I’ve never been very good at female friendships. Never. I say what’s on my mind. My humor is twisted and sarcastic. Sometimes I just don’t get other women. As far at female relationships go, I’m pretty bad at being a girl.
I don’t typically like to ask for favors like, “Hey, So and So, can you give my kid a ride to school today because my other kid’s leg is hanging off and I need to get in an ambulance now.” No, I’m more likely to call the school and tell them the non-maimed child won’t be making it to class today. It’s much easier than running the risk of putting someone out to ask for help.
I am aloof. I am aloof because I spent my formative years living on a 200-acre farm with no neighborhood children to play with. I am aloof because I was born this way. I was born with a tumor on my eye and looked pretty weird as a little kid. I was a target for questions, stares and nasty little girls. As an adult, a simple eye-roll, dismissive gesture or turned back brings those little girls right back into play.
I’m kind of a loner. I don’t like talking on the phone. I rarely think about texting other people. I don’t like to gossip and I’m pretty bad at small talk. I tend to seek friendships that are real, deep and lasting. People who don’t mind if I forget to call or text.
These traits don’t mean I’m unfriendly or bitchy or that I don’t like you. I don’t decline invitations because I want to. It’s because I have three children and, sometimes I can’t be in three places at once.
Sometimes I write on a stupid blog. Mostly, I write what I hope will be a not-so-stupid book. A book about a little girl and a ghost and some sad memories of bitchy little girls and a whole lot of loneliness.
Not one of the qualities I’ve mentioned is conducive to building new friendships or getting invited to join the PTO.
At my last residency, I was slightly shocked and surprised when another woman asked me to come help her pick an outfit out for her reading. Shocked and surprised that another woman thought I was “normal” enough to do such a thing! On some level, I know how dudes must feel when wives and girlfriends start grilling them for opinions. I was honored but found myself waiting for her to realize that she’d asked for help from a woman who’s really bad at being a woman.
Here, in my every day life, I’m sure there are mommies who think I’m snobby. That I’m brushing them off. They might believe that I actually enjoy saying, “Sorry, but I can’t make it,” and that I never feel guilty about it. And that’s my problem I guess, because I’m the one who chose to follow a dream. Maybe, on some level I am a failure as a mother and as a woman. One who has chosen to pursue a master’s degree while her children need her to do things like bake cookies and plan birthday parties and playdates and sell wrapping paper. Maybe some of those women are right and I should have waited to get my degree.