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Suck My Finger: The Hazing

September 10, 2012

Thoughts in my head. Thoughts in my head. Thoughts in my head.

Voices in my head. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone wants to tell you how you should be, think, feel.

Overthinking. Analyzing. Overthinking. Analyzing.

I don’t like to be criticized. I don’t like to be judged. I don’t like to be analyzed. I don’t like it when someone decides they’re going to explain to me what’s wrong with me and how I should be or what I should do.

But I’m inviting this into my life and instead of walking away from it, I’m engaging in it. I’m giving permission to others to do this to me.

Something weird happened the other night.

Liz and I were at the usual watering hole. We had a few glasses of wine and we were being pretty silly. In other words, the usual. She left to go dancing elsewhere. I stayed to sober up a bit and get a ride home from one of the fellow regulars, Andy, even though I was on my bike. Andy has a personal relationship with the staff there. He’s more than just a patron. I know he socializes with them off hours and he’s told me before that he often stays after closin.g That’s when things get interesting he claims.

For whatever reason, I ended up there with him after closing. I don’t remember how the conversation took a turn for the strange but before I knew it I found myself in the middle of a Marie-intervention. I was surrounded by Andy, two of the bartenders and the manager and they were all telling me what was wrong with my attitude about men, dating and I guess life in general. I have too many rules, they said. I alternately cried and laughed. There was dancing on the bar. I almost hurt myself when I lost my balance. Luckily, I was able to place my feet on the right places going down, so I ended up stepping down instead of falling.

There was a weird element of hazing to the night. On the one hand it was like I was being inducted into a private club, but on the other it was like this intense and rather arrogant and kind of mean interrogation. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.

At some point, a tray of cheese and marmalade was brought out from the kitchen while the manager was in the middle of a lecture about how I needed to loosen up. I needed to put on an act, sometimes he said. He dipped his finger in the marmalade and said, “Come over here and suck my finger,” he said. “I’m not doing that,” I protested. Not only is he an attached man with a girlfriend and a child, but I wasn’t about to do something like that in front of all them just because they were pressuring me to. It was bizarre. Later, Arthur got genuinely mad at me for not doing it. “You walk around with knives up,” he said. Whether I agree with this assessment or not, it’s what he sees. So, what am I doing or saying or putting out there to give that impression. Is it just because I didn’t blindly follow a silly dare?

I don’t think of myself as a prude. I can flirt and be sexy with the best of ’em, I think. Just ask Shawn or my ex-husband. But it’s one thing to behave a certain way under the right conditions, when it occurs organically. It’s another to do something because someone is commanding you to.

I’ve been going there pretty regularly since January. They’ve all been a sort of witness to the change and transition I’ve undergone. It was there that I saw my ex-husband for the first time since our separation and left crying. It was there that I saw him with a date for the first time and left crying. I met the Syrian Doctor there. I’ve written blogs sitting on those bar stools. I’ve met countless new people there. Liz and I have conducted post-game analysis on countless occasions there. What are they seeing that I’m not seeing?

This critique hit home for me because it’s not the first time I’ve heard it. I’ve been told that I can be overly defensive and in fact I did defend myself quite a bit that night. I’ve been told that I can come across like a know-it-all, a smart-ass. I can see it in myself at times. It was a big problem as a teenager. I was guarded. Boys didn’t talk to me.

But if that’s the way I am now, how is it that I’ve managed to attract Syrian Doctor, Tennis Bashir, Shawn, to a certain degree, and last night a 22-year old who told me I could kill people with my eyes. lol Then again, these have all been superficial interests. Nothing lasting. Nothing vested. Maybe that’s telling.

The other question is, why do I care whether or not they’re right. Why was I so invested in their little Marie treatsie? Why didn’t I just go home at closing or when things got uncomfortable? If no one can make you feel anything without your permission, then my permission was in full force and they let me have it. Where’s my self-confidence? Why is it bothering me so much now. So much that I have to write about it?

For so long now, it seems I’ve had so many other people’s voices in my head. When you’re having serious marriage problems, decide to leave your husband, live with your Dad, move around, navigate divorce, navigate being single etc…etc… and when you’re lucky enough to have a supportive family and lots of good friends you end up getting A LOT of advice. You bounce things off everyone. And everyone has a different perspective, different ways of looking at the world, different values and they all see you differently. And I have a habit of telling everybody, everything. I’ve told friends, family, acquaintances co-workers every detail that goes on. I blog about it. What’s that all about? What does that say about me and my ability to take ownership of my own life? I invite analysis. I invite commentary. Am I longing for validation?

In the end the decisions I make and their consequences are mine alone. I decided to pack that bag and send that e-mail. I have to make the decisions about what I do with my life. My own self-indulgant uber-analysis of every new development is enough to drive me mad. When you add to that the kind of uber-judgement that I subjected myself to the other night, it’s overwhelming. The thoughts and emotions flood my mind and distract me from natural growth.

I’m still so far from where I need to be. The ground is still shaking under my feet. The aftershocks have yet to subside.

Meanwhile, I have this weird feeling that when I walk into my favorite place again, I’m going to either be welcomed as a specially-inducted member of an insider’s club or shunned for being an arrogant bitch.

More change. More loss. More thoughts. More analysis. More blogs.

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From → Rantings

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