Everyone has them even if they don’t want to admit it. Wether it’s in the bedroom, the workplace, in school, in your social life, and even when it comes to your own family.
This past Friday was T’s junior prom. Following tradition, all of the prom goers assemble at one central location within the town where their families and friends can go, and take pictures without having to go from house to house. It’s quite brilliant actually, and it gives the business who hosts it, a little extra shine on their name. In any case, it was so nice to see all of the young ladies dressed to the nines in flowing gowns, some less than others, and to see the young men looking so dapper in their tuxedos.
While playing photog to my little social butterfly, I was able to spend a few minutes here and there, people watching. This is one of my favorite things to do, not because I like to judge, but because I like to read people, and imagine what they are feeling, thinking, and even hiding. Sometimes you see some hysterical, and downright unbelievable stuff when people think no one is watching. Sometimes though, you see something that makes you sad, and this is the part of people watching that I don’t like so much.
After taking a series of pictures for T and some friends, we went back to where other friends of hers
were standing with their moms, one of whom I had noticed earlier looking to be uncomfortable, was now visibly upset, and trying to compose herself. At that moment I had no idea what was wrong with this mom, but internalized it as her possibly being overcome with emotions by seeing her daughter all dressed up for prom. The idea that in just over a years time, her daughter would be graduating high school and going off to college, weighing heavily on her mind. It wasn’t until later, after overhearing T and her friend talking, that I realized this mom was feeling inadequate.
As a matter of self preference, I choose to get dressed up in a nice, yet still casual manner when I attend school functions, official or not. As a matter of parental pride, I am happy that T and me have the type of relationship that we do. One where she wanted me to follow her, and her friends around taking pictures, chatting with other parents, and just being together in this milestone moment for her, and lets face it, me to. Apparently this particular mother daughter relationship is a contentious one, and as a result left the mom standing lost in a sea of people, while her daughter flitted about taking photos. From what I understand, the mom thought it was because she showed up wearing a t-shirt and shorts, asking the daughter why she didn’t tell her she had to dress up.
Now I’m going to skip over my thoughts on why defers to her daughter for the occasions dress code, but who cares that she wore shorts and a t-shirt? I didn’t. There were plenty of other parents there wearing shorts and t-shirts, because let’s be real, it was a very humid ninety degrees. Of course if you just crawled out of the garden or out from under a car, then yeah, maybe a change of clothes is in order. Obviously the real problem here is the mother/daughter relationship.
I’m not a therapist, but it doesn’t take one to know that if your child is uncomfortable or embarrassed by any aspect of their home life, then that is going to affect the way they act around their parent when others are around. It was clear from the way she constantly tugged on it, that this friend was not comfortable in her dress, because it was not tailored to fit her exact measurements, and it was a little dated compared to other dresses. You then add in a mom who looks like she was cleaning house all day, and given underlying issues, you have two people who are left feeling inadequate compared to the people they are around. I would have gotten teary to. My heart goes out to this mom, and her daughter. I hope they are able to figure out their relationship, and build a more solid foundation for the future. No one should be made to feel inadequate by anyone, especially their family.
Which leads me back to… me. Very rarely do I have feelings of inadequacy, but when I do, it is usually because my family, unbeknownst to them, makes me feel this way. There isn’t anything that they do or even say to trigger these feelings within me. Feelings of inadequacy are just like feelings of anger, happiness, and even jealousy; they just exist. People go about their daily lives, make strides to be successful, have families, get married, become something, and there is always someone, like me, who feels inadequate in their own life, especially when they are in a situation to see whatever it is that makes them feel “less than”, face to face. For me, these feelings are popping up in light of the family reunion I have coming up this week.
For seven days, I will be surrounded by family members who are doctors among other accomplished professionals, married, living in beautiful homes they own, and living comfortable lives. In comparison; I am single; never having been married, “self-employed”; while I try to make a writing career take off full-time, living in my parents house; as a single parent it was hard financially, never owned my own home; I never made enough money to, and financially; things have been tough for a long time. While I tell myself that I have no reason to feel inadequate, I just published a book for gods sake, it doesn’t stop those feelings from surfacing, but instead of letting them drag me down, I plan to use them as motivation.
Motivators are always essential when you are trying to start out in any new aspect of life. For me, wanting to own my own home, live comfortably, and have a career I can love, are all motivators for me to write more, write better, and to write diversely. It is infinitely harder to sell your writing when you publish yourself, but it is possible. So this week while I ma surrounded by my family, who love me regardless and visa versa, I’m going to try to feel less inadequate and more motivated to have a life that not only I can be proud of, but so can T and the rest of my family.
Until next time…