Me Too

CS Lewis said a lot of beautiful things, but this is one of my favorites:

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another:
‘What! You too! I thought I was the only one.'”

I don’t have many friends. Now, don’t go feeling sorry for me; it’s by choice, really. (I think, anyway. Maybe I’m just in denial.) I’ve moved around a lot (until my recent entombment in suburbia), and it’s exhausting to start all over again in a new place. I’m also horrible at small talk and more than a little shy—characteristics which land me squarely in Camp Socially Awkward.

While I have few friendships, the ones I have are fierce. And they all began with one of us making some sort of quirky confession and the other of us saying, with enthusiasm just this side of teenage-girl-at-a-One-Direction-concert, “OH MY GOSH ME TOO!”

Now, combine that CS Lewis quote with another I’ve seen floating around the interwebs:

“The reason we’re insecure is that we compare our behind-the-scenes
with everyone else’s highlight reel.”

I recently confessed to my favorite friend that my master bathroom is often a disaster. I mean disaster. I’ll put it this way: On most days, if you were a guest in my home and the only available bathroom were that one, I’d drive you to Quiktrip. “Me too!” she responded.

Since I work for a church and do some public speaking, people seem to think I have my stuff together. Well, I don’t. And because I’m an authenticity junkie, I figure you should see some of the mess. And so, I present to you 10 un-highlight-reel-ish things about me:

  1. I don’t pluck my unibrow. I shave it. (What? It’s faster.)
  2. I cuss. Not a whole, whole lot. Not even just one whole lot. But I do.
  3. Entire weeks can go by without me having eaten a single vegetable.
  4. My public, outward appearance is manufactured to a certain degree: I straighten my hair every day, and I won’t leave the house without my eyes on.
  5. I divorced a pastor.
  6. I’m taking an anti-depressant.
  7. I’m addicted to books. Not reading them: Owning them. I’ve spent an absurd amount of money on books I could’ve—should’ve—borrowed. Need numbers? Okay: At the moment, I own 56 books I’ve not yet read. I bought six of them in the last week.
  8. I’m in a little debt. And by “a little,” I mean, “lots of.”
  9. If I see someone in public whom I know, I’ll often avoid them. It’s (usually) not because I don’t like the person; it’s because I have an agenda, and that person isn’t on it. (Wow, that sounds mean. I’m just task-oriented.)
  10. I still like Alanis Morissette’s music.

Double-dog dare you to make your own list in the comments.

20 Comments

  1. Dru Nugent   •  

    This shows you are human. I never realized you were shy. We could never tell it by watching you or listening to you talk in church. I think you are very special just the way you are!!

    • Kelley   •     Author

      Thanks, Dru. You’re incredibly sweet. We miss you already!

  2. Stacey Christen   •  

    I’m so impressed you were willing to share and I agree, most of my closest friendships are through shared vulnerabilities, so I’ll join you in, “oh my gosh, did I just say that?!!” land.
    I also shave my eyebrows.
    For the most part, aside from BIG messes or straightening enough to keep me from being twitchy, I only clean my house if we’re having company.
    Although I’m loud and outgoing, I don’t like being the center of attention.
    I can’t resist peeling formerly sunburnt skin or picking at scabs.
    I curse occasionally as well.
    I also drink. Not to the point of being drunk (I hate losing control), but pretty regularly.
    Though many refer to me as “sunny” and “chipper” and “bright”, I still think of myself as Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.
    I was anorexic in high school.
    I tend to misjudge most people harshly initially. However, knowing that, I try to keep an open mind. Once I decide I do like and trust you, I’m overly trusting and very gullible.
    I’m a complete doormat, but FIERCELY loyal and protective of my family and friends. Seriously, I can get scary protective and vindictive regarding my loved ones.

    • Kelley   •     Author

      Thanks for sharing your list. I would’ve never ever put “Stacey” and “doormat” together. It’s funny how we’re perceived compared to who we are, isn’t it?

  3. Jess Townes   •  

    I mean, it’s a double-dog dare right?

    1. I hate showering. I feel about it the way some people feel about sleeping, like it is a giant waste of time. I do it because I don’t want to repel people (like the ones living in my home) but not as often as recommended. Sometimes, I don’t even shower after I work out.
    2. I don’t work out. That’s why I don’t shower after I work out.
    3. I also cuss. And when I cuss, the F word is my favorite. Go big or go home right?
    4. I can’t keep a clean desk for the life. When people are coming over, I grab the contents of my desk and stuff them into a bag and shove that bag in my closet. I’ve actually missed bills because of this terrible habit. There is a Trader Joe’s bag stuffed under my desk at this very moment because my brother is in town.
    5. I have one of those rotating compost tumblers in my backyard. The same compost has been sitting in it for two years.
    6. I have this pair of shoes that looks like slippers. More than one friend has told me they are not suitable for wearing in public. I love them and insist on wearing them anyway, with any outfit. The only reason you have not seen these shoes is that I broke my ankle shortly after I met you and haven’t worn them since because they are also not the most supportive shoes. As in, I was wearing them when I broke my ankle. Yet still, I have not thrown them out and can’t wait to start wearing them again.
    7. If I’m not wearing those shoes, I’d really rather not wear shoes at all. I am so often barefoot that I have to keep a spare pair of flip flops in my car for when I forget to put on shoes. Once, I drove my kids to Panera only to realize that not only was I barefoot but I had already used my spare shoes that week and we’d have to go through the drive-through. Then I ordered and got to the window to discover I’d also left home without my wallet. Or purse.
    8. I listen to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off on the regular without a trace of irony. Singing along. Loudly. I’m 36 by the way.
    9. When I got pregnant my husband took over cat litter duties for me. It’s been almost 8 years since my last pregnancy and I have not offered to start helping again.
    10. I’m secretly glad my kids don’t play soccer anymore because I’m really not into watching soccer, even when it is my own kids playing.

    • Kelley   •     Author

      Oh, Jess. Have I told you lately how much I love you?

  4. David Brink   •  

    Challenge accepted!!! I did a similar list for my blog a few years back. I was thinking of doing another one, and here you give me an excuse. From one extraverted introvert to another, here’s my list.

    1. I have globophobia (fear of balloons)
    2. I cuss too. More than you. I am good at it, poetic, really. I’ve cut down a lot but…yeah.
    3. I have a (so far as I know) non cancerous lump in my left lung. I named him “Lumpy”.
    4. 42 years old and still afraid of dark basements.
    5. I have “non verbal learning disorder”. Which means I have trouble learning things that are not verbally based, like Math. And yet I deal in numbers daily. So I live in constant fear of being found out a fraud.
    6. Your book obsession? Replace it with music. Well over 1400 CDs, 200+ vinyl records and counting.
    7. Somewhere in my poor disillusioned head I still think I (or maybe the band) can “make it”.
    8. My self esteem/self image has always been on the low side, I’ve just been good at hiding it. It’s gotten better in the last few years, but still there.
    9. I know I’m supposed to take care of myself, but exercising sucks and I want a cookie. And red meat too.
    10. I’m one of those free spirit, don’t care what strangers think of me types. Except part of me kinda does. So I’m often very quiet in new situations until I sort all the people involved out. Then when I meet someone I like, I tend to run my mouth too much and run people off. Either too many jokes or sharing too much, that’s me. Which is why I am extremely loyal to those I call friend and those who say the same of me.

    Well, that was cathartic. In a good way. Bu I sat down at the computer to work on my own blog. Oops.

    • Kelley   •     Author

      Oh no! Oh no! So those Sundays when I’ve insisted on having celebratory balloons all over the place at church? Agh!

  5. Brando   •  

    Let’s see,,,,,

    1.) I like to have a good cry a few times a week. Give me “Tuesdays with Morrie”, or “The fault in our stars” or one of the millions of videos on YouTube where people help each other. I’m a softy. I cry at everything….(I even cried during Spider-Man 3)
    2.) I clean my ears with bobby pins. I know it’s gross! Don’t judge me! It gets a lot of stuff outta there! I also leave those bobby pins on the sink in my master bathroom, which makes lulu threaten me.
    3.) My sense of humor is pretty morbid and twisted. I know what you are thinking, “oh it can’t be that bad.” It is that bad, it’s worse. Haha. I also laugh at super inappropriate times. It’s a defense mechanism I’m sure, but yeah.
    4.) I still don’t have a Missouri drivers liscense. I don’t want one! They always make me take my hat off in the drivers liscense picture, and I’m seriously male patterning up there. Ugh.
    5.) if anything happened to lulu I would have 0 ideas on how to pay bills. She handles all things money related.
    6.) I can’t go into a gas station and not come out without a snack and a pop. I used to tour playing music and when you are driving for tons of hours, gas stations were the only respite we would get to stretch our legs and get something to eat. Everytime I go in a gas station I relive those days. I miss it sometimes.
    7.) I am 100% addicted to my phone. When watching tv I’m also multitasking on my phone. Trivia crack, clash of clans, guitar videos, home studio set ups, how to videos about live sound, giphy, Facebook, you name it. I have to always be multitasking, and I am a pretty poor multitasker. Like right now I’m driving! (Just kidding, don’t text and drive kids.)
    8.) I have had the same pillow for probably 20 years. Lulu says it’s unsaveable. I love it. You fold the pillow in half and it becomes the perfect amount of hard and soft. I’m a sleep drooler and I use clean pillow cases, but lulu still insists my pillow needs to be burned with fire. I will keep using it till death!!!
    9.) I know it’s gross/sad but I can’t afford to go to the dentist and haven’t been in a while…. A long while.
    10.) While shopping, if I decide to put something from my cart back on the shelf,,,,,, I’ll just out it in the shelf wherever I am. I know it’s horrible, I’m in constant fear that the police will show up at my door and arrest me for criminal “Not putting things back where they go at the grocery.”
    11.) BONUS: I literally do not care about grammatical errors. See above.

    • Kelley   •     Author

      Love it.

  6. Launa Danielson   •  

    A double dog dare cannot be ignored. That said….

    1. I hate talking about myself. I love listening to people’s stories and hearing how they’ve navigated through this life. I’m just not a fan of sharing my own. I absolutely suck at being vulnerable. But again, it is a double dog dare.

    2. I laugh when I get hurt. Hysterically. You don’t want to be around me when I’m hurt. Pain brings out the crazy in me.

    3. I’m a Chapstick hoarder. At any given time I can pull out at least 8 Chapsticks from pockets or purses. And I will use them. Even if they’re old and gross.

    4. When I grow up I want to live in the swamp and hunt alligators. Don’t try to make sense of that. The heart wants what the heart wants.

    5. I love to watch nature documentaries. Even the ones with the horrible, boring narration. Nature is badass. So are honey badgers. If you’re not afraid of getting attacked by a honey badger you should be.

    6. I hate to cook. Or grocery shop. Or plan meals. I’m also a terrible cook. My husband keeps us from starving. But I do love to watch competition cooking shows. It’s like watching my worst nightmare acted out. When I do have to cook I’m usually saying in my head “You have 30 minutes to create the perfect meal and your time starts NOW!” This makes me laugh. I’m easily entertained.

    7. If you’re acting crabby or mean when you’re in my car I will make you listen to Mmbop by Hanson. You cannot be crabby or mean when you’re singing “Mmmbop ba duba dop.”

    8. I can rationalize wearing sweatpants or jeans almost anywhere. I seriously think I’m dressed up if I wear a pair of tennis shoes that are not my everyday Nikes. I like to think this is called “my style” but we all know I’m really just not trying hard enough.

    9. I don’t ask for or accept help well. To the point of really making people mad. This would go back to “I suck at being vulnerable.”

    10. I run my mouth way too much. I think almost anything can be funny if you add just the right snarky or sarcastic comment. And so I usually do. But after conversations are over I’ll worry excessively that I’ve hurt someone’s feelings or left someone with the wrong idea about what I meant. And then do it again the next day. Hmmm, this last one will probably require some therapy. Thank goodness you didn’t ask for more than 10.

    Recently I was talking to my own favorite friend about authenticity and transparency. And since that conversation I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I can simply be better at showing up real, honest and vulnerable every tIme. This was a great opportunity to stretch.

    You rock.

  7. Barbie   •  

    Thanks for the opportunity to air my grievances with myself 🙂

    1. I’m generally a happy person and I smile often. That said, it bothers me (annoys the crap out of me, really) when people say to me in a snarky manner “you’re always happy, why are you so happy?” As if it’s a crime to be happy. THEN, when I’m having an off day as HUMANS do, people get angry and ask me “what’s your problem? why are you in a bad mood?” What? I’m entitled, aren’t I? I try not to let it bother me because I know people get used to the status quo and don’t like deviations from the norm, but come on!!!

    2. I like to cook but I’m too lazy to cook anything for my family except spaghetti, chicken nuggets, hot dogs, pizza, or to heat up whatever is in the freezer/fridge. It makes me feel like a failure as a wife and mother. Nobody ever goes hungry, but I fear my children do not get the nutrition they need.

    3. As far as first impressions go, I automatically dislike people who remind me in any small or minor way (appearance-wise or mannerisms) of someone who has hurt me in the past, without giving them a chance. I am working on this with poor results thus far.

    4. I yell at my kids too much.

    5. If I have $5 in my possession, I WILL find a way to spend $4.99 of it, even if I have nothing I actually NEED to buy.

    6. I am no good at calling people back…friends, family, the dentist, anyone. I don’t like to talk on the phone. I would prefer to text.

    7. I don’t own a cell phone on which I can text (see above). I only have a cell phone that I use if I need to let Julio know I am on my way home from somewhere. We have a landline and an answering machine. For real. Maybe some year we will join the 21st century.

    8. I, either mentally or verbally, correct people’s grammar, all the time.I don’t discriminate – could be family, friends, or a complete stranger – I offend any and all with my grammar-know-it-allness. It’s like verbal diarrhea.

    9. I buy cookie dough with the intention of baking the cookies for everyone in the house to enjoy (at least, that’s what I tell Julio). In reality, I buy it to eat raw when I want something sweet. I hide the evidence from Julio and the kids in the veggie drawer in the fridge; no one will look there because there’s a bag of celery that’s been sitting in there for 2 months and barely resembles celery anymore. It’s my shame (both the cookie dough eating and the old celery).

    10. I watch Keeping Up with the Kardashians – I’ve seen every episode of every season. I’m pretty sure I’ve rotted part of my brain from doing so.

    • Kelley   •     Author

      LOVE these, Barbie! And #6? Me too.

  8. Michelle Rotherham   •  

    1. My car is a disaster MOST of the time. My husband calls it our ‘work truck’.
    2. After 30 years on this earth, I still find it hard to pray out loud in front of people – especially if I have to come up with it on the spot.
    3. I feel like an imposter in my own success. I know that Sheryl Sandberg says that I shouldn’t, but I do.
    4. I really think too much about what people think of me. Not physically, but mentally. I think it has something to do with #3…
    5. I still torture myself for things that I did wrong 10+ years ago. I have even done one of those lenten ‘throw it in the fire’ things to forgive myself, but it didn’t stick. And they arent even mortal sins or anything…one thing is that I got too drunk the night before a scholarship interview and blew it.
    6. I am the least flexible person you will ever know. I cannot do anything gymnastics related and had to do a ‘special routine’ in high school just to pass gym class since I don’t know how to do a cartwheel.
    7. I plan outfits so that I don’t have to shave my legs everyday (at least when it’s warm outside).

    Im sure I will continue to think of these for days…thanks for the creative writing prompt, Kelley! So great!

    • Jess Townes   •  

      #3….me too. It even has a name…Imposter Syndrome. I’ve got that.

  9. Kelley   •     Author

    Michelle, thanks for participating in our little authenticity party! And #3 I soooo get. A friend calls that a “fraud demon.”

  10. Cindy   •  

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot since I read it a couple of weeks ago. It randomly pops in my head while I’m driving, in the shower, when I’m supposed to be studying….so here goes.

    1. I have misophonia and to say it’s socially debilitating is the understatement of the century. If you make any mouth, breathing, or click/snap/pop noises in my hearing, I physically want to cause you lasting bodily harm…..like I totally sympathize with that old Snapped TV show. It takes everything I have to remind myself you aren’t the biggest jerk on the planet and purposefully being rude.
    2. As a result, I live half my life in earplugs. I can hear primary conversations but much of the background noise that makes me want to permanently move to a deserted island is muted to a tolerated situation. I try to be discrete in my use of them but I’m constantly wondering how much of a lunatic people think I am if they notice.
    3. I KNOW I can do many (most) things better than you (whoever you happens to be). I’m constantly problem-solving and mentally making everything more efficient and effective. I’m OK with (my) trial and error, but I will figure out the ‘best’ way. I refuse to accept defeat. Like misophonia isn’t socially debilitating enough.
    4. I like to drink a couple of glasses of wine or a couple of beers to take the edge off. I enjoy drinking beer regularly. My dad home brews and we like to try the weird flavored beer (Salted Pretzel beer is disgusting, blueberry beer has an aftertaste like kids cereal, Peach beer is surprisingly refreshing). Fortunately I don’t have an addictive personality and I don’t like any loss of control so this doesn’t lead to any dependence on it or drunkenness. I go weeks and months without a drink or buy a sample pack and have a drink with dinner for 12 days straight.
    5. My house is filthy. Not TV show intervention filthy, but I will pretend I’m not home even if all the lights are on and you see us in the windows if you stop by unannounced. I live in a villa with a son, a husband, and a dog, I lost the will to pick up after everyone daily years ago. If you broke in today, there would be tumbleweeds of black dog hair across my blonde laminate wood floors and visibly piled up in corners (including stair bends), kitchen table and some of the counter covered in random junk that needs to be put away or trashed, sinkful of dishes, and pink hard water deposits in my bathroom. My house only gets really cleaned about once a month. I just have better things to do, like spending time with my son, reading, watching TV, or laying in bed staring at the ceiling wondering why I’m so lazy with cleaning.
    6. I hate being noticed, center of attention, etc, but I still want recognition for my experiences, hard work, etc. I don’t get it.
    7. I give 10% of my income to church, I give to almost every fundraising or outreach campaign I’m asked about, and I have all kinds of ideas on how to help people (see #3). When Ferguson happened (and it IS an event, rather than just the name of a city), I started a twitter & facebook feed offering up ideas of how to randomly reach out compassionately to people. I personally did about 5 of those things over the 3 months I was posting almost daily. I just can’t get the motivation or stamina to do those random acts on a daily basis, so I’ve labeled myself a fraud and I haven’t posted in about a month.
    8. I hoard guilt (including manufacturing responsibility for things that barely have anything to do with me) and I do not accept forgiveness. I’m painfully aware of how detrimental that is to my daily life and with my walk with God, but I can’t figure out how to fix it.
    9. My husband was separated (as opposed to single or divorced) when we met and began dating. Of course I rationalized that was acceptable, he was miserable and unloved and I appreciated him and could help him, but I’ve carried that guilt for 11 years (see #3 and 8). Our relationship started with that, a mountain of his and hers financial debt, he’s not a christian, AND all the ‘normal’ married with child challenges and it’s a monumental weight on my shoulders. Someone once told me the secret to marriage is both people not wanting to be divorced at the same time and I think they might have been genius. We don’t scream, yell, and fight, but we probably suck it up and tuck it away which probably isn’t much healthier. I’d say we’ve had more downs than ups, but I stubbornly hold out hope that love will prevail all.
    10. Becoming a mother is the scariest thing ever. By all external accounts, at 7 years old my son is kind, smart, and responsible, but I can’t help but worry he wont always be that way and that I did something to fail him (see 8). I’m ridiculously overprotective while trying to let go and let live and learn. When Sandy Hook (another event now rather than name) or any other awful thing against children happens, I go into complete panic. He’s the ultimate blessing, the beacon of happiness, to know he could be gone from me at any moment is terrifying. It’s exhausting.

    • Cindy   •  

      PS. This felt self-indulgent and I’m already hoarding guilt about.

      • Kelley   •     Author

        Cindy. We *need* to have a glass of wine together. I resonated so much with your list that I’m wondering if you’re my long-lost younger sister. Seriously.

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