Maritime What’er?

17 Mar

So, sometime in May (as yet to be determined since a certain Canadian singer/poet guy has thrown gunk in the mix) a group of us local writers (I am NOT saying blog…I refuse) are going to meet in a little Nova Scotia town, eat cupcakes, drink beer and talk about you. Yes, you.

Just kidding. I’m sure our in person conversations will be a little less intellectual than our online ones, especially once I get drunk. (I curse like a lonely sailor girls-fair warning)

I’ve been thinking about this trip a lot the last few days, and I’ve been getting a little anxious over the silliest things.

What if I’m the fattest, least educated, least successful person there?

Judging from everyone I see who has committed to attending, I will be. Everyone looks so lovely and content and successful. And I’m not, not really. I work a job I like, but it’s very much not what I wanted in a career (I don’t know what is) I have kids, I love my kids, but I don’t really know what it is to WANT kids. I know I’m not a moron, but there are no degrees plastered on my walls.

The indicators for success in our culture-I have none. Or at least I feel like I have none. I feel like a gaping failure compared to most of the women I interact with. So I’m skeevy.

I’m scared of meeting people who feel out of my league socially.

There. I said it.

I’ve already started composing reasons in my head why I can’t go, why I shouldn’t go, just so I can avoid the awkwardness of knowing I’m the least in the room, the weirdness of feeling shut out of conversations about things I know nothing about, and never will.

I don’t have res stories-I dropped out of university my first year, partly boredom, partly other shit. Almost as soon as I was notified that I was accepted into the Honours program, I dropped it. I didn’t hack it. I don’t have stories of parties and late night studying (at least not from university).

I have stories of going to work because I couldn’t get my shit together enough to just do it already.

And so the people I knew, I know, the people I held a bond with at some time, many are moving on in the world, making real money, securing their futures, building houses. I sit in some piece of shit house I don’t have the will to fix alone.

I see you other, successful women and I wonder how I got it all so wrong-how I managed to fuck up a life so completely.

Maybe it’s just the bipolar talking, through the jetlagged tired, but I always end up feeling like a dirty snot nosed little kid around a group of women, and I hate it. I hate feeling like a kid, looking up but never keeping up.

22 Responses to “Maritime What’er?”

  1. radical mama March 17, 2008 at 2:17 pm #

    I hear you. I always feel a little inadequate when I am first around a new group of women. But after a while, I lighten up. (Especially if a bottle of wine is involved.) Maybe it will be that way for you too. I’m totally jealous of your little gathering, even though I know I would have similar anxieties if I were to go to something like that.

  2. Eden March 17, 2008 at 2:26 pm #

    “What if I’m the fattest, least educated, least successful person there?”

    Yes, what if you are?

    Not to make light of that (b/c I think we all feel like that about something) but it’s entirely possible you could be the Big Girl or the Not College Girl or whatever. But, and I feel like the Wizard of Oz w/ my black bag here, you have something I bet a LOT of those other folks don’t have: you can fucking WRITE.

    Maybe Marge Piercy can say it better than I can:

    Talent is what they say
    you have after the novel
    is published and favorably
    reviewed. Beforehand what
    you have is a tedious
    delusion, a hobby like knitting.

    Work is what you have done
    after the play is produced
    and the audience claps.
    Before that friends keep asking
    when you are planning to go
    out and get a job.

    Genius is what they know you
    had after the third volume
    of remarkable poems. Earlier
    they accuse you of withdrawing,
    ask why you don’t have a baby,
    call you a bum.

    The reason people want M.F.A.’s,
    take workshops with fancy names
    when all you can really
    learn is a few techniques,
    typing instructions and some-
    body else’s mannerisms

    is that every artist lacks
    a license to hang on the wall
    like your optician, your vet
    proving you may be a clumsy sadist
    whose fillings fall into the stew
    but you’re certified a dentist.

    The real writer is one
    who really writes. Talent
    is an invention like phlogiston
    after the fact of fire.
    Work is its own cure. You have to
    like it better than being loved.

  3. Netter March 17, 2008 at 2:53 pm #

    I have the degree and I make a pretty good living. But I have no RL friends because I don’t feel I measure up. My house is a dirty mess, I never get a manicure, I’m fat and wear unstylish clothes, I don’t read magazines or many books, I like to drink too much…. My thinking that woman would never like me because she’s so much more put together, puts us both down. Obviously, I’m denigrating myself, but I’m also saying she’s superficial and wouldn’t be able to see the “real me”. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think your superficial, but I do think that women judge themselves so much more harshly than the women we would want to spend time with do (because the women who would judge us like that we wouldn’t spend 5 minutes with).

  4. Hannah March 17, 2008 at 3:13 pm #

    And I thought I was the only one!

    Seriously, I did. I never write about issues. Or anything serious, really. I can’t turn a phrase like any of the rest of you. I haven’t had any major obstacles to overcome. I did get the degree but I hated every minute of it and still can’t look at the stupid thing without getting very bitter and angry about the sheer bloody uselessness of the thing. I do have a job that pays the bills but I’m horribly bored with it, and haunted by this feeling that my life is slipping away because I am stuck in this awful work rut. I never wanted to live with my in-laws.

    Inside, I am still the girl who always wanted to fit in, and whenever I’m in a roomful of other women I’m convinced that the minute I go to the washroom they are all talking about how I don’t wear makeup, and I swear too much, and I don’t espouse any causes, and they wish I’d just take the hint and go home.


    Sorry to hijack your comments. I am simultaneously excited to meet all of you – more excited than I’ve been about anything in ages – and scared witless that everyone else will bond instantly and I’ll be sitting in the corner, wondering how I can get out of the weekend early because I can’t handle the rejection anymore.

    So, you’re not alone. But if you don’t come, I might be. πŸ™‚ So you’d better show up.

  5. sweetsalty kate March 17, 2008 at 3:21 pm #

    That’s an amazing poem from Eden. Exactly.

    And I think we all feel this way, because we’re all women and we tie ourselves into knots at the prospect of anything that feels even remotely like high school, like wanting to fit in and possibly not fitting in.

    I swear, I just about hid in the closet when Bon said she wouldn’t be able to make it until Sunday unless we changed the dates, because she’s the only one I’ve met in person, and I will need to cling to her leg like a koala the entire fricking time.

    Let’s just say that everyone feels this way, and then be brave and let it go. Because we all know each other better than some people know each other in real-life.

    Don’t forget that. It’s totally nerdy, but totally true. There is no ice to break among this crowd.


  6. thordora March 17, 2008 at 3:24 pm #

    If you dress up like a koala while clinging to Bon’s leg, I’ll feel a TON better. πŸ™‚

  7. kate March 17, 2008 at 4:38 pm #

    Wow, yes, as Eden pointed out, you CAN fucking write! You just so eloquently put into words what every single woman (and maybe men…who knows) feel when presented with a group of other women we don’t know well. But a) I seriously doubt this particular group of women is going to be discussing their days at university because so much has happened in REAL LIFE since then and b) regardless of how “together” any one looks, she has her own “battle” she is struggling with. All we can do is be kind to one another. and c) oh hell, I don’t have a C. Just drink some wine and be yourself and laugh and have fun.

    I promise you won’t regret going, but you WILL regret it if you talk yourself out of going. Wish I were a maritimer so I could go! πŸ™‚

  8. canadian_sadie March 17, 2008 at 8:28 pm #

    Bloggers meeting up?

    I’m no writer, and never have claimed to be. I am, however, a long-timer lurker who would love to meet some new folks. Especially if that little NS town is within a 5 hour drive of wherever I may happen to be. πŸ™‚

    If you’re up for another addition, drop me a line?

    p.s. Amen, encore, and word-up to all of the comments above. I have nothing to add, as I feel those ladies summed it up beautifully. We’ve all got our dark sides that we try not to let other people see. And we’re ALL envious of someone else at some point.

  9. Gwen March 18, 2008 at 12:01 am #

    I agree with the kate who isn’t sweet and salty (I mean, I agree with everybody, but that kate especially). Whatever fear you feel about going, the regret you feel at not having gone (see? I can’t fucking write a comment) will be greater.

    No pre-emptive rejections! Everyone group hugs, instead!

    And do lonely sailors swear more than the other kind? Because I must be a lonely one, too.

  10. thordora March 18, 2008 at 7:46 am #

    canadian_sadie-here’s the facebook group-you can “opt in” there. πŸ™‚

  11. Mad Hatter March 18, 2008 at 1:03 pm #

    Mmmmmm. Insecurities. Yep, I can barter in those. I am so old that I scarcely remember university let alone what I studied or who I partied with. I don’t get a lot of pop culture references that are the common parlance of blogging b/c I am of a different generation. I am not hip in the slightest and I fear that you will all see me as the older woman painfully trying to be hip. I am kinda misanthropic in person and won’t talk to a soul before morning coffee. I am short and decidedly chubby despite all photos I may post that show me in a flattering light. I am gobsmacked by the eloquence and emotional depth of all the other women who are going. Me, I’m kinda surface in my approach to life. I’m not bad in groups but I really suck at one-on-one and so I worry that I won’t be able to muster conversation on the ride there. What else? I swear like a sailor. I get drunk far too easily. Despite being comfortably middle class and the oldest one coming to the party, I always feel and act like the dirt poor kid sister which creates a bit of a disconnect.

    Enough about me, Thor. I look forward to meeting you, to meeting everyone despite these absolutely crippling fears. Besides, I hear the ocean is a nice place to visit.

  12. thordora March 18, 2008 at 2:31 pm #

    Well, we have a carride of awkward conversation to turn into joy and irritating in jokes before we get there…that’s worth something, right?

    I always feel weird with women-out of place, unwomanly…..just not right.

  13. Becky March 18, 2008 at 6:59 pm #

    Thordora, Hi! Delurking here to say, Go to that gathering! You are so lucky to have a chance to meet these great women in person!, and they lucky to meet you! I live in Utah, where I have absolutely nothing in common with most of the women my age. I read the essays and stories written by you and these others women and wish I could meet people who are so thoughtful, and open minded and alive! Lucky lucky you!

  14. marcelarhodus March 19, 2008 at 6:48 am #

    I think I’d feel out of place meeting you, I see your personality so larger than life, so full of wisdom and humor and such awareness of your soul, that I’d feel like I don’t measure up.

    and I think in some level we all feel that way.

    (…)”What if I’m the fattest, least educated, least successful person there?”(…)

    Obtaining a degree does not guarantee you an education or culture.
    Being the fattest person there??? my dear, no matter what size women are, we always worry about that. seriously. and at the end of the day, it does not matter.
    Success? it is measured so differently by so many. And so many times those that the “general society” considers successful are so full of exactly the opposite.

    how great that you’ll have this chance to get together, I’d love to come…

  15. thordora March 19, 2008 at 8:13 am #

    I’d love to meet you. πŸ™‚ I’m still finding chopsticks everywhere. πŸ™‚

    I always feel less than-and my powerful personality, in real life, is fairly obnoxious. πŸ™‚

  16. Carin March 19, 2008 at 10:16 am #

    Aww come on, just go! By the sounds of it, nobody will give a fuck about what you’ve done or not done. Just frickin go! How many times do you get to do this? Go! go! go! And don’t try to wiggle out of it! You’ll pine for it if you don’t. Think of it as time away from the kids. I know how much you crave that.

  17. Eden March 19, 2008 at 6:51 pm #

    You can borrow one of my T-Shirt Hell shirts πŸ˜‰

  18. writesome March 22, 2008 at 1:59 am #

    Thank you for this illuminating post. As another non-degree earning, sailor-swearing mom, that thinks she never fits in and everyone is talking about her while she wipes, I too was looking for the trap door on this one. I often feel my writing or life experiences don’t compare. But now that I’ve been here, I’m syked. We only become better by being present with great people.

    Do you need a pickup from the airport?

    Wine. Will. Help.

    Glad to have found you through Sweet Salty Kate.

  19. thordora March 22, 2008 at 8:24 am #

    Nope. πŸ™‚ Mad lives about 1.5hrs from me, and will be picking my “lazy hippy ass” up on the way there.

    Wine will most definitely help. And cute squishy babies I can cuddle and give back.

  20. writesome March 22, 2008 at 10:03 am #

    Can’t wait to meet you and everyone else. Cute squishy babies? I’m definitely in.

  21. thordora March 22, 2008 at 10:22 am #

    Thank you for the offer though! (I’m so rude)

    It will be nice to meet everyone….although, I’m not looking forward to casting all from the pedestals they’ve been living on in my head…

  22. writesome March 22, 2008 at 11:17 am #

    I’m expecting those pedestals to be made of real iron after the weekend and we’ll all feel a little elevated too.

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