Normally, I like being the new girl in the room.
“Who’s that girrrl?…..Who’s that girl?….It’s JEN!” I freaking love that show. #NickAndJess4Ever
Being the new girl means that there’s a certain gift of freshness to your new relationships. You can be who you really want to be without any of the baggage or weirdness from your past.
When you’re the new girl, no one stares at you and remembers that awkward time in Jr. High when you decided shaving your sideburns was a good idea.* Or when you were 13 and had to wear a weird immobilizer arm brace that strapped your arm down across your tummy and how you still attempted to make overalls work at the same time.
I had to wear one of these sexy, little numbers when I fractured my growth plate in 9th grade. Due to my own incredible ability to get in my head and freak myself out, I was in the middle of a back handspring, soaring backwards through the air, when I had the random thought “What if I actually can’t do back handsprings as well as I think I can? Sure I’ve been doing them the whole class up to this moment, but what if…?” This thought triggered a signal in my brain to stop putting my arms up and over my head and instead, I careened through the air, rotated over to my left side and landed with a thud, right on the upper side of my left arm. Apparently, when you do that, you can fracture things that are important. Hence the doofy arm brace. I also managed to miss my big shot at being the flyer in a basket toss during the next day’s football half time performance. #MissedOpportunities #JustTryToPairThisWithOveralls #IDid
These days, I’m the new girl with my new job.
Let me just start off by saying, yes –having a new job, especially at one of the places I’ve always wanted to work, is pretty awesome. There are days I miss my leggings/couch/Netflix opportunities, but I will say that being able to afford leggings/couch/Netflix is something that brings great peace of mind. I’m sleeping much better at night and doing a lot less mid-day crying. It’s a great thing.
I started just over a month ago and I feel like I strode down the loud, linoleum floors with a confident step and a friendly smile that said “Here I am! Let’s not only do great work together, let’s also be work-buddies! What’s everyone doing for lunch?”
To be fair, everyone did say hi and introduce themselves. I wrote their names down in my new floral notebook and reviewed them throughout that first week. I pictured us taking group walks together when the weather got nicer, maybe grabbing a chai and laughing about the crazy process of paperwork that still involves triplicate forms or how so many people here have such an aversion to using online chat. (No chat? WHAT?!)
But things were pretty busy for the people around me and my 15 minutes of fame as the new girl seemed to dim pretty quickly. I started amping up in my introductions and throwing all the zeal I could muster into meeting new people.
Twice a day, a gentleman comes in to deliver and take away mail. I have memorized his name and have greeted him with such intensity, I think the poor man fears coming into the office. Today I introduced myself to the woman with quiet shoes who walks the hall with her towel and spray bottle. She’s on high alert to catch any speck of dust or smudge on glass. She looked at me like I was crazy when I reached out to shake her hand and said “We haven’t been introduced yet, but I’m Jenny. What’s your name?”
My new job is with one of the largest employers in the city and this place is freaking huge. Coming from a place where I knew everyone’s name to where I’m at now is quite a change. (OK, well, maybe not all of the software developers’ names, but they usually avoided eye contact anyway. The ones I did know were pretty darn cool though.) Even when my last job grew and nearly doubled in size, we still maintained the “Hey, you’re part of our cool-kid software family now. Welcome!” Things at my new job are a little different.
I’ve made so many wonderful friends from my past jobs, not just my recent software gig. Even from back in my casino days, I’ve met people that have invested in me, my family, and have walked with me through some pretty tough stuff.
I guess this is why I was so excited to be the new girl again and have the opportunity to start collecting even more buddies from my new job. But the reality is, I just don’t know if that’s going to be the case.
Perhaps I’m putting way too much pressure on things here. Cue the deep introspection part of my blog.
Since my divorce, (see, I told you it was coming) I’ve learned that friendships can come and go. And I saw a lot of them go.
I really don’t blame them. Divorces are messy, awful things and I get that it’s way too complicated and frustrating for a couple to remain friends with two people who aren’t necessarily a couple anymore. Add in the whole church-thing, where you become akin to a leper once you make the decision that you don’t want to be married anymore, and it makes things even tougher.
This is basically the response I’ve received from my old church crew: Unclean! Unclean! That girl messed up big time and we can’t even fathom what that means because in the church’s mind, bad things like that CAN’T happen so when they actually do happen, we have no practical way of processing and/or handling them like normal humans! Let’s stay away from her so we don’t expose ourselves to her bad choices and only ask her things about her children if we happen to run into her in the store. She, as a human, has no more value or worth now, only that she happened to make two lovely children back when she was normal/married. Oh, the children! Their lives are surely doomed forever more because of the sins of their mother!
I got a little lost in that description, didn’t I? It really isn’t that bad. Most of the old church crew just avoids talking to me all together, honestly 😉
Oh, and for anyone taking notes, my children are still just as amazing, funny and clever as they were before the split. They’ve adjusted well to our crazy new lives and they’re excited about all the new people who get to be around them and love on them. And boy, there are lots of them! We talk about how cool it is that there are so many new people in their lives, so many new humans to learn from and spend time with.
My kids are happy, healthy and have chosen to make the best of a situation they had zero control in. I only wish some of the adults I know could do the same thing.
But back to the part of my blog before I started venting.
Remember when you liked someone in school and you went out of your way to impress them and get them to like you? For the record, I have since learned that usually, a person can’t really ‘get someone to like them’. It kinda just is or it isn’t. Humans just don’t have that level of control over each other. (10 points Gryffindor for adult lessons learned.) But back in my school days, I could have earned an additional high school diploma for my mad skillz in boy-crazery.
Newsflash: Nope. They usually weren’t interested.
Other newsflash: That usually didn’t dissuade me from liking them, and in fact, them not liking me the same way I liked them, actually triggered my massive competitive gene and made me even more obnoxious.
Cue high school flashback: “What? You only like me as a friend? I’ll show you “FRIEND”!
Watch me go above and beyond when you’re sick from school. I’ll not only pass the card I handmade around to the class, I’ll also go shopping and spend my very last dollar on Star Wars themed trinkets and treats cause I heard through the grapevine that you may have a thing for that movie. What’s that? You think it’s weird that I spent my lunch break driving over to your house to deliver these things to you? Nope. Totally not weird at all. And how else would I have discovered that when you were sick, you blew your nose on a t-shirt because it was gentler on your gorgeous nasal cavities than standard tissue? You adorable, creative, genius, you…
I could have given this overly attached girlfriend meme a run for her money.
God bless the Jr. High and High School boys who survived my crushes. Seriously. I’m surprised I haven’t been billed by their therapists.
Whelp, here I am now.
Hopefully, I’m way less obsessive about proving my affections for the people I care about. That could get awkward when you’re a thirty-something lady and you’re trying to fit into the world of being a cool-as-eff grownup.
But those new potential work-buddies better watch their backs.
I’m friendly. I’m kinda clever, and I have the memory of an elephant and the skills of a PTA mom when it comes to birthdays and such. I’m fully equipped with delicious recipes for potlucks to share, an overflowing candy dish on my desk and ample opportunities to hear all about the crazy / not-crazy weekend you just had.
Hi. My name is Jenny, and I’d like to be your new work-pal.
*Let’s be honest. I knew shaving my sideburns was a stupid idea, but when you’re 12 and your super-cool, 14 year-old-friend and all of her friends are telling you it’s the cool thing to do, you can only do so much. I remember backing away from the pink, disposable Lady Bic razor, but in the end, I totally caved and let it happen. It was awful. We quickly realized that the girls this “shaved hair” trend ‘worked’ on, were girls who had these heavenly, thick manes of glory. Not the spindly, baby-fine mesh I was rockin.