My follow-through is bad.
I’ve never been quite able to figure out why. I’m suspecting it’s because I’m an ambivert. I just discovered that term this year in an article about introverts and extroverts and new research about them. I was most definitely an introvert when I was younger – or at least I was when I began school. I morphed somewhat into an extrovert later after getting some life experiences under my belt.
Perhaps this is where I should insert a link to my favorite Courtney Barnett song, “Nobody Really Cares if You Don’t Go to the Party”, but instead I’ll just skip to the resonant chorus for me:
“I wanna go out, but I wanna stay home”
And how apropos that song is, indeed, for today.
You see, right about now my daughter and I should be heading out to a wedding across town. Way across town. Normally it would take us about one to one and a half hours to get there (Texas and its’ major cities are big and sprawling, y’all). However, our city happens to have, or rather always seems to have, freeways under construction. I’d forgotten about that. Until I called my sister-in-law a little bit ago and she said that they were just about to leave because of all the road closures. A little trill of panic fluttered in my chest.
We were going to carpool with them, because my husband, who is the one related to the person getting married, refused to go. It followed that if my husband was going to stay home, then my son, who has ADHD, was going to stay home as well. Neither of them are particularly social; it’s downright tortuous for them. My husband wasn’t always this bad about it, but he’s still trying to crawl out of the Depression Pit.
I’d already RSVPd for all four of us to attend. In light of the heel-digging, however, I figured that we’d just say my husband and son were under the weather and my daughter and I would do our best to enjoy ourselves there. The truth is that I did not particularly want to go either.
No. Wait. That’s not entirely true. When we got the invite in the mail, I remember thinking, “Oh! N. is getting married! How nice! Of course we will attend. We haven’t seen them for a long time now”. I operated with that intention for a couple of months.
No, wait. I’m going to back up again.
I did indeed intend for us to go when we got the “save the date” notice in the mail. Then came the invite to a wedding shower for the bride. About 3 days before the actual event. With no email to respond to. And the wrong phone number.
The bride is on my husband’s side of a very large family. She is the daughter of my husband’s cousin (I can never remember if that makes her his second cousin or his 1st cousin once removed. I forget how that works). She is someone I think of fondly because I remember how cute she was at our wedding and she always sought me out at the infrequent family get-togethers in the past. But since my mother-in-law passed away, those get-togethers where her family’s children and grandchildren are invited are much fewer and farther between.
My husband and his brother have always maintained that they’re never quite sure who is who at these gatherings, aside from the cousins, aunts and uncles that they grew up with. Like I said, it’s a pretty big family and it takes awhile at these reunions to figure out which kid belongs to which person and how they are all related. In other words, we aren’t all that close. But I give them an A for trying, because they are a lot closer than my dad’s family of seven siblings and all their children who never really even bothered to get together at holidays. My dad says it’s because none of them could last very long in one room without getting into an argument. So, we mostly see them at funerals.
My mother, one of two children, finds this terribly tragic and just plain wrong. She was raised with strict focus on etiquette and the importance of milestones such as birthdays, weddings, graduations, etc. It doesn’t matter what your relationship is with your family members, no matter how you really feel about them, you GO. So, at least my husband’s family makes an attempt.
But when I reached the automated message informing me that the phone number of the family member throwing the shower, the only contact I had for her, was disconnected or no-longer-in-use, I found myself a bit indignant. WHO the hell puts only a phone number on an invite, and a wrong one at that?!? Since we don’t keep in close contact, it wasn’t like I had any of their information.
Ahhhhhh. But there is Facebook, I have to remind myself. And Facebook is also the reason that I initially suspected that the wrong information was deliberate.
Because, here is the other wrinkle: I am actually “friends” with many of his family members on FB and that is the only way we seem to keep in contact, through “likes” and smiley faces and general posts; much like I do with my dad’s side of the family. Facebook is actually how our families got to know each other better. I’m sure that since most people are by this time familiar with, and users of, social media, you can sense how that has gone. Yeah. Not too pretty!
I never realized how many closeted racists I was related to and how deeply that racism ran. I never realized how fanatical some of my relations were. I didn’t know that they were practically ALL zealous, right-wing, conservatives. For their part, they never realized I am a liberal die-hard Democrat, a feminist, and embracer of all races. And they didn’t know how “yappity” I am about it.
I’ve been blocked by, and have blocked, many family members. On both sides. You might as well disown someone if you do that because it is basically the internet equivalent.
But back to the wedding issue…
I got over my indignation about the invite because it didn’t really make much sense. We were set again to attend. I bought the gift and it will be delivered soon. My daughter and I chose what we were going to wear. I was going to run out this morning and get a nice card to leave at the reception. We were going to carpool, as I mentioned. I had good intentions. Firm intentions.
Until I woke up quite groggily at eleven a.m. this morning and my daughter woke up even later. You’d think I would have planned better, set my alarm for earlier, right? I did, though. Snooze buttons are a useless invention. My daughter is even worse. She sets her alarm and then sleeps on, oblivious to it for up to hours. She doesn’t even manage to wake up to hit it! We are terrible night-owls. I exit sleep at a turtle’s pace. My children are following in my footsteps. (God only knows how we are going to handle it when school starts back soon!!) I’ve been wondering if I need to get my Adderall refilled.
However, I still, unrealistically, thought we had time to get ready. And then I called my sister-in-law. And I hadn’t yet had my second, most necessary, cup of coffee; and my teen-age daughter was still in her pajamas; and so was I; and we both needed to take showers; and we both needed to get dressed; and we both needed to put on make-up; and I still hadn’t run out to get that card; and there were so many things that still needed doing while we were gone which I knew my husband wouldn’t do because he was still in bed. I didn’t want to embarrass ourselves by walking into the ceremony half-way. I didn’t want us to show up just to the reception because that seemed too awkward and a little rude somehow. “Hi!! We only showed up for the chow!!”. Uh, no.
My husband mumbled from his pillow, “Don’t go. It doesn’t matter. You won’t make it in time anyway. They really won’t notice. You sent a gift and that’s all what it’s about anyway.” Did I mention yet that my husband is a pretty cynical guy?
My mother will most likely call me tomorrow and ask how the wedding was. I might have to lie to her, because she is the original fount of my sense of guilt and shame. I’m pretty sure that’s why I’m feeling like a horrible, no good, terrible, no-class and very bad person right now.
I said we would go, and we didn’t. My intention was good, but it failed.
I wanted to go, but I ended up staying home.
Am I awful? Am I rude? Am I lame? Am I overthinking this?
Am I the only one who does this? Please tell me no.
It’s really hard being an ambivert.