Memories of a sleep over and a lesson learned…

July 6, 2010

I was at a summertime sleep over at Leslie’s house a long time ago.  We must have been about 11 or 12.  There was a tight knit group of girls from school who were invited, and we all had brought our sleeping bags and accessories.  It was supposed to be fun.   Games and food and the outdoors.  What could be better??  I had a flashback recently on what happened with me that evening.  I don’t remember the specifics, yet I took offense at something.  A word, or an action?  Did I feel left out??  I really don’t know or remember.  What I do remember is that I thought it best that I leave.  I thought it best that I *announce* that it would be better that I leave.  I was sure that everyone would rally around and say, “No, Alison, please stay!!”  I was wrong…

It had gotten late, and Leslie just looked at me blankly after I pointed out my impending exodus, and said, “so you want me to wake my dad so he can take you home?”  She didn’t seem to care.  I freaked out, for what I wanted was for them to say they were sorry.  I wanted them to want me to stay.  I wanted them to prove they were my friends.

Instead I received Leslie’s reasonable question:  “do you want to go home, then?”.

I ended up going home.  I guess I thought I would be saving face or something by actually leaving.  My parting words to everyone were, “I’ll pick up my utensils tomorrow”.  Good lord.  How dramatic.  That phrase came back to haunt me years afterwards as my little scene was the butt of many jokes to come.

My present “epiphany of sorts” is this:  I’ve been doing this same kind of shit for years in a variety of different fashions.  I’ve made others jump through hoops in order to “prove” they love me and want me around.  I’ve made others follow me around in order to ask, “what’s wrong??”.  I’ve played a martyr and I’ve been mean.  I’ve asked more from others than I have asked of myself.  I’ve been dramatic and overly sensitive and I’ve managed to make everything about me.

It’s a really old, and really lame modus operandi.  I suppose I didn’t know any better at 11, but I sure can know better and do better at 46.

To those closest to me to whom I have inflicted this ridiculous charade more often than I would really like to admit…I am remarkably sorry.  Please accept my apologies for being an ass.

I truly intend to be different.  I know it is not all about me, and it *is* safe to love and let go at the same time.

I got it.

And to all my friends from those many years ago, thank you for just sending me on home.  35 years later…and maybe I finally understand what *real* love and friendship is all about.


3 Responses to “Memories of a sleep over and a lesson learned…”

  1. Lee said

    Powerful stuff.

  2. Joyce said

    That’s a brave self-examination.

  3. Linda said

    Dear Ali,

    Been there, done that, it’s hard to change.

    Isn’t it amazing that out of all the women in the world here we two are, even living in the same town and we’ve BOTH acted out with the same behavior.

    Could it be something in the Midwestern humidity or just similar stupidity that caused us to waste parts of our lives expecting and waiting for family and friends to notice how important we are and reward us for it?

    You can get past it.

    I’ve noticed through the years that there isn’t any pedestal around for me to climb up on or any elegant retreat for me to run into to lick my unnoticed wounded feelings.

    I really think a lot of us have done this and it’s a big relief to be able to just dump it – think twice before automatically reacting the same way – we’re really not out to get you – and we really do love you! I bet the girls back then were all full of their self-importance too.

    I’m not sure this makes a lot of sense and is that germane to what you wrote but I’m happier when I can go with the flow and not be a stone in the stream that everyone has to tiptoe around.

    Love, Linda

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