It’s time for a little confession. I know my blog makes it seem like I lead a very glamorous life but the truth is, I’m not very good at socializing. Neither is my brother and it’s weird because our parents are essentially the Homecoming King and Queen of the entire neighborhood. Everybody loves them, everybody wants to come to their parties, and they go out drinking more often than I do (which is pretty sad, considering that I’m the one still in my twenties).
I used to blame my ex-boyfriend for this. He was perfectly content to sit home and watch videos or play board games, plus I was always visiting him in New Jersey instead of spending time in Philadelphia. Most of time, he was willing to go out but I always knew when he wasn’t enjoying himself. He’d go out because it made me happy, not because it made him happy, and we started going on fewer and fewer dates. I told myself I was okay with this because we were saving for more important things.
But I was not okay with this.
And it wasn’t entirely his fault.
It was my fault.
I can’t tell you the number of parties I’ve made excuses to skip over the years.
It’s embarrassing to say the least.
And, last February, when my girlfriends and I decided to go out dancing on Valentine’s Day?
It was pathetic. It took us nearly a week of Googling to figure out where to go.
Some might see a gradual lessening of one’s nightclub knowledge as a sign of maturity. But I don’t. At least not yet. I see it as a sign of being lame.
And so, last Saturday, when my friend Casey invited over for her housewarming, I made myself go without PIC, just to prove that I still could.
I hate going to parties when I don’t know anyone aside from the hostess (because you have to talk to, you know, other people) so you can imagine my delight when, just a few minutes after my arrival, I met a longtime reader of Fieldwork in Stilettos.
I’m not famous famous, but this happens every once in a while. Usually it’s a friend of a friend, and after the initial, “Oh my God, you’re that Kat???” they want to know everything.
“Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?” my new friend ventured.
“Go for it,” I replied. I was so grateful to have someone to talk to that I would have happily told her my cup size if she’d asked.
“Have you spoken to The Wedding Date since you two broke up?”
“Really? Not at all?”
“No. Not at all. We both thought it was for the best. I like to think we could be friends someday, mainly because I wonder about his kids and how they’re doing, but we wanted a clean break. No drama. It was hard but it was better that way.”
And it was. I thought about writing to him at the one year mark, or at least writing an open letter on my blog to commemorate the occasion, but I thought better of it. The past is the past, and it’s the past for a reason.
She continued asked questions and I continued answering them, but the statement that stuck with me the most, the one that brings me to the point of today’s post, was the following:
“You’re life is so exciting! No wonder you have so many interesting things to write about.”
I was dumbfounded. Exciting? Um, I blog about underwear. And falling into rowboats. And having to go to the bathroom because I drank too much coconut water. It’s not exactly like I’ve just raised over a million dollars for a school in Brownsville or something, you know, noble.
But it’s not the first time someone has said this sort of thing to me. Years ago, an old boyfriend, who was rather exasperated with me at the time, once demanded, “Why does your life read like a freaking Jane Austen novel?”
“Because I write it that way,” I told him.
And that’s what I told my new friend at the party.
“It’s not that exciting actually. It’s just that I write it that way. I mean, I could probably make toilet paper exciting.”
(Don’t tempt me.)
She laughed but I told her it was true.
I remember, quite clearly, the year that I realized I was actually good at writing. I was 20 years old, on scholarship to Oxford University, and even though I felt like an idiot most of the time, there were these occasional moments of clarity, and they kept on happening.
The first time, I was standing outside the door to my English tutor’s office. He taught at Merton College, which is one of the oldest, and his office was basically situated atop a turret from like the 1300s (give or take a few centuries). I used to climb to the top, my essay for the week freshly printed, and think, “Isn’t life amazing? Most people don’t even realize how amazing it is.”
Of course, they say it better in Our Town, which is my favorite play ever and if you haven’t seen it, you should: