Thursday, September 10, 2009

expectations

I'm easily embarrassed, but that's usually because I have low self-esteem. It's silly, really, because I've accomplished amazing things in my life. I'm a great wife, daughter, and sister. I'm a dedicated student, professor, tutor, and life-long learner. I'm a creative writer, reader, cook, and lover. I'm an honest friend.

So today when I had a great conversation with someone I hadn't seen in about 4 months, I was feeling happy and sure of myself. I smiled at the right time. Made jokes at the right time. And even though I made the unfortunate and inevitable references to how busy I am (teaching three classes, studying for qualifying exams, tutoring three days a week at a writing center, etc., etc.), we had an overall enjoyable few minutes of catching up. And then it happened.

My life changed.

My timid walls of self-confidence crashed.

My heart pounded and my cheeks flushed.

She had said, "You are amazing, doing all of these things with a baby on the way. I don't see how you handle all the pressure."

I swallowed. Hard.

I said, "Excuse me?"

She said, "Teaching and tutoring and studying and expecting!"

I said, "What...? No..."

She paused. I wished desperately that the floor would swallow me whole, or that I could tesser away in true Madeleine L'Engle fashion, so far away in time.

She said, "You are expecting, yes?"

"No."

She said, "Oh, I just saw your, um...you looked, I just...um...oh."

I saw her difficulty in processing her mistake into appropriate words, and so I took a deep breath, smiled, giggled a little and said loudly, "Oh, no, not yet! We're trying to finish our degrees first before we have a family. But it's a nice thought!"

Despite my pretense, I'm sure my eyes gave away my embarrassment, because it was mirrored in her eyes. I made a quick get-away, saying a short goodbye, and turned as I blinked away tears and tried to swallow the lump that had formed in my throat. Bitter humiliation.

Just one more thing that will end up in my stomach.

6 comments:

Veronica said...

Oh, man! This must have been terribly embarrassing and awkward, but I hope you don't let it get to you too much. This girl is obviously crazy, because I've seen recent pictures you have posted on FB, and unless she thought you were going to birth a chipmunk, she's out of her mind.

Sharone said...

Oh, yikes. :( I'm with Veronica, don't let it get you down! This girl obviously has an overactive imagination, but you shouldn't let it make you feel bad about yourself. And P.S., you ARE awesome. :)

Molly said...

I haven't seen pictures of you on facebook, but I have seen the adorable one that you post on the blog and I would say "she is crazy" - and a bit inconsiderate.

I once had a friend say that to me when I had just given birth 5 months before! I was so proud that I had lost all but 5 pounds, and was totally devastated by her remark. Then I realized.....she was the one who was out of line and had no idea what she was talking about.

Go back and read the first 2 paragraphs of this post: that is the RIGHT attitude to have about life :)

Literary Feline said...

Oh no! That's happened to me a couple of times. Once right after I'd lost a bunch of weight. My new found confidence went right out the window that day.

Like Molly said, go back and read those first two paragraphs. That's who you are and you definitely have earned the right to be proud of all you've accomplished and continue to accomplish.

MamaErin said...

Oh my goodness how HORRIBLE!! It's such bad etiquette to say something like that unless you heard from the mommy to be that she's expecting!

Karen, you are beautiful- don't let the comments get to you, although I know that's easier said than done.

Trish said...

Oh honey! I wish I could give you a big huge giant hug! I don't know what the heck this girl saw because when I saw you you looked absolutely wonderful. People are so annoying, huh? Too bad we can't share a bottle of wine and laugh it off.

How are classes going so far?