Beautifully Different

The Prompt:

Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up.  Reflect on all the things that make you different.  You’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.  (Author:  Karen Walrond)

(I find that there is something more than a bit cosmically humorous about the fact that I spent yesterday’s prompt saying things about myself that can be considered less than complimentary and today, I’m called upon to do the opposite.  Instead of calling attention to my flaws, I’ve got to sing my own praises.  I’d like to meet the person that pulls this off with ease.  He or she holds the key to something, I’m sure.)

Look, I don’t know what about me lights people up.  You’d have to ask them.  I’m terrible at accepting compliments, and that has a lot to do with the fact that I never fully believe in the nice thing being said.  I don’t labor under any delusions.  I am not exceptionally pretty.  I’m not an athlete or an artist.   I don’t sing or dance or play an instrument and I can’t really think of anything I do with any special aplomb.  Truth be told, I’m more than slightly odd and awkward and look at it as rather a miracle that I’ve made it this far with friends in tow.

What I can tell you, is that I am a hostess at heart and feel a genuine responsibility for everyone else’s good time.  My friends have in me a girl that will go to extreme lengths to make them laugh.  We all spend enough time (at least I do), alone and miserable with our thoughts, and it is for sure a lovely thing to be able to sit quietly with a friend not talking about anything at all; but to me, there’s nothing as beautiful as a moment lost in frenetic, face-screwed-up, doubled-over, can’t-breathe, god-my-cheeks-hurt, laughter with friends.

Taking this further; to trick a smile out of someone who has accepted me without judging, to get a chortle or even a rueful grin from the mouth of someone I love who’s having a hard time is the currency I’m paid in.  I count any day as a win that I’ve been able to get someone to laugh by doing or saying something outrageous that completely disregards my innate need to blend in in order not to call attention to my strangeness.

An Anecdote:

It was a random evening in Seattle, neither warm nor cold, but at least it wasn’t raining.  My friend D and I had massacred a fortune’s worth of veal shank to make the worst saltimbocca I’d ever tasted.  Maybe it was the wine, or perhaps the champagne, but the result really matter because we’d had a fantastic time laughing in the kitchen while the boys sat in the living room watching some important game of sportsball.  After barely choking down what should have been a delicious and high-end meal (but assuredly WASN’T) we put on our heels and hoofed it to the bar.     As is the case with sparkly, friend-filled nights, we did any number of shots and found ourselves in a rather shabby state.

I was in the middle of a sentence on the way home when D ducked behind a tree (one of those urban trees planted in the dead center of a square of concrete) and ejected the contents of her stomach.  She stood upright at the end, and looked at me with tears standing in her eyes:  “I’m so embarrassed!” she wailed: “We were having such a good time and now EVERYONE saw me puke!”  I looked around and pointed out to her that we were the only ones on the street, that if anyone saw, it was only an old lady peering out the window of her high-rise and who cares about that old bitch anyway?  It didn’t matter.  D was crushed, inconsolable.  I gave her a little chuckle, and shaking my head, asked:  “Would it help if I puked too?”  She looked at me in amazement, and nodded her head, squeaking out a tiny “yes”.  So I did it.  I tottered over to her pile of chunky, half-used stomach contents and I third-knuckled it, leaving an almost identical mass of sewage next to hers.  “Solidarity sister!” I said, and took the crook of her arm in mine and stumble-lead us both back to her townhouse.

I’ve puked for friends and worn fairy wings, dressed up for no apparent reason and arranged for impromptu 30th birthday lap dances.  I’ve convinced a drunk barfly that my father wrote the song “More than Words” and paid for my college tuition with the royalties.  I’ve had a hand in stealing life-sized, plastic Star-Trek characters from displays in grocery stores and agreed to double dates.  I’ve flung myself to the ground to make snow angels and have developed an almost choreographed montage of old 80s dances that I’ll pull out during a lull in conversation (Shopping Cart anyone?).  Making people snort with laughter is something that I CAN do.  It’s at least one thing that I can give.  It’s a small way that I pay it forward to the world around me.


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