Over the weekend I was invited to attend a farewell dinner hosted by my office for this outgoing senior personnel. Assuming it was an official-ish event, although the invitation said casual/informal, I thought it was more appropriate to dress a bit on the conservative side. So I slipped on my longest dress and threw on a black lace cardigan over my outfit just to give it a little ‘demure’ jazz. The event went on longer than I had hoped, which meant people were drinking a little more than they should, so when one of the senior guys at work came up to me and said, “Stop trying so hard” (given he was ‘smilaughing’ which is basically a little more than smiling but a little less than laughing, you know that awkward smile laugh combo we all do sometimes) I was a little surprised. I wasnt sure what he was alluding to, and I totally caught myself off-guard when I automatically responded, “I dont really have to try so hard with you lot,” and smilaughed right back at him. Then he laughed laughed, put his right arm around my shoulder and said, “It comes naturally to you doesn’t it.” I smiled back at him, but I was still not sure what he meant. I just let it go since I dont really know him all too well.
Still, being the over-analyzing, neurotic person that I am, I couldnt help wondering what exactly I appeared to be trying too hard at? Did I appear overdressed in my LONG skirt amidst girls in their jeans? Did I seem a bit too enthusiastic to dance on stage when they called everyone to come do the chacha slide? Was it inappropriate to respond “I would like a glass of redwine please,” when all the other girls asked for juice or soda? To hell if I know. But I am pretty sure I was just as I always am….being me.
I fear this weekend event was just another reminder that people at home still see me as being ‘Americanized’ or ‘Westernized’ but at this point in my life, I couldn’t give a crap about it. I am comfortable being how I am, and besides, if being how I already am appears to some like I am trying too hard then look the other way. I am not paying you to watch me and deduce why I am the way I am (I have my effing therapist for that, shoot!). I much prefer being me – wine drinking, bohemian skirt wearing, chacha sliding, too many retorts for my own good kind – than a hipster with your hipsterism and ennui when you’ve barely lived across the border and your parents pay for all your “vintage obsessions,” and trust me, those are a bounteous find in my city today.