Have you ever been at funeral and the mood is serious and heart wrenching, and just at the most reverent moment, you were irreverently struck with the giggles or a coughing attack, turning you into the douche bag that severed the emotional tone?
This is inappropriate behavior.
Or at church and it always happens at church and especially during prayer, when your phone shatters the silence with The Party Rock Anthem. Did anyone tell you that embarrassment red is not your color?
Or you find a table at a coffee shop, the aroma of coffee beans overpowered by the indigestion of the elderly gentleman sitting next to you. If it’s that bad Sir, could you stay home next time?
Is this appropriate? hmmm….(sorry G-ma).
When I say you, in these instances, I really mean me. Yep. I’m the one guilty of the above mentioned inappropriate behaviors or being caught in ones that are fairly similar. I’ve inherited awkward klutziness from my mom and joking at the most improper times from my dad, and the weird random, ‘How-does-this-happen-moments?!?’ well…that’s all me. The three combined? Ummm…it’s cringe-ably entertaining and sets the stage for behaving inappropriately.
My high school roomie tied the knot recently in an outdoor ceremony in Carmel Valley, California. Michele’s unique and classy style splashed and danced throughout the celebration. It was beautiful. She was stunning and the couple radiated joyful love and excitement.
When I watched her walk down the aisle it hit me that we aren’t fifteen anymore. She’s so adult and I feel like I’m so not. She has a stability that my life lacks. Not that I would want my life any different than it is right now, but she has found her home. Her happiness was evident. Her decision sure. I recognized her for the accomplished and amazing woman that she is, proud of her and grateful to be part of her commitment to forever.
All these thoughts fought for expression and the tears threatened to burst as my lip began to quiver. Right before I entered the state of blurred vision and watery eyes, I saw something that distracted my emotions and broke the moment…(watch below).
Yep…that is Inappropriate Behavior (maybe “someone” will appreciate it someday).
And as funny as I think that was, I kinda, more like, really ruined a moment to reminisce, to be lost in the memories, and to experience the beauty of the experience unfolding around me. Often, I use laughter to hide– to lighten the mood. I make jokes to mask my more vulnerable emotions. I like to escape emotionally charged moments. In high school, I remember telling a room-mate in a confrontation that I needed to go on a run. I had to get away to think. That was in high school and over 10 years later, I still run from conflict. I use gym time, long bike rides, humor, or passive-aggressive sarcasm as my preferred means of resolving issues, as opposed to standing ground and facing them directly.
My latest crutch to avoiding conflict and encouraging my need to skirt claustrophobia is that I can always leave. I can get on the next plane. If I feel uncomfortable, no need to worry. My commitment depends more on flight schedules and the close proximity of an airport, than a decision to “stick it out”. My life is managed by the four days I have to be at work, but those other three? I could be anywhere and anywhere means freedom– a freedom I fully embrace. On the surface, it doesn’t appear that I am hurting anyone by the whimsical gypsyness, but the question lingers, “Am I creating habits in my life where, when something becomes uncomfortable or I don’t get my way, I disappear?”
That isn’t healthy and that trait, in the end, creates a very lonely life.
Conflict avoidance is an area in my life that can be improved. It’s true that sometimes, when in conflict, walking away is what is needed in that moment, but conflict eventually needs to be addressed. Conflict does not have a one-size-fits-all solution, but I believe that it is always wise to be respectful, to be kind, to listen, to be assertive, and be willing to compromise. Before anyone calls me out as a hypocrite, I just wrote that. It doesn’t mean I’m the perfect practicer and do that in my every day life. God, I hate conflict and I’m not good at fighting fair, but I can get better! Just bear with me…
My brother and sister-in-law are two people in my life that have been silent and not-so-silent examples of committing to choices, and sticking through, regardless. My sister-in-law has helped me grow up and made me realize that conflict isn’t always a terrible thing. She challenges me and doesn’t accept my excuses. She is intimidating, but also inspiring. A woman who I never thought I would like, I have begun to really appreciate and look forward to spending time with. She is a someone who knows what she wants and sticks to her decisions, no matter how tough the road ahead. She consistently says exactly what she thinks and does not apologize for her opinions, while simultaneously not being above an “I’m sorry. I messed up.” I’ve seen a caring and practical side to her that I truly admire.
My brother is one of the most loyal men I know. Kind, sensitive, and considerate. It’s fun being adults and now spending time together, understanding that in many ways, I have misjudged who he is. I’ve always thought he was cool, cause I’m the little sister and that’s how little sisters think, but now I view him as totally cool for other reasons. Like for his quiet strength, his reserved nature, and his quirky sense of humor. I like that he is such a good dad. I like that he still laughs at my silliness, and more than anything, I like that he still plays big brother and looks out for me.
Curious. Bubbly. Creative. Curating a life I don't need an escape from and inspiring you to do the same.