Throughout my high school and college years, and really, up until I began this transformation, I was the queen of making excuses. Excuses about any and everything, but in particular, I excelled at making excuses to avoid uncomfortable social situations. I was afraid. Of what? I’m not sure I fully understand, honestly. That I’d be noticed? That I’d be ridiculed? That someone else’s words and actions or my own self-consciousness would force me to expose the me I worked so diligently to avoid?
The summer before my senior year of high school, I volunteered to be a freshmen mentor. It meant wearing a dorky t-shirt that read something silly like, “Ask me!” and required me to attend an orientation pizza party with all my fellow college application padding senior cohorts. Now, these were people I saw every day. I had grown up with these people. Most of these kids were my friends and I generally got along with all of them.
So why then, on the night of this lame and unnecessary shindig, did I proceed to slip on my t-shirt, get in my car, and drive halfway to the school before turning right around and going home? When asked of my whereabouts the next day, I claimed sick (as I so often did during those days).
In college, my excuses, and my general disposition, grew bitchier. Meaner. I wouldn’t go out with my friends to the bar because, “so-and-so’s crush would be there and if I have to watch them make-out one more time I’m going to vomit.” My friends would constantly attempt to appease me by switching plans, choosing a different venue, letting me decide what we should do…and I complained and begged off the entire time. I pissed a lot of people off. I spent a lot of nights alone watching TV and getting fatter. I lost epic friendships.
Post-university experience, I just kept on rolling. Destroying everything in my path, withdrawing more and more, until I ended up basically completely alone.
Case in point: after I’d backed out of her birthday party two years in a row (one that would involve strangers and boys! Gasp!), my oldest and closest friend called me while I was shopping at Target. She was rightfully angry: her dear friend hadn’t shown up for her in one of the most basic and celebratory ways a girl can. I’d be pissed, too! I listened to her yelling at me, terrified, trying to explain (falsely) why I wasn’t there. She hung up on me. I stood in the throw pillow aisle, crying. We haven’t been more than acquaintances since.
People mistook my excuses as me not wanting to spend time with them, me being difficult and judgmental, me being pathetic and infuriating. But in reality? I just didn’t want to see my peers succeeding where I was failing miserably. I didn’t want to get sloppy drunk and make mean comments about others (as I was wont to do), while they took ladylike sips of their cocktails and flirted with every cute boy in the room. I didn’t want to attempt to squeeze through the throngs of college co-eds, trying to maneuver my extra-large body around the space without bumping anyone and spilling their drink.
I didn’t want to go unnoticed. But I certainly didn’t want to be noticed, either.
I didn’t want actual proof that my life was ever-so-slowly starting to fall apart, lose control, pass me by.
Lately I’ve been feeling an urge to rectify the situation. To apologize to the people I’ve hurt most. It feels like some sort-of twelve step program idea, but I just want to explain to these people that I’m sorry for being a huge pain in the butt and I’m sorry that things have ended like this. I know it most likely won’t effect their lives, but it feels like necessary closure for me.
Whether or not I do ever apologize for my old ways, this painful analysis has also taught me that love is always the answer. Love and kindness. Towards yourself, towards others, in any and all situations. It’s something I try to live each and every day. Positivity and love. Because while you can’t go back and fix hurt feelings, lost relationships, or missed experiences, you can learn from the negative and use it to influence the light in your present and future.