My Valentine’s Day Post

Don't You Forget About MeI hate to be left out of anything. Whether that something is anything I really want to do is beside the point. Everyone in blogland is posting something about Valentine’s Day today. I don’t have any surefire libido-revving recipes, any devastatingly romantic plans for the day or any genius tips for surviving as a single person on this emotionally-fraught holiday.

Instead, today I have a raging head cold and the focusing-ability of a gnat. And a husband who is out of town. So what will I do? I’ll write something Valentine’s Day related anyway. Cause I hate to be left out.

My need to be included in all things is causing me trouble today. Apparently, my sense of self is fragile. If I’m not included in every party or outing or get together, I get itchy and scratchy and anxious. Anxiety is like bed bugs – nipping at you when you’re most vulnerable and expensive to eradicate. (And what could be more romantic in a Valentine’s Day post than mentioning bed bugs?)

But when I am included in everything, I more often than not feel overwhelmed and anxious (see a pattern here? If not, I’ll draw you a diagram.) I get resentful and ornery when I have too many commitments.

The flip side to my need to be included is that I feel guilty if I plan or attend something and other friends aren’t included. And I believe I have to protect their feelings by not mentioning the plans that I do have. For example, my family gets together every six weeks with two other families for something we lovingly call Suppa Club. I love Suppa Club and wouldn’t change a thing about it other than my guilt.

Every time we have one scheduled and a non-Suppa-Club friend asks what we’re doing, I try to avoid the question and feel guilty that we haven’t included non-Suppa-Club friend in Suppa Club. (If your head is now throbbing after reading that last paragraph, maybe you too can take a sick day? You’re welcome.)

When I am included, I feel sad for those who are not. When I’m not, I feel suicidal. How’s that for a win-win for everyone?

I could understand this anxiety better if I were nine or ten years old and juggling a variety of social plans like our pre-tween daughter, Ava. She has more social plans than Lindsay Lohan has citations. She doesn’t enjoy not being included, but she sure doesn’t feel guilty if someone is excluded. She moves on and enjoys whatever is in front of her.

Last weekend she hopped from play date with friend A to playdate with friend B and told both of them about her plans. (Horrors! What if their feelings get hurt? I can’t even write their names in the unlikely event either of them/their moms will read this post!)

Of course I realize everyone can’t be included in everything. Nor would I want everyone to be. (Other than me.)

BUT, I want everyone to want me to be part of everything. Is that wrong? Even if I don’t want to go and would feel resentful having to show up, I want to be asked.

How old am I you ask? Exactly. My brain gets it, but my vulnerable ego hasn’t quite caught up.

Last week, I asked a dear friend to join a writing group that she’s been part of for the past several months. I wasn’t clear in my own mind whether or not I really wanted to be part of it; I just knew I didn’t want to be excluded.

She lovingly and honestly said “no.” She admitted she didn’t want me to be part of that group, but was willing and interested in doing something separate with me. I initially felt devastated and ashamed; the message in my head that I wasn’t good enough to be part of her group. After processing those fun-for-everyone feelings, I moved on to a different point of view.

Her bravery rocked my world. I am so fucking lucky to have grownups in my life, people who will tell me the truth so they won’t have to resent me and distance themselves from me later on. I feel closer to this friend than ever and grateful she’s modeling sane, honest behavior for me.

Fragile ego? Check. Thankfully, I’m aware of my narcissism  and am willing to embrace it by telling everyone who will listen.

So, if you’re having a dinner party or going to an event without me, please make sure I know about it so I can feel crappy and jealous and loser-ish. It will be our version of Immersion Therapy (and infinitely quicker and cheaper than the regular kind).

What marvelous plans are you withholding from me?

25 thoughts on “My Valentine’s Day Post

  1. Girl, you preach and I’m the choir. I get it and I Have the same issue with Suppa Club. I am evasive and then feel like crap. Where are the real win-wins….I don’t have any of them operating. Hilarious posts…bed bugs, LiLo, suppa club…the best of the best. Like you.

  2. this is the funniest valentine’s day post. you definitely need a glass of wine so get everyone to bed early and watch some dumb ass tv and relax. you know, you can please some of the people, some of the time, but you can never please yourself. let it all goooooooo….. happy happy. 🙂

  3. I love the way you write so, SO much. I spend too much time doing the things that I want to do.. Family, bible studies, blogging, social media meandering, drinking wine, Words with Friends, housework, making notes for novels or self-help or children’s or parenting book ideas, Mary Kay… and who knows how many other simultaneous projects I’ve created for myself… That I rarely have time to worry about what anyone else is doing. Call it self-centered or delusional or oblivious… But it keeps me happy and always into something that interests me! I so used to be this girl you describe though!!!! Whoever you are, own it!

  4. I have just as hard a time “saying no” as I do “hearing no.” But thanks God for the “grown ups” who CAN say no and are invested in protecting what’s best for them over our feelings. One day? Maybe? I’ll be a grown up too?

  5. I feel the exact same way. If people don’t include me in something or don’t invite me I feel completely inadequate and insecure. It’s gotten to the point where I felt like I had to invite everyone to everything so no one would feel badly about it, but apparently some people are in fact grown ups and don’t get upset about stuff like that.

    But honestly, it still bugs me if my friends do something and I’m not included. It’s a work in progress. Coming to you from SITS

  6. Oh this is too funny and so true for me too!!! I always feel AWFUL if I have plans with a friend or friends and then I’m talking with someone else and she asks what I am doing… I feel COMPELLED to invite anyone who might have hurt feelings!!!! I don’t know what we can really call this form of anxiety… hmm… How about: “People pleasing narcissistic insecure pathological lack of identity and self esteem disorder”???? CHEERS!! lol

  7. Are you SURE you aren’t Jewish? Seriously. This is the running commentary for most of us.

    And that friend who didn’t want you in her book club? Um, maybe it’s because you are better than she is. Just saying. This is a mislabeled post, Mare. It’s about so much more than VD. (It’s about bedbugs.) Seriously, it’s about balance and how to quiet those anxious voices in our head — without medication.

    • Not Jewish as far as I know, but interested! So funny – I don’t like the title either. I kind of raced to get this one posted, but wish I had re-titled it something like “Invites to Bedbugs: I want everything until I get it!” 😉

  8. Hey, I nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award, which you may have already been nominated for, but i figured another nod of recognition couldn’t hurt. You can check out the info at my site, monsieurmaman.com. Love your blog

  9. I think everyone feels that way sometimes. My husband and I tend to be very secure in who we are and what we do, but every now and then there will be something that will come up that I’m sure we should have been invited to but weren’t. I start wondering if our friends are really our friends. Yet, I don’t think anything of making plans with just a few and not even thinking twice that “everyone” wasn’t included. Love your post! And yes, I wrote about my Valentine’s Day, too.

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