Team Bryan

My daddy got a .30-06 rifle for Christmas, so this afternoon we went out to the range to zero the scope. It was a beautiful day for shooting: sunny and crisp. Daddy jokingly calls me “Annie” because (let’s be honest) I’m a crack shot. Here’s my first-ever cluster with the new rifle:Target .30-06

Dad and I had driven separately, so as the afternoon drew to a close, we hugged goodbye, and I walked across the gravel parking lot to my car. On the way, I spotted a 17- or 18-year old boy with a sweatshirt that said in big, blue letters, “TEAM BRYAN”.

No way! I have to get a photo with that kid to show to my girlfriends!

team jacob shirtFor the past couple of months, as I’ve been courted by Bryan and semi-wooed by Flynn, most of my girlfriends have chosen to either be Team Bryan or Team Flynn. With most of them now decidedly Team Bryan, I thought they would get a kick out of seeing a photo of me standing with a kid in a “Team Bryan” sweatshirt.

So – putting on my outgoing, extroverted self – I walked straight up to the kid and asked how he’d shot that day. His dad turned around at that moment, put his arm around the kid and said, “He did great!” They smiled at each other. “Well, this is a bit random,” I started to say as the mom walked up, “But I was wondering if I could take a picture with you. I love your shirt.”

The kid said, “Sure!” enthusiastically as his mom asked, “What is this for exactly?”

Uhh… awkward. “Well,” I tried to explain, “You know how for ‘Twilight’ all the teen girls are Team Edward or Team Jacob? There are two guys kind of pursuing me, and one of them is named Bryan. I thought my girlfriends would like to see your son’s sweatshirt because some of my friends are ‘Team Bryan’, as it were.”

The kid looked hopefully at his mom. This pretty girl wanted to take a picture with him. But his mom contorted her face and spat at me, “He has that shirt because he’s a cancer survivor.”

…………….

…………………………..

………………………………….…….”Oh, so your name’s Bryan, then?” I asked awkwardly. What the heck am I supposed to say in response to that?!

“Yeah,” answered the kid, the sparkle gone from his eyes. Why’d his mom have to go and bring his cancer into a perfectly fun and light-hearted conversation?

“Well, I’m glad everything’s okay.” I handed my camera phone to the dad, who was standing silently. “Will you take our picture?”

The dad quickly snapped a few shots while the mom fumed at the audacity of this young punk girl who dared to ask her son to take a picture in his cancer shirt, of all things! Oh, the atrocity!

I hugged the kid and grinned at him as I skedaddled and called bye to his folks, “Have a great day!” Eeek.

That. Was. So. Awkward. And it didn’t even have to be!

It took enough courage to ask a random stranger for a fun photo without a defensive, overprotective mom insisting on having a chip on her shoulder in regards to her son’s cancer. I’m sure he didn’t appreciate her ruining the moment and making a huge scene.

It could have been a playful and fun-loving interaction for this kid who most assuredly hasn’t had enough light-hearted moments in his young life. Instead, this worry-wart mom stole her son’s joy and made this girl right here feel very, very awkward.

So… yay, Team Bryan…?

Yay?

Authentically Aurora

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Misunderstood

Only-Human-Christina-PerriI’m tired of being misunderstood.

That sounds so emo as I type it out, but I am so indescribably dead serious: I am freaking tired of being misunderstood. It’s exhausting to constantly have everyone around me simultaneously psychoanalyze and criticize me for character traits of mine that aren’t even accurate.

My ex-fiance used to say that I was too stoic and emotionless. I tried to explain that I’m not without emotion; actually I have very extreme, intense emotions that I keep below the surface because of their magnitude and intensity. But he wasn’t perceptive enough to see them. Sometimes I would pretend to talk in a robot voice, but instead of thinking it was funny, it would freak him out, and he would yell at me to stop because it was terrifying to him to think that he was with such an “emotionless” woman.

This week at work, I found out that I didn’t get the promotion I was approached about. The reason the hiring manager gave me over the phone was that I come off as “standoffish and holier than thou” (his exact words). He encouraged me to dwell on the meaning of the quote, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” I explained to him that the issue is not that I care too little, but that I care too much. He asked why, then, I am perceived as being so cold.

In the past year, I have had multiple suicidal coworkers call me in the middle of the night to be talked back from the ledge. Countless depressed coworkers have pulled me into a conference room during the work day to confide in me about their ongoing divorces or cheating boyfriends. Multiple lost, disoriented, confused friends have sought my wisdom and advice in hard situations. Complete strangers tell me their entire life story on a weekly basis. This week, it happened to be one of the Cavalry officers at my brother’s wedding. Do those strike you as recurring instances that would happen in the life of someone who is perceived as cold? Fuck no.

Stop freaking labeling me as cold, heartless, standoffish, arrogant… the list goes on. It’s not that I don’t care. It’s not that I have no emotions. Actually, the opposite is true! Think of Bruce Banner, the seemingly stoic scientist whose anger transforms him into the Hulk. “That’s my secret, Captain. I’m always angry.”

Think of Bella in Twilight. As portrayed by Kristen Stewart, she has a grand total of 1 facial expression. But underneath the surface, the reader is privy to a whole world of very extreme, very intense emotions ranging from single-minded infatuation to debilitating depression.

Probably my favorite is Kat in “10 Things I Hate About You.” Everyone thinks she is just a bitter, cynical, generally apathetic shrew, but in the end, we see that she had very strong, complex emotions that she protected from prying eyes behind a tough outer shell.

Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean the emotions aren’t there. And just because YOU, Mr. Hiring Manager, have been told by your politicking cronies that I am cold and standoffish doesn’t mean that the rest of the office doesn’t see me for who I really am: a tenderhearted woman who has learned to share her softer side only with those trustworthy enough not to use her vulnerability as ammunition.

Authentically Aurora