The Inevitability of Looking Stupid
Setting: Doctor's office
Scene: My billionth prenatal appointment
Characters: Me and the doctor
Doctor: "So how are things going?"
Me: "Things are going okay. I mean, I have terrible indigestion and - sorry to be embarrassing - but super terrible gas which I had during the first trimester for sure, but is that normal during the third? It's just that I don't remember feeling this badly with my first two babies, so I'm noticing everything more. And she moves ALL THE TIME, so maybe she's kicking me in the stomach and causing a lot of disruptions or something? And I had to stop wearing my wedding ring because my hands are starting to swell so much that I can't always get them off, but that's normal I guess? And my first two were boys, and this is a girl. I've heard that pregnancies can be really different based on gender, so I'm trying not to worry even though I feel so much worse this time around than with the last two. I mean, I could sleep all the time. Isn't the end of the pregnancy supposed to be full of energy and nesting and stuff? Because mine isn't, and I don't know how to process it because my hormones are totally out of whack, but I guess it's all fine?"
Her: "Well, call us if you need anything, and we'll see you in two weeks."
Me: "Oh! Yeahokaycool." Watermelon Belly Lady awkwardly gets off examination table and attempts to gather coat and purse quickly since doctor is standing in the door waiting for the room to clear.
I walked down the hallway, and felt like a world class idiot. So she just thought I was rambling. I was actually asking! Legitimately wondering if it was normal for me to drive my family out of the room with the lethality of my gastrointestinal situations! Or that I sometimes take three naps a day or that I cry constantly about nothing or that I've gained more weight in the last month than I did the previous six. All the things! Give me something, lady! Am I normal?!?!
(I think we all know the answer to that, but let's move on.)
It happens all the time, doesn't it? We have a conversation, it doesn't go the way we expect, and we spend the rest of eternity analyzing what we said, what they said, what they thought, and how we can fix it without looking like a crazy person. I mean, I've monologued full conversations in my personal recaps. Like, OUT LOUD.
(Yeah, I'm totally not normal.)
But I want to offer some solace to the analyzers, to the conversation recappers, to those of us who torture ourselves with things that have already happened and can't be undone.
We all look stupid and will definitely look stupid again.
(I'm also great at pep talks.)
Think about it though. Isn't our overanalyzing so that we prevent being in that situation again? Don't we wrestle with our past words so that our future ones don't haunt us the same way? Do you seriously think that I will say anything but "everything is normal and great!" the next time my doctor asks me how it's going? I don't want to look stupid again! I don't want to turn the hallway corner and imagine her telling the nurse that I randomly told her about having deadly gas. Dig a hole and crawl in immediately, please.
But the truth is I will look stupid again. So many times. And so will you. The rehearsing and reliving are self-preservation strategies, but we're trying to stop something that can't be stopped. That's why being a person is hard; we say and do stupid things, and people see.
Instead of trying harder to look put together, I want to accept the fact that I can't fix, change, or prevent my stupid. It's inevitable. And the sooner I see that, the sooner I'll be okay when it happens. So today, try and accept your stupid. Don't lie awake thinking of how you could've stopped it. Just get some sleep, and start again tomorrow.