Too Much to Wait for Sunday: Sunday Confessional

Heather says:

I received a call from a private investigator this week and it opened a wound I thought had healed. I lost a friend and her babies to suicide a little over two years ago. It was only recently I stopped cringing every time a train whistle blew. The questions he asked, I really didn’t have answers for: did she seem depressed? No. From the outside everything looked perfect. We couldn’t know she was hurting because she fought so hard to look like she had it all together.

Don’t compare yourself to that lady in the carpool lane, the one with her hair done and make up on, she has her own problems and you don’t want them. We see people in snapshots, mostly at their best, sometimes at their worst and yet we make snap judgments, “I wish I could be like her,” or “Thank God I’m not as ____ as her.”

This was a rough week.

Saturday we were to attend the wedding of some wonderful friends. They had some car trouble the day before and asked if we could pick up the cake. Sure, no problem, except due to one thing and another picking up the cake made us so late to the wedding we completely missed the ceremony.

Later that same day, I didn’t pull the kids’ toys out of the driveway, as a consequence I was looking in the rearview so hard to avoid a tricycle that I knocked the drivers’ side mirror off my car. It was just my husband and I in the car and I reverted to my line cook vocabulary.  It’s an attractive feature, I’m told.

This means I’m stuck driving my car and looking like an incompetent “woman driver” or the dreaded minivan beater for a few days. Yeah, I’m self-conscious about that. I’m glad it runs and thank goodness it has AC but I hate being insta-labelled a soccer mom, I think even more than the alternative.  The new mirror arrived, but the company sent us one for the passenger side.

I finished the chapter on menu planning while eating take out, fully aware of the irony.

The last one is a little harder to explain, Charleston is a wonderful city, but it has a class system. Usually this has no effect on my life and I have a great time doing my own thing. Not this week, I was invited to an event which turned into one of the most socially awkward moments I’ve had in a long time. It was a, “Who’s your family?” moment. I stayed polite on the outside, but I was humiliated and furious at myself for allowing someone else’s opinion to matter.

Many of us scramble so hard to make it look like we’ve got it all together that we make ourselves miserable. This is a place to share, anonymous if you prefer, those episodes that make us human. Sure, it’s a little early, but the Sunday confessional is now open.



28 Comments

  1. hyperactivelu on July 1, 2010 at 2:16 am

    Oh, bless your heart! I don't even know you, but I want to hug you! LOL! I know this was a few days ago, but so sorry you had a rough day. 🙁 Hope things have gotten a tad bit better . Thank you for being willing to be transparent.

  2. suzanne on June 30, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    Thank god somebody else knocked the mirror off thier car in the driveway! I thought I was the only one! My husband was so mad he wouldn't talk to me for a day and it was Thanksgiving day!

  3. Marybeth @ BGB on June 29, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Oh, you poor thing! I don't have a confessional I want to put out there, but your post broke my heart. Thinking about you…

  4. tinkerschnitzel on June 28, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Heather, so sorry your week was rough.

    My confession(s): My husband's step-uncle passed away Saturday. I only met him a couple of times, and neither of us plan on going to the funeral. I have too much to do, and my youngest's appointment with the ear doctor takes precendent. Plus, I want to use as little vacation time as possible right now. I'm also looking for a new job, unbeknownst to anyone else I work with, aside from my boss. He's looking for a new job too, so it's not as if I'm in trouble at the moment. I goofed on money this week too. We had nothing left in our "eating out" envelope, yet I still went to lunch with my boss's wife Friday. It was a much needed vent session for both of us, as we're all trying to deal with the frustrations happening in the office, so I consider it okay. Oh, and I made my mom buy milk yesterday for the youngest, because there's no money in the "grocery" envelope either. Thank God payday is this week!

  5. Nurina on June 28, 2010 at 3:22 am

    Yup yup.. I agree with the appearance thing. I've always been judged by how everything is fine and dandy for me because I seem to have it all is I'm 'staying home'… 'free to do anything' ; whatever 'work' I do as a stay at home mom is ignored. I have to convince them that how it isn't a picnic.

    Ya know what.. after hearing all the cliche… sigh.. I don't bother anymore… let them… hehehe.. I'm to busy to bother and when I do meet a kind soul who doesn't pass judgment, I appreciate that person even more.. hey can't win everything.. I try not to do the same to others. Reserving my 'comments' when I talk to anyone. Just be nice.

    Love your writings Heather.. I'm a new fan! 🙂

  6. cherie on June 27, 2010 at 11:45 am

    What a profound example of why you should never judge by appearances. My sympathies on your loss, it's never too late for that I know. I'm sorry you got blindsided by the conversation though.

    As for the 'class war' – shudder – makes me remember sorority rush – "and what does YOAH daddy do for a livin?"
    ack

    You had one crummy week. Time to go out and play for a little bit!

  7. Josie on June 27, 2010 at 3:55 am

    I had quite a hard time getting pregnant with my 3rd child. I saw not one or two or three, but four of my acquaintances get pregnant…not even trying and sometimes not really happy about it. By the time the 4th one rolled around I was really jealous, but soon after I was pregnant. The 4th lady ended up with the most difficult pregnancy and an early c-section where they found out she had stage 4 stomach cancer (non-smoker, non-drinker). She passed away 5 months later, leaving behind a loving husband and three beautiful boys. I have since decided to not be jealous of anyone. You NEVER know what might be coming in their life.

    Of course, I also have friends that can't have/haven't been able to have kids yet. So, I know I should never have been jealous about having difficulty getting pregnant with my third.

  8. Just Mom on June 27, 2010 at 1:56 am

    One time I somehow forgot to shut my door. The driver's side door that was right there next to me. I then backed out of the garage. The "unshut" door caught on the side of the garage and bent backwards ruining the door and the side panel it was attached to.

    Another time, I jumped in my Volvo station wagon and put it in reverse to back out of the driveway. The crunch was the trailer hitch of my Volvo smashing through the front grill of my husband's car.

    I need to remember these instances when I get mad at my husband because he never said an unkind word to me about either event. And if the shoe were on the other foot, I woudl probably throw it in his face at every argument.

    Sorry you have had a crappy week. I live in Beaufort so I feel your pain about the unspoken caste system of Southern society!

  9. caryn verell on June 27, 2010 at 1:07 am

    bless your heart…..somedays it is just easier to forgive yourself and move on.. my husband drove to work on the first day of owning a brand new van..and a co-worker let her car door slam into it at lunchtime…he drove that van for three years with that ding in the door-refusing to allow his co-worker to contact her insurance company but he reminded her every day that she was forgiven.

  10. Dr Alice on June 27, 2010 at 12:31 am

    Oh Heather, I am so sorry to hear about your friend. All I can say is, a guy in my med school class pitched himself out a window our senior year and no one saw it coming. Not even his roommate, who knew that he was depressed. I can also say that I had wondered out loud about moving to South Carolina when I was looking for a job as an MD and my mother (from East Tennessee) told me not to do it, that Charleston was completely impossible to break into as an outsider. It has that reputation. Giving you two or three thumbs up from here in Southern Cal.

  11. CarolinaDreamz on June 26, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    I love my Minivan. There, I said it. TYVM. I wanted to be a soccer mom. Really. My kids didn't want to play sports. So sad for me.

    As long as you don't have the big ball magnet on your minivan, NO ONE will think that. Now, please laugh when I give you a soccer ball magnet for Christmas. 😛

    • HeatherSolos on June 26, 2010 at 11:57 pm

      As long as you don't expect me to actually put it on said minivan. You do know that Tim drives it much more often than I do. I know it's shallow, but I just don't like driving it.

  12. Stacy on June 26, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    I'm so consistently messing things up that on the one hand I have come to expect it, and on the other, I'm always battling that sense of self-loathing. In fact, I don't really mind being as I am, but when it runs into other people's lives and judgments, that's hard. My biggest things are time management and weight. Both very hard for me to conquer.

    I'm very sorry to hear about the opening up of the memories of your friend. That's tragic, in the truest sense of that word.

    As for the snobbery, it's something I can hardly even tolerate to be around. Prideful arrogance is to me, about the worst possible trait. Or one of the top five worst. I grew up in an area where people had some money and I didn't, and I always felt like such a loser as a result. Now I seriously avoid those types of people if I can. I have an old friend who lives in an area and has a set of friends and family through marriage who are very snobbish, always comparing themselves to everyone else verbally. It really drives me up a wall to hear it, it's so ugly. To me, they just seem shallow and insecure. My friend is in that milieu, I guess you'd call it, but still manages to be a decent person somehow.

    Who cares if someone thinks you're a soccer mom? I don't get what the big deal is. People make mistakes. Whatever. Give yourself a break.

    • HeatherSolos on June 26, 2010 at 11:56 pm

      Stacy & Heidi, I think it's more the dismissive nature of the tone with which it is uttered than the actual term.
      I kind of like Everclear's song Volvo Driving Soccer Mom which makes me chuckle because I can identify with it in part (NOT all mind you, not all). If you find the video do not watch it with kids around, it's not at all appropriate. Heck, I'm not even sure it's appropriate for me, but I still like it.

      • Stacy on June 29, 2010 at 2:32 am

        I guess I'm not around enough people, because I honestly don't even hear anyone making snide comments about soccer moms. It's more of a cute, endearing kind of term to me. I long to be one but have to work at least part time. In my mind, soccer mom just means the same as stay-at-home mom, and that's what I would like to be. I'll check out the video.

  13. Milehimama on June 26, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    yeah, that class system is something ELSE. When we lived in MC, I was "from off" therefore, not worth talking to. Even my landlady was standoffish to a degree!

  14. carnellm on June 26, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Sorry about your problems this week. I totally feel for you and understand. But know this – you did a great job at the library presentation and I know for a fact that you helped people there. You were excellent. So, here is hoping to a better week. Now, go enjoy some quality time with the family and forget about the blue bloods.

  15. JanetLee on June 26, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Heather – I remember when you lost your friend. After my recent bought of depression, I was amazed at how many people did not have a CLUE that something was seriously wrong with me. I hid it out of the same reasons I tell others not to hid: shame. I had nothing to "be depressed about" (other than brain chemistry that was completely out of whack, that is). It was the hardest thing I ever did to say the words out loud to my doctor. But it was the best thing I ever did. I have me back now.

    Also, I completely understand where you are coming from the the Charleston class system. I have an old Charleston family name I can throw out that many old timers know, but know as merchants and teachers and bookkeepers so I have the amusement of watching the expectation on their faces turned to slight condescension. It's the same thing about where you live. "Do you live on the peninsula?" I've started saying I live "near The Gardens" and that confuses them enough to shut up.

    Somehow, it doesn't bother me anymore. It used to mortify and anger me when someone would pull the snob card on me. I think over the years, I've just really noticed that all those things they are so proud of really don't make them much happier. And another lesson learned, the more someone has to find some point to be superior to you (in their eyes) the more unhappy of a person they seem to be.

    Oh, and I scratched the entire driver's side of my first brand new car I ever had. Backing out of the driveway, looking one way and the garbage bin was on the other and I didn't notice until I had a 'what is the weird noise' moment. Many line cook worthy words were said.

  16. Stephanie on June 26, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Transparency is the key! I used to be seen as the "perfect" mom and I worked hard for that image (it was very unhealthy). One day I admitted in a room full of my friends that perfectionism was killing me and not to believe what they saw. It had gotten so bad I had gone down the path of Bulimia. When I confessed all this (bawling like a baby) my friendships got richer and deeper and I no longer had the "perfect wall" constructed around me. I have since gotten healthier and am teaching others to live free of expectation. I continue to expose my flaws publicly in hopes of showing others that we are ALL working on something. I'm no longer bulimic..in fact I've never been healthier physically and in my relationships.

    P.S. I drove into my garbage can this week and went a day early for a breakfast meeting (sat by myself for a while before realizing).

    • HeatherSolos on June 27, 2010 at 12:03 am

      I grew up in a household where 100% was the only acceptable amount and being an overachiever I kicked my own butt for years to get there.
      I still do.
      I'm glad you've found a healthy path for yourself.
      I used to show up for work on my day off all the time. Uh Heather, you're off today. Oh. . .

  17. Sweetie Berry on June 26, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    One of the things I admire about you is your tenacity to be human…and share that with all of us…and we love you for it…
    I go splat on the wall regularly, its almost expected at this point by all…

    Have a wonderful Saturday!
    hugs!
    Sweetie!

    • HeatherSolos on June 26, 2010 at 11:58 pm

      I like the people that get back up after going splat. 🙂

  18. Denise on June 26, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    Opening old wounds, always difficult. Does time really heal everything? I'm not convinced.

    Re Charleston's class system: it extends all the way up to Berkeley County (and beyond)!

    I've lived here for 33 years, but am not from here. I can't TELL you the number of times over these past 33 years that, when being introduced to someone – by my first name and surname – they ask, "So, who WERE you?" Like …. I USED to be someone but then I got married and become no one. wtf?

  19. Cheryl Smithem on June 26, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    I grew up trying to always be the very best. But there is something in me that knows when to quit or chuck the effort. However, that doesn't always kick in. Heather, like you, I've often felt out of place at events where I *thought* I was supposed to fit in. It's a painful feeling. My solution and coping mechanism is to pretend I'm on stage (I'm a singer by training first) and that I'm brilliant. I hold myself up taller, smile more and find just one person to speak to. Years ago a friend from NYC told me to turn things back to the questioner when asked something awkward; asking the interrogator, "Why do you ask that?" I don't often have the courage to do it. *Sigh*

    This week, I showed up an hour early for a planning meeting of colleagues and felt so awkward. Then my ancient laptop wouldn't connect to the open wifi and I felt stupid and incompetent. Then later when we were all talking, I was thinking about a business opportunity I have while talking to all these younger, accomplished colleagues and thinking, "I'll never be this good." I was so close to tears. I often doubt my abilities and would rather I taught myself not to do that! Another day a client pointed out my grammar and spelling issues. At my age sometimes I just want to say *chuck* it all sell everything I own and go live on a mountain, grow my own vegetables, have kerosene lamps & stove and fridge, visit with friends, listen to birds, read, write, and live far more simply …but I'd still have to work, so I keep plugging along.

  20. asyhre on June 26, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Wow.. what a week you had
    I am horribly guilty of that act. Things just seam easier at the time and there is so much less explaining to do.

    I am so sick of job hunting and people asking me how it is going. Oh, and the rejections letters make you feel like a completely incompetent person.

    I am a pretty shy person and one that is most comfortable in the house got to spend the day at the airport helping with an air show with 4 kids. It was fine, but the situation was a trying one for me.

    I had a couple spots on my legs removed this week. They were not what the doctor though they were (know have to wait a couple weeks to find out what they were), but because of that the pain in have bruising and stitches in both of my legs has been trying on my patients with the kids.

    yup, that is about it.

    • HeatherSolos on June 27, 2010 at 10:49 am

      Being around people is still very tiring for me. That's just the nature of the introvert vs the extrovert. Some of us need alone time to deal with being around people. Shoot me an email about the other stuff.

      Please remember you aren't alone in the job search. Lots of people are having a hard time finding a job. In fact, it's so bad that the teen summer job stats are at quite a low (I can't remember the stat offhand and it's before coffee so my chances of looking it up right now are approaching nil.) I know you aren't a teen, but the implication is that over-qualified adults have settled for menial jobs.

  21. imabug on June 26, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    oh, and that looked like a fun wedding 🙂

  22. imabug on June 26, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    it was mere days after i had made the *last* payment on my car. I was pulling out of the garage, heard *creak*crack*glasstinkle* and looked over to see that the passenger side mirror lost its battle with the side of the garage. I had forgotten that I pulled into the garage a little too close to that side. I still haven't gotten around to fixing it.

    *sigh*

    Many of my encounters with people I don't know end somewhat awkwardly when they ask me "So what do you do?" The expression on their face as memories of dreaded high school/undergrad physics is sometimes amusing, depending on my mood at the time. Apparently many people don't meet physicists very often and aren't quite sure how to react, or think i'm too smart for them.

    *le sigh*

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