Saturday, August 8, 2009

We're Related

I spent the last week completely and utterly myself.

What a strange sentiment. But honestly, how often do you really spend "in your skin"? 
That feeling that just makes you feel like you couldn't possibly be more like you. That this is who you are. I don't know how else to explain it other than restating the same thing I essentially restated four times.

I like to think that I know myself well enough by now to take the advice of numerous celebrities, happy, and/or successful people and "just be myself". That I'm mostly the same person around everyone I meet. But that would probably be grossly incorrect. 
Upon my observations, everyone changes (even minutely) when they're introduced to a new group of people. Survival instinct: When introduced to new surroundings, we asses and acclimate. This includes feeling out the people, the atmosphere... are you going to go with high energy? Laid back? Are you going to talk about how ridiculously hard that vector geometry class was or are you going to talk about the insane party you threw at which everyone you knew threw up in your bathroom? 
This happens to Various degrees of dectectability:
Some people are incredibly adept at fitting in with people, not necessarily changing completely (though they do exist) but maybe showing only one side of who they are. A humanoid social chameleon.
There are of course others. You know, the ones who stick out like Freddy Krueger at a Debutante ball.  They just don't jive, nor do they probably even want to try. 
Then there are those people that don't have to change, they are the change. Those people who don't have to try because they already are. Everyone shifts around them, whether unintentional, subconscious, or through a concerted effort they write the undertone.

All of the above though may change depending on the group of people, the gathering, and/or the occasion. Where's the focus?
Personally, I throw the entirety of my musings out the window when applying it to my family. I know my father's side of the family extremely well, and I see them often as well. So for the content of this post, they will be referred to as my "family" "the fam" or any term relating to well, my relations, hereafter. 
I have every sort of person in my family. The pro
 golfer, the recluse, the musician, the taciturn student, the shy one, the ridiculous one, the outgoing one, the hilarious one, the theatrical one, the earthy one, the medical one, the bitterly single one, the crazy one, the one who
 laughs, the obnoxious soap-boxy one, the rebel, the blissful one, the grumpy one, the younger one. 
(you get the point)
But these roles, these personalities don't even matter: to outsiders, you would see roles and hierarchy (yes I did use the term "outsiders"). But inside, everyone is accepted.
I think that it might be different for every family, but in my particular case, no one is going to stop loving you because you were a complete bitch last christmas and told everyone loudly that the roast was way overcooked. No one is going to kick you out because you scolded your niece for wearing jeans to easter dinner when you've never seen her wear anything but jeans...ever.
My point is, everyone has their faults, and their not-so-shining moments. In my family, we get over it and move on. We are who we are, and at this point, it'd take a second ice age to change that. 
We love each other, and we love being around each other. (cue soft orchestral sound track)
And we sure as hell love to party. 

I spent the last week in Chicago for my Aunt and Uncle's 25th Wedding Anniversary Celebration. (aka The whole Fam, Food, alcohol, and waaay too much love)
Been married a quarter of a century? All right, we'll bring the booze, you bring the dinner, and Grandma's got dessert covered. 
Anytime we get together, but especially this time, everyone just lets go. Air it out, we're all family here...
Now that everyone is an adult (with the exception of my youngest cousin at 16), it's anybody's game. I hear outrageous stories about parents, aunts, uncles, Grandma... you name it. I gain approximately 12 pounds per day. We take pictures, we laugh, we drink. It goes on like this. 
Lately it just feels like we've all gained this mutual understanding.
"Things Happen in life, and I understand you."

Probably the most amazing part though, is that I never feel any pressure to be something specific. Maybe that's a side affect of being in the middle-to-tail-end of an extremely large family, but it feels good. This is the place that I don't have to worry about impressing anyone. I don't have to think about what I'm saying. I'm not worried that the creepy guy in the corner is inevitably going to fallow me around all night and ask for my number, because that creepy guy is my cousin, and he probably already has my number. 

All jokes aside, it's an amazing feeling when you don't have to be someone. I think that everyone should be able to experience an interaction like that. If you don't have family where you're comfortable enough to be yourself-- go somewhere that it doesn't matter if anyone sees you: like a theme park or a crowded public place. Somewhere that you're not worried about running into someone you know looking like you've run a marathon, gone swimming, and then been hit by a car. Just be there and let yourself go. Smile a lot. Laugh at anything. 
Eat whatever you want. 
Try it, seriously. It will be such a good day.