I’ve always had low self esteem. Mixed with bullying growing up and other bits of crap, my outlook of myself has never been one of 100% love. On top of this I am NOT your average size 12 with a swanky hairdo of foils and fringes dressed in tight jeans and singlet top. I am a size 18, nashie shaped (a pear cross and apple), with boring plain old simple hair and jeans that neither flatter nor accentuate anything. I’m the definition of Plain Jane. Oh, and I’m Pregnant (ie: fatter than usual)
When in groups of people I suffer terribly with how I do or do not fit in with them. I’m not hugely intellectual. I have difficulty debating in arguments off the cuff (even though I was on the debating team at school!), I am overly emotional, I loose track of the point easily. I never feel adequate. And even when I am leading a conversation, the self-consciousness of my appearance creeps up and I feel small again and want to creep back into the shadows.
We are not wealthy, we don’t own our home, my clothes are usually bought at op shops (hard when you are an odd shape a size 18 and especially pregnant!), or on clearance. I have some good stylish clothes that I seem to wear 80% of the time (that’s 6 items of clothing 80% of the time!). I don’t have my hair done, I don’t own fancy sunglasses, and Brand Labels means buying Helgas Bread. I’m just in a different stratosphere to most of the families I have met so far.
With Tara starting school this month all of these feelings have come to the front of my thoughts. I’m spending lots of time with new circles of women, in an area where I am not familiar (we moved here less than a year ago) and feeling like I am trying to breathe underwater. I don’t LOOK like most of these women. I don’t SOUND like most of these women. I feel very much on the outer, while at the same time trying to fit in. I feel like the odd Mum Out..
Their Hair, their jewellery, their conversation, their look – everything makes me feel like I am wrong. And I see other new mothers fitting in with each other easily, the conversation flows and they group together very quickly in chatter. And it feels awkward and odd to try and join in. Like I am intruding on sacred ground. These are people who have only just met in the last few weeks and yet I still feel as though I don’t belong. Whether it is my own awkwardness or just that inner feeling – cracking into the School Mum Crowd feels odd and foreign.
I find it hard to fit the part, when I don’t feel I look the part. Tara fits in easily and is so graceful and gentle in her frienships. She is easily forging her way into the groups and circles. I wish I was 5 again and social graces and looks and feelings were all into the distant future and not likely to corrupt me for a while. But I am 31 and still scared about how I am perceived by everyone around me.
I don’t necessarily want to change myself, however I also don’t want to always feel like I am on the outer of every situation I am in.
My mother’s group is one place I feel almost completely at ease. There is no “look” in our group but I must admit the intellect of my group of friends astounds me sometimes and I find myself floundering. But they understand me better than most. And I value them above all.
I just wish I could infiltrate the School Mum Circles as easy. I wish that I could feel natural, look the part, and just slip into it all so easily. But it’s never been that way, and I doubt it will ever be that way…