Outside In

I spent the entire day feeling I was on the outside looking in. It was a self induced feeling-there was no one action that made me feel that way. It was more like a series of things.

My day started training people who didn’t want to learn about what I was training on. I was the only one pumped and excited. In all fairness, I was the only one who knew what the heck to do. I was the outsider. It was my second day as such. Putting on a brave and positive front in a tension filled room where you are a perceived enemy is draining. I have a wise friend who used to periodically e-mail {{head on desk}} throughout the day. That was exactly how I felt.

Mid-morning I was delighted that an impromptu lunch of my favorite non-related people. I moved mountains to get there. To be sure I was there I even had friends ready to kidnap me away from my desk. We sauntered out into the sunshine. The conversation started with barbies. And I had nothing to say. It was like I was on the outside looking in on this normal, random, girly conversation. The conversation didn’t exclude me it just WAS WHAT IT WAS.

At the table I sat at the end and watched the conversations swirl around me. And I sat on the outside and looked in. There were very engaging conversations from all around the table and I could have jumped into any one of them but I couldn’t. I just couldn’t. I made a few feeble attempts but they weren’t successful.

Finally I was asked a direct question, which I answered, but even that was not quite right. My tone seemed wonky, my timing off and my connection to the asker was staticky. It was like trying to answer a natives question in a language you just learned the day before.

Back at work I had to apologize for misunderstanding something I thought I understood. It was simple and not a big deal-no drama-but on a day where I already felt outside of it all it felt like a big deal. Reality? “Oh this is how you do this, I thought you wanted to know how to do that.” See? Easy. Yet I left feeling, because of my mindset, outside of my small team.

I was late -OF COURSE-to tee ball despite promising myself I would be there when it started. I was rushing and angry at myself when I got the message that she was melting down and wouldn’t play. They were leaving. They were there and I was in the car. They were dealing with big-life-emotional stuff and I was driving trying to get there. Outside of the place I needed to be.

From my synced phone I talked to my scared girl. She’s crying and I am yelling to the ceiling of the car because all calls are automatically routed through the radio, “be brave baby be brave”. It felt like I was outside the moment. Even physically. “Don’t leave, don’t leave, I am coming as fast as I can-I swear.” I was shouting as I weaved in and out of cars.

And I did get there. I ran as fast as I could (which isn’t fast at all) to the fence. (This was my 2nd experience running across this field at my version if a breakneck pace. Great impression I am making.) My girl was on the field at the tee. She was weepy and nervous but she was out there. She was inside the fence and I was outside. We were both where we were supposed to be. Yet it somehow felt like I was disjointed from her. I stood behind the fence while she slowly acclimated and joined her team. She was finally part of the group and I was outside looking in as she got braver and braver.

After practice it was time to go home. She came unglued. The issue-she was riding with me but wanted to ride with her daddy. She was emotionally drained and raw and it wasn’t personal. Transitions are hard and we’d done this before. It was loud and embarrassing and sad all at the same time. And I was outside of where I wanted to be. I wanted her to be happy to see me and eager to tell me about school and her practice. That wasn’t happening in this moment. I waited. She had to work this out herself. I couldn’t help her as she worked through it. So I waited. I was outside her heartbreaking moment.

It wasn’t long before she calmed down. The moment moved on and I got to hear about her day and her bravery and her batman tattoo from the treasure box. She cheerily sang her body part song and chatted happily. It’s what I wanted but I was disengaged from it. I answered at the right time and in the appropriate mommy voice but I felt like an outsider.

The ordeal had bothered her daddy. I texted and assured him she was fine.
There was a brief conversation about what had occurred. I was an outsider to his life now though so my advice and sympathy was limited to what I could offer from my role outside his world.

Just an odd day. I apologized to my friends. I ate at the table and made conversation with my daughters. I made sure to be present. I am about to tuck them all in for the night. Yet I still feel like I’ve spent all day looking in from the outside.

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Outside looking in…that’s how I spent the day.

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