forced intimacy


intamci.jpgi admit it.  i am an emotional failure because i do not enjoy forced intimacy.  i can be shmaltzy most any day of the week except when called on to give an answer at the thanksgiving table to “what i am thankful for.”  so i have a rather large family (dad has 6 brothers) so our thanksgivings tend to be pretty big, i think.  this year was a little stretching, a tad uncomfortable, as my dad is getting remarried this summer which now means i have people he wants to include in our family that i am still getting used to.  no disrespect intended. 

it’s just that there are a handful of people i just adore from the get-go.  with these people come an ease, a freshness and a spark that i cannot explain.  if i bellylaugh with you or proactively initiate communication, you are one of those people. 

mer.jpgthen there’s a darker side to me (channelling “dark and twisty meredith”) that is more ambivalent about other people.  it is not that i dislike them, i just take a while to open up to them.  some people find this to be a quandary as i am warm, outgoing and gregarious (aka “bright and shiny”) but also intensely private about my personal life.  go figure.  my dad getting remarried brings elements of grief, confusion and unmet needs–and this is not to say i don’t support his decision.  if what i’m saying is confusing, please comment me because i really am not intending to speak ill of any of the people involved.

anyways, my dad’s side of the family is religious and actually wonderful and even cute.  my grandparents have been married happily for over 50 years – raising 6 sons, 20-something grandchildren and 5 great-grandchildren.  and to give you some background, i have been raised as the oldest child and only daughter – giving you both insight into my personality and into the struggle of now blending in quasi/pseudo/upcoming step-siblings etc. 

so as always we go around the table and we are asked to say what we are thankful for.  i am one of the last people to answer and i’d already heard about a dozen mathematical combinations of family, jesus permutations.  and while i hate sarcasm at someone else’s expense, my natural inclination is to aim for a laugh or at least be creative.  so off the top of my head i think of a dumb, light little quip–but then i realize that all the response’s before me were sentimental, so i should probably come up with something meaningful as well–at least for grandma. 

only the problem was that i couldn’t think of anything.  it isn’t as if i am not thankful for things–it’s just that 20 people already said things like family and salvation and junk sweet words like that.  and now–i can’t think of anything.

so what do i say?

finding a big enough tupperware for the salad i brought and my cousin has really cute red shoes.

intimacy.pngam i an idiot or what?!  why am i so stunted in coming up with something sweet and meaningful when asked?  it’s not like i’m spoiled and completely ungrateful.  i love to be encouraging and thoughtful.  i guess it’s just this- i hate forced intimacy. 

what is my problem?  am i just this huge cynic/pessimist?  maybe i don’t wanna know.  :-(


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