Sometimes I am incredibly awkward. I think the movie moment I can best relate to (and will most often quote under my breath) is from Dirty Dancing. Jennifer Gray is trying to explain why she was allowed to the secret dirty dance party with all the camp employees. And in a moment of complete flustration (that’s a made up word for being flustered and frustrated, you’re welcome, you can start using that freely, just give me credit please?) she declares “I carried a watermelon.” And then kicks herself and mutters to herself “I carried a watermelon?”
Yup. That’s me.
I saw my ex for the first time in months over the weekend, we were at a party for the theater company that actually reintroduced us to each other this last summer.
I was prepared for this. This is my turf, I know everyone invited because I have worked for this company for over six years. They’re my people, it’s my comfort zone. Hell, I even wrote a blog about handling this very situation and how to do it gracefully!
So I mingled for a long time and waited until I needed to leave. I had an exit strategy. My normal wing woman had bailed due to sickness, so I wanted to make sure I had an out that I could control. I had to be on the road.
I approached him and gave him a big hug. I was calm and collected until I noticed how awful he looked.
My first reaction was honestly “Mwahahaha he looks like shit! Awesome!”
I’m only human.
My second reaction was complete concern. “Why does he look like shit? He shouldn’t look like shit. I had heard he was doing great. What happened?”
And that was the only thing I could think about for the next four minutes.
So instead if asking him directly what was wrong, I made the most awkward small talk a person could ever imagine. “How’s work? How were your holidays? How is your family?”
They sound like questions of concern, but these are actually loaded questions, and I unconsciously was trying to get to the bottom of why he looked so bad.
I ended up texting him an hour later once I was on the road and jamming to my mix and feeling good to be driving to see my best friend. We both admitted we felt awkward.
I thought about this a little bit as I drove. I realized that I could ask my best friend for advice about how to deal with an ex, because she has some experience that would make your head spin. And she still holds it all together somehow.
But what I decided was most important was how I felt, what I needed and what I felt was right for the relationship I was honoring with my ex. We communicated extremely well, and I do miss him as a friend. So it felt right to ask him, and to admit to how I was honestly feeling.
I knew in my gut what was right and getting advice from my best friend wouldn’t change that. More often than not, the answer we are looking for is already inside. We are probably just asking for someone’s advice to validate what we already know.
I have to remind myself often- you don’t need any validation or permission. You are wise enough to know what is right for the situation and what isn’t.
And if you’re really that uncertain about what to do, the answer is usually wait until you know for sure. A.k.a tell yourself no, for now.
The other lesson I learned, thanks to my best gal pal and because of something else I am working through, is that I need to stop judging myself.
It’s like Popeyes said “I y’am what I y’am, and that’s all that I y’am.”
I may be misquoting that, but in always used to giggle because his weird speech impediment made it sound like he was saying “yam.”
So, message is to stop judging myself. I need to trust myself and not judge what I do. I am doing the best that I can. That’s all I can ask of myself. And my best is just that.
And then let it be.
trust my gut and stop judging myself. Two pretty great lessons to start the new year, don’t you think?