Some time ago I had a friend say something that really hit me. She said, “The people in my life are more important to me than I am to them.” The reason it resonated was that I have been feeling much the same way lately.
Years before this I had a roommate who told me that she had this weird sense that people only “came to life” when she walked in a room.
Two very different individuals with very different self-images.
I’m not going to sink to the cliché that the second person was narcissistic and self-centered (although she did have one heck of a healthy ego), but both views are two ends of the same brush. (Am I mixing my metaphors again??? Sheesh.)
What I mean is that both people are relating to the people around them in a very fundamental, elemental way. Just at different ends of the spectrum.
There are people who light up a room whenever they enter, who maintain friendships their whole lives through, who have myriads of people who count them as “best” friend. (I know someone very like that.) And then there are those who always seem to take a back seat, who often fade into the woodwork. Whose presence, (and conversely) lack of presence, seems to go unnoticed.
The reason this came to mind is the last song on the radio this morning. I find myself mentally playing an endless loop of the last song I hear before I switch off the clock radio…and this morning it was The Foundations, “Baby, Now That I Found You.”
“Baby, now that I found you I can’t let you go. I’ll build my world around. I need you so, baby even though you don’t need me. You don’t need me.”
How sad is it that he’s willing to center his whole world around someone who doesn’t seem to give a rodent’s rump about him?
And yet, I do understand. You find yourself feeling foolish that you’ve made that person or that group of people so important to you that not being included is devastating. What’s equally mortifying is when not only is your absence not lamented, they’re not even aware you’re not there. Or if they are aware, they don’t care. (ACK!! Even worse!)
In Mary Stewart’s book, Nine Coaches Waiting, the heroine talks about being wanted:
“And if I was ever to have a place, in whatever country—well, nobody ever wanted you anyway unless you damned well made them. And that was what I would have to do.”
However, I seem to be the opposite. If I sense that I’m not wanted I withdraw. I could never be a stalker. Ever.
Well, okay…once I was a sort-of stalker. (I mean, I never took it to extremes…well, okay I did…a little.) I fell head-over-heels with a football star in college – Golden Richards.
And he was gorgeous…totally. And he (of course) never knew of my existence…oh, except for the constant hanging around after his classes, or the numerous evening walk-by’s of his dormitory. Oh…and then there was the cake. A football cake. Green frosting, with white piping made to look like a football field. The little goal posts were made out of pipe cleaners. Don’t laugh…you should have seen the basketball cake that I made a couple of years later for his brother (the college basketball star). So cute. Blue frosting, with white piping to show the court markings…and the baskets were the absolute best part. I bent those little wire egg-dipping thingees and had my roommate crochet little baskets for them.
( I guess I should’ve gotten some professional help.)
But that was when I was very young…and apparently very stupid. I don’t do those things now. I’m super-sensitive about wearing out my welcome. I don’t push, I don’t impose and I don’t go where I’m not wanted. Trés uncool. And humiliating.
Just like a hermit crab. Or a turtle…in her shell.
(Except for that annoying echo I think I could get used to it in here.)