I saw a mum I (sort of) know at the shops today. I slowed my trolly as she approached and moved the Quinoa on top of the frozen chips so she couldn't see them. She looked smarter than me, her hair was slick in a tight bun and she didn't have raspberry squeezy yogurt down the front of her shirt, like I do. Her tits looked perky. I'm not wearing a bra and my boobies hang loose, southwards, like floppy wind socks.
I like her, she is always friendly and welcoming, I hope to have a friendship with her one day. Before she got within greeting distance I quickly lick my finger and rub below my eye line to wipe away any rogue mascara that's wandered half way down my face, I pulled my knickers high up over the bulgy bit of my tummy, hoping she couldn't see my love handles behind the fully loaded trolley.
Yes, we can be friends... have coffees together and talk about trips to Bali, I think. I could picture us doing a pottery class together or getting our husbands to go for a beer.
She smiled and gave me a funny little wave and headed towards me clasping a shopping basket in the crook of her arm.
'Oh hi!' I pretend to be shocked to see her then I shower her with sickly compliments.
'where did you get that dress.... look at you... you look amazing... blah blah blah'
At that moment, because I like this lady, my personality is sucked out of me. I start acting like a twit. I talk fast, gibbering on about a great big load of rubbish. I can see her eyes glaze over as I nervously ask about the weather, the traffic and her children. We wince in unison as we realised we couldn't remember each others kids names. She nods and her eye brow raises at all the right points, as I drone on about nothing. When she starts to lose interest, looking at the mango chutney on the shelf behind me, I try and draw her back in with one of my go to hilarious stories.
Humour has always been my escape route...when in doubt, whack a gag in. It can be awkward. Especially in the pasta aisle of Aldi. People are there to shop then get on with their day. They have lists and babies in carriers. There I am, blabbing away, reeling off a story about the time I did a big wee in a teacup or how my finger got blown off by a firework or my friend that could fanny fart or some other shit waffle.
It's my nerves mixed with my need to impress. I hate it... yet I cant help it. In the last 2 years, since knocking that naughty poison on the head, I've begun to notice when and why I do this.... drum roll..
I make myself the main character in a story, it's my way of running away from my drink problem. I make a joke out of myself in order to make light of an out of control habit. I laugh at that mad - out of control girl - I laugh at me.
I worked out that the true me was getting lost between the punch lines. I was telling the world, and this perky titted acquaintance, farcical tales about someone else, not me. In order to be liked.... well, loved.
Throughout my life there's always been a room full of smiling faces, people enjoying my story telling. I was known as 'that funny girl, Vicky, with all the great stories'. I loved it, being the joker was my joy, my aim in life,
Make people happy, make them laugh and they will like me.
Even strangers, I poured myself over them like warm custard. I couldn't help it.
when I ran out of babble, the nice lady and I finished our conversation and swapped numbers. I'd charmed her into liking me, I'd tricked her, told some reliable oldies that had hooked her in. It sounds like an amicable exchange, but, it took everything out of me and I felt as if I'd set myself up for failure.
As she walked away I wondered how disappointed she's going to be when my stories have run out and she realises I'm not that fun afterall? Maybe our friendship had peeked right there in the Aldi aisle?
I felt tired when I got home, I was drained. Pretending to be 'that fun Vicky' is hard work. Its a front I put on to keep others happy. I give out all of my energy and become the butt of my own jokes. I dismissed my own self worth in order to please others. I do it all the fucking time. It leaves me feeling embarrased and full of anxiety. You'd never know I'm like this because it comes across as confidence... clever eh?
I'm unhappy I do this. I don't hate myself because I understand why. Fitting into friendship groups, work environments and well, life, dictates I act in a certain way. Coming across as fun and jovial is how I want to be perceived. But, unfortunately, being this way is detrimental to me. It leaves me weak and scared, paranoid of when the stories run out and all thats left is a boring sober mum with flappy tits.
Writing this blog is helping me understand these foibles. I'm learning to breathe before I launch into some sordid tale where I get a venereal disease or wake up with something stuck up my bottom. I don't want to stop being 'that girl' but maybe I can start being 'that woman' Leaning on humour is how I've always fitted in. My stories are who I am. but I'm discovering more of me. A person that is not just a fuck up or a punchline. A person who is worth being friends with because she is loyal and kind....
I'd like to meet up with that lady one day and let her get to know me. The jokes stripped away. I'd like not to care about her opinion of me... but I do.
If upon out next meeting she checks her watch or starts making lame excuses to leave I could always tell her the one about the ski instructor with the willy as big as a lumberjacks arm?......
pic - Having beaker fun with the baby and yes I really did blow my finger off with a firework.