Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Elephant In The Room. (Or, in the Book Club.)

Someone asked me the other night, during a book club gathering at my house if I had just gotten married.

"Oh. No. I got married 2 years ago, actually." I sheepishly replied. She just smiled and nodded at me, and I realized I had been going on and on about our wedding. Even to the point where I dragged out our 90 pound album to show to a house full of (lovely) ladies I had just met.

So, you know, I wasn't acting like an insane person at all.

The worst part was, my friend Heather did just get married. And this should have been her time to gush over the details and discuss colors and fun moments of the day and share with us all her honeymoon plans. But noooo. I just kept babbling away about MY day like I was freshly plied out of my wedding dress.

I hate women like that.

I was a woman like that.

The next night Brett came home from a business trip, and as he kissed me hello and sat down on the couch to talk about our day, I immediately blurted out: "I really want to hear EVERYTHING about your trip, but I really, really need to also tell you every single detail from book club last night so you can help me decide if I was a crazy person and have no hope whatsoever of making friends here."

"I missed you too." He said.

"Brett. This is important. I think I was a...little unhinged."

"A little?"

"Ok. A lottle."

"Not a word."

"This isn't helping. I'm kind of embarrassed. I did my frantic-everything-has-to-be-perfect-but-then-just-drank-too-much-and-talked-loudly-about-myself routine."

"Ohhh. That's a fun one."

I covered my face with my hands and deflated into him. "Why did you marry me?" I whimpered into his shoulder.

"Well, for starters, you weren't doing that routine. But, you were wearing a hot pink sweatshirt with a cartoon elephant on it that said "Nothing wrong with a little junk in the trunk." At church."

"That was a great sweatshirt."

"It wasn't." He said, kissing my forehead. "But, what I am trying to say is- you can be pretty charming and fun when you aren't trying so hard. I think the move has you feeling insecure, but you shouldn't be. People will like you. And if they don't, well...who cares? When you just relax into yourself, you're unstoppable. And I'm sure no one at the party thought you were a crazy person."

"I interrupted everyone constantly AND showed them our Christmas card from 2 years ago."

"Oh. Well...we don't need friends here anyway."


Before Brett moved from California to Pittsburgh, we were packing up our belongings in our bedroom and I was wearing that hot pink elephant sweatshirt. I was holding a box, and was about to topple over from the weight of it when Brett quickly grabbed the front of my shirt to steady me- ripping it in the process.

I looked down, horrified. "You RIPPED it!" I wailed.

"Oh. No." Came his flat reply as he tried to hide a smirk. "That's too bad. We'll have to throw it away."

"Like hell. This shirt is special! I'll sew it."

"You don't sew. Besides, the thing is really, really old. Can't we just bury it? In some kind of ritual? A good-bye to the past, a hello to a quieter, less pepto-bismol pink future?"

"Brett. I met you in this shirt." I said, patting the elephant lovingly.

"I don't need that shirt to remember that night." He answered softly. "But, we'll cut the elephant out, ok? And maybe put it on a baby blanket someday. And we can tell our daughter that Mommy was wearing the most obnoxious shirt ever. Because Mommy is kind of obnoxious. And colorful, like this shirt. But, that makes her special."

"And there is nothing wrong with a little junk in the trunk." I added somberly.

And Brett rolled his eyes. And carefully cut the elephant out.

I found the elephant the day after book club in a jewelry box I had unpacked a few days before. I laughed when I pulled the hot pink elephant out, and sat down on the floor with it reverently in my hands. It was winking, which I didn't remember, and that made the whole thing more hysterical. This fat, cartoon, garish winking elephant seemed to be exactly what I needed to hold on to in this moment. Like, it was telling me everything was going to be ok. And yes, I was obnoxious. And yes, sometimes not the easiest person to love. But hey. Be kind to yourself. Life is fun. It's not supposed to be so serious all of the time. And- *wink, wink,* lighten up a little.

So, I hope everyone embraces their own elephants. I hope they can cut them out of the cloth of their past and carry that little part around with them forever. I hope you can embrace a tiny part of yourself that you see as a flaw.

Because, it's not a flaw. You are not a flaw.

And there is nothing wrong with a little junk.
In your trunk.

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