During good times, like my favorite holiday, (My Birthday), a promotion, or an engagement, I show my excitement by sharing my news with others. I tell everyone I know, weeks in advance, that my Birthday is coming up, and of course email my wish list 2 months early. I made my engagement announcement a huge surprise, with cake and everything, for my friends. I will change my Facebook status, write a blog, send a text, buy a carrier pigeon, whatever it takes to say “Look at me! I am sooooo happy!”
In the face of adversity, I handle myself like any self-respected adult does. I cry, I throw fits, and I let everyone around me know why I am so upset in order to receive some much-deserved support. You all behave that way, right?
Basically, I am incapable of hiding my emotions.
This is partially because I wear my emotions from head to toe. You can tell if I’m pissed, worried, or content by just looking at my face. My posture changes, the tone of my voice, even my gestures change with my mood.
My habit of sharing my feelings is also partly because that’s just how I deal with my emotions. I crave others’ approval, joyfulness, admiration, sympathy, forgiveness, pity, whatever! When I am down I need others to lift me up. When I am up I need others to celebrate with me.
Recently, though, I have discovered that several people I know do not behave this way. In fact, they are just the opposite.
I have one friend who NEVER says when it’s his Birthday. We will go to dinner, see a movie, hangout all night, and two days later his Mom will mention his Birthday, (assuming we were celebrating the two days prior) and we end up feeling like jerks. How anyone can spend all day with a group of friends, and not mention that it’s their birthday is so beyond me. I’m the person who wears a crown, and hands out cupcakes all day just to insure that no one forgets it’s my birthday.
Fiance is the type of person who never brags….ever. He works in the film industry, and has worked on some pretty good movies with some very impressive celebrities. He is by no means famous, or doing exactly what he wants to be doing with his life, but still…it’s so glamorous!! When people ask him what he does….his response is often…”Oh, I just get coffee for people.” (not true) Or..”I’m just working on some little movie…it probably won’t be any good.”
I wish I acted this modest…I brag enough for the both of us. I make him sound like the next Quentin Tarantino*, and I fancy myself the next Ron Clark.
Recently, I have had a friend who lost a close family member. They didn’t tell hardly anyone, and it turns out that their loved one has been sick for quite a while.
Upon hearing this sad news, I was really upset. It breaks my heart when any friend of mine is going through a rough situation, and I have been struggling with ideas of how to help ease their pain and sadness.
My immediate thought was to contact everyone we know to inform them of the loss, so we can all come together and sympathize with our mutual friend. I wanted to spread the word so everyone is prepared to offer their condolonces. Until it hit me…
This person obviously would not want this sort of treatment. I would, but I would also have let everyone around me know all about the sick family member ages ago….I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and at some points wondered Why? Why haven’t they told anyone? Don’t they want help/sympathy/a shoulder to cry on? Don’t they need a giant support group? After all this thinking, I concluded with only this.
That’s not how they deal.
They do not need what I need. To be honest, I have no idea what they need. Whatever it is, (coffee? Space? A card? Dinner? Privacy? Vodka?) I’ll figure it out, and I’ll do whatever I can to ease their pain.
This has been such a revelation for me…who knew not everyone wants the same attention I do? I guess I should ease up on forcing everyone to wear sashes and tiaras, while dancing in a chair in the middle of a restaurant for their birthday…
From now on, I promise to think about other’s needs more often. No matter how nonsensical they appear to me.
*I really do believe Fiance is the next Quentin Tarantino.