Monthly Archives: June 2012

Funeral Friday

A few days ago a wonderful, sweet lady died.  She used to teach children’s church when I was very young.   I grew up with her grandson, and I have thought fondly of her for nearly all of my life.  So, naturally, I felt honor-bound to attend her visitation.

As I approached the funeral home, apprehension set in.  I knew there would be people, lots of people.  I would be swarmed with people I didn’t know.  I knew I hadn’t done well with crowds like this when I had attended other visitations.  I tried to brace myself against the panic I knew I was about to feel.

I walked through the door.

Suddenly it felt as if everyone looked at me, only me.  Like I’d shown up to give a speech wearing nothing but my underwear.  I knew they saw me, and I knew they judged me.  I knew this in my every being, but I also knew that it was all in my head.  That they didn’t really care.  That I was panicky for no good reason.

I headed for the end of the visitation line.

For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about–at all the funerals I’ve ever been to, a line forms in front of the casket where the family members stand.    Funeral home-goers go through the line to talk to the family, then tend to break out in groups and talk to each other before they head home.

This line completely blows if you’re there by yourself because you wind up standing there awkwardly, not talking to anyone, with nothing to distract you from the fact that you’re willingly approaching someone’s dead body.

Except I wasn’t quite alone.  My family was there too, but they were ahead of me in line and I couldn’t get to them without skipping.  My mother frowned at me when I tried to skip the line, and I slunk miserably back to my place at the end.

Because I was wound up tight as a wire and couldn’t relax even if I wanted to, I said awkward and mildly inappropriate things unless asked direct, simple questions.

I’m pretty sure the lady who asked me if I knew the family didn’t want me to start an all out search to find where they were sitting so I could direct her attention to them.

I’m also sure that the worst thing possible to say at funerals are “you take care” and “how are you holding up?”   I said both of those things.  Like word vomit.  Like I couldn’t stop myself.

To make things worse, I said them to people who obviously just wanted us all to go away so they could wallow in their grief.

Great.  I win the “worst person ever” award.

And then I wanted to melt into the carpet.  Or hide in the bathroom.  Or run away screaming.

But I did none of these things.

I found my family and stuck to them like glue.  Like I was a small child following my mom around in the grocery store.  Otherwise, I was pretty sure I was going to hide behind the curtains until everyone else went home.

It was torture for me, as my mother talked to people she knew that I didn’t–with me hovering anxiously in the background.  My grandmother flew from person to person with ease, making small talk and saying all the right things.

I was silent, scared of causing any more damage than I already had.

I wound up leaving early anyway.  I stood around awkwardly until I thought I’d fulfilled the amount of time socially deemed acceptable to pay respects at a funeral home, and then I fled from that building like it was on fire.

I’m pretty sure that these feelings of fear and panic aren’t normal,and might need some sort of intervention.  But I’m also sure that I’m a broke recent grad with no health insurance and no desire to stumble upon a “pre-existing condition.”  Named social anxiety.

Besides, ignorance is bliss, right?

Someone’s a Special Snowflake.

I just checked my stats and some poor soul has been checking my blog nearly every day for the past week.  This is made worse by the fact that I haven’t posted in a very long time, so there was really no reason for them to check my blog every day in the first place except that maybe they really wanted something new to be there.

And now I feel horribly guilty because they probably thought I was murdered or institutionalized or forced into life as a hermit.

Okay, so maybe they didn’t think that.  But I still feel guilty.

I’ve been thinking about adopting a regular update schedule.  To cut down on my own self-imposed guilt at not posting regularly, and to also give people a reason to actually read my blog.  This whole haphazard posting style is probably not very conductive to gaining and maintaining an audience.

So what I’m going to do is start trying my best to get a post out on Fridays.

Eventually there may be a theme to my posts (I’ve also been thinking about starting a weekly “Hatefully Addicted” column), but for right now I’m just going to focus on a simple deadline, once a week.

If I miss a week, I’ll let you guys pick a punishment for me (kind of like what the vlogbrothers do), and I’ll take pictures of me doing whatever it is you’ve made me do.  Just be reasonable, please.  Don’t ask me to fly to the rainforest and cuddle with snakes, go on fear factor, or drink bleach.  Please.  I don’t care how well that anaconda can cuddle.  I’m not ready to die.

I’m pretty sure this post doesn’t have a topic.

I was going to post some long winded explanation of where I’ve been these past weeks, but then I realized that it really doesn’t matter where I’ve been because nobody has really missed me.

I’m not saying that to be self-pitying or anything.   I just don’t have enough of a following to be missed.  It’s all good guys.  Because  I’m totally okay with only having two followers.  And I will never really abandon you.  Promise.

I have been working on my New Year’s Resolution, though.  You know, the one about reading 25 new books?  It will probably go down in history as the only resolution I could ever keep.  I think I’m going to make this resolution every year, because it exposes me to so much stuff.  I’m serious, guys.  I’m reading authors I never knew existed and loving every second of it.  I may even pick up a horror novel this year and then take up insomnia as a hobby because I’ll be too afraid of my own shadow to ever sleep again.

See?  Best resolution ever.

Right now  I’m halfway through Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, an autobiography of sorts.  STOP.  STOP IT RIGHT NOW.   I know I said “autobiography.”  But that doesn’t mean you get to tune out.  Listen, I hate autobiographies.  With a passion.  But this one is different.

This one is written by the same wonderfully broken person who writes The Bloggess, a ridiculously popular blog.  Go ahead.  Click the link.  Sample her work.

Now tell me: Does she seem like a boring person to you?

While reading her book, I have laughed so hard I cried.  Twice.  And I’m only halfway though.

I’ve been telling everyone about the book.  Everyone.  Except for people who are sensitive about cursing (Jenny is a very colorful individual).  I don’t tell them anything because I’m afraid they’ll go out and read the book and then judge me for liking it so much.

This morning I was telling my co-worker/supervisor all about it, and I lost her at the dreaded b-word.  You know, that same word that made you tune out a few seconds ago.  I probably don’t even have your attention now.  But that’s fine, because it just means that you don’t deserve to read such an awesome book.

Anyway, I was telling her about the book and she completely lost focus.  She couldn’t understand why I was so excited about reading a biography.  She asked why she should care about someone else’s life.   I faltered, my smile fading.  In a small voice I said, “but, it’s funny.  She’s a satire writer.  She makes fun of her own life to make people smile.”

I got a blank stare in return.

And that’s when I realized.  My co-worker wasn’t in the club.  She couldn’t possibly understand why I was so excited about this, because she had never been a misfit.

Misfits are a special type of people who are slightly different from the rest of society.  We don’t fit in well, because we think outside of the box–and sometimes we like some really strange things, or have really bizarre life circumstances.  Jenny Lawson has given us an excuse to come together to form some sort of tribe–centered on her knack for getting in hilarious situations.

My favorite writers and storytellers are all people who, after having been lonely for years, find themselves suddenly surrounded by people who celebrate all the differences that distanced others.

The reason that I love their work so much is because it gives me so much hope that humanity can be made of awesomesauce.   It also gives me hope for myself. Hope that one day, I’ll get to do something I love while being surrounded by people who love me.