts out by meeting new people. They were all new at one point. Don’t be afraid of stepping out. You will find reward in relationship. If you have trust issues, don’t give up. If people are mean, move on. Be brave in new friendship. Have coffee. Coffee is like friendship crack. If all else fails: Do the best you can!
Kasi McClure enjoys being a wife and mother of two in Kenai. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.