For my 18th birthday, my parents threw me a surprise party (well, it was mostly my mom and best friend, but I’m sure my dad helped too). It was awesome. It’s one of my most favorite memories from my whole life. (Sidenote: you should know, I’m really into birthdays, especially my own. My birthday is, by far, my most favorite day of the whole entire year. I love it. I spend most of the year thinking about it. When I was in High School, I always did a 30-day countdown ‘til my birthday, brought cookies for everyone on my birthday, and threw a huge party for myself because I’m egotistical. Bottom line: birthdays are really cool. Everyone deserves to feel special on their birthday, especially me.)
So this party was probably in my top 5 favorite days of my whole life. But it wouldn’t have been nearly as awesome if all of my favorite people didn’t come. My house was literally packed with people I loved, and that’s all I’ve ever dreamt of in my entire life. Lots of fun ensued that night, but there were a few especially memorable moments. (Like when I punched my best friend in the arm for being so thoughtful – everyone please pray for my future husband, wowza.) I also remember my Taylor Swift cake that was the actual coolest thing ever, the Just Dance competitions that went on, and my mom’s stinkin’ poem.
If you’ve never met Patty before, you probably don’t know that I have a mother who writes poems. If you have met Patty (even just one time ever), you’ve probably read or heard at least one of her poems. She writes them for lots of reasons: birthdays, graduations, weddings, apologizing, explaining why you’re in trouble, etc.
So anyway, on my 18th birthday, there was a poem. She made everyone gather round while she read this poem about me. It was really nice and really thoughtful, AND I DEFINITELY DIDN’T CRY DURING IT.
But the point is, she started out by talking about how I’ve always been obsessed with my friends, and always, 100% of the time, want to be hanging out with friends. That was true. I never cared about homework or a future career or really doing anything, except for having fun. In college, I used to go to the library all the time, but I didn’t spend that much time doing homework. Instead, I would just convince all of my friends to come with me “to study,” then I would spend hours trying to distract them from homework. (Then, they would inevitably leave me alone in the library at 3 in the morning, and I’d be left to do my homework by myself because all of my friends would be done with their’s.)
I’ve always been this way – relationship oriented. (I don’t know if that’s a thing, but now it is.) I just want hang out with cool people and do cool things all the time. That’s why I loved that party so much. It was all of my favorite people shoved in my favorite place doing my favorite things (eating cake and playing Just Dance, obviously).
Friendships are what I’m good at. I’m not good at focusing for long periods of time on spreadsheets or desk work, I’m not good at pretending to care about studying, I’m not even good at sitting still for long periods of time. But I am good at maintaining friendships (at least, most of the time). It’s what I’ve always been focused on and what I’ve always cared the most about in life. (Some people care about successful careers – I care about having lots of friends.) So as I got older, I just naturally thought that my obsession of having as many close friends as possible would translate to any relationship that I ever had.
It didn’t – to say the least. I’m bad at a lot of things (heck, I just mentioned three of them), but I am especially bad at relationships, and meeting cute boys, and trying to show affection. Like painfully bad at them. Like worse-than-you-see-on-TV bad.
You know that scene at the beginning of Frozen when Anna meet’s Hans for the first time, and they have that mishap with the boat and the horse? After she lands on top of him, she says, “This is awkward. Not your awkward, just because we’re-I’m awkward. You’re gorgeous. Wait what?”
That’s like me when I meet an attractive boy for the first time; except in my life, it’s normally much more painful. Anna is awkward, yes. But mostly, she’s just being cute and charming. With me, there are sweaty hands, strange shoulder placements, and forced laughs that mostly just mean I end up spitting everywhere.
It’s horrible – I’m horrible. There’s no other way to describe it.
I wish that I was joking and totally exaggerating how ridiculously bad I am at relationships (or just being around boys in general), but I’m not. It’s true, all of it.
I’m good at friendships: I’m good at cultivating them, I’m good at keeping them afloat, and I’m good at brining them back to life. But I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, good at even talking to the male population.
It’s a disappointment really. You see, my only real dreams in life center around being friends with really cool people, marrying a really cool person, and having lots of really cool babies. That’s it. If I achieve that, I’ll be happy.
Sometimes I wish my mom’s poem for my 18th birthday had said something about me being a successful serial-dater. Or even a successful dater at all. Instead, I’ll continue to spend my days daydreaming about the future and hope that someday, this messy version of 21-year-old-Kaelly gets her crap together.