Average Jane



Flying Solo

Back in July, you’ll remember I had the sad realization that I am slowly becoming an adult. I was invited to a wedding “+1” and had no(plus)one to take. I could have RSVPed that “of course I had a guest!” After all, a woman about the town, I surely had enough time to court and recruit a man to take with me at the very least as arm candy. Hey, perhaps I’d even have enough time to fall deeply in love and bring the man of my dreams with me.

Needless to say, I went alone.

The days leading up to the wedding are a blur of sleepless nights, stressing about minutia like booking the wrong flight and missing the wedding… but every moment of the 7 hours of sleep I got between Thursday and Saturday were 100% worthwhile when the wedding began and the Groom began his walk down the aisle to await his bride’s arrival.

I guess I should explain how I know the Groom and why I would have walked to Boston to see him get married if that’s what had been required.

I had seen the Groom around campus, his jarring gait an obvious distractor from the placid Miami aesthetic. I knew he ate alone. I knew he lived in my building. Besides that, he was a mystery, as out of place as I was in our tattered clothes and disheveled hair. One day, in the computer lab, we ended up sitting next to each other. More than likely I was writing a mediocre paper on something inconsequential (or stealing computer paper). He was playing scrabble online. I don’t know how we started talking, but it was immediately obvious that I was in for trouble. Within the first 30 minutes I knew the Groom, he had shown me a multi-page article in a prominent newspaper about his life and rise to fame on the international scrabble circuit. So humble. It talked about his time spent at prestigious universities and his struggle for respect in a “thinking man’s sport” with such a clear “disability”. He has Cerebral Palsy.

He’s also a genius. And a jerk… in the best way possible. I suppose he had learned, as I had, that when people come after you and judge you for your physical differences… physical inadequacies… one of the best ways to get back is with your mind. Your wit. Your cutting, defensive sarcasm that keeps people far enough away to keep you safe and above the fray. We bonded over being smart, Jewish, and single. We bonded over how much we hated the bitches in Miami. We bonded over meals together and trips to the computer lab. He was a philosophy major who talked me in circles. I graduated at the end of that year, leaving the Groom to fight the forces of hell on his own.

We kept in touch off and on throughout the next year or two as I moved from Miami to Seattle and back to DC. In my dark moments, I could always rely on the Groom to remind me how feeble I was. How I missed out on the good stuff when I had refused to marry him. (He was far too short for my taste, after all.)

Then one day, he sent me yet another article that sung his praises. It talked about his time at college when he would hustle fellow students at pool, wipe the floor with them in ping pong. But it also recounted his anger at the world for trapping him in a body that was not the one deserved, the anger at his family and friends, the anger at himself. It talked about how he had become so defensive that he was alienating everyone around him, his sarcastic wit no longer an asset, but a derisive force in his life.

I was blinded by the realization that I had done the same thing. I was stuck in that place of anger at the world for treating me so unfairly. At my family for treating me as a second class child. At my job for treating me like a nuisance. At my wallet for being so empty despite working so hard. I was angry. Fucking angry. So I asked him….

“How did you stop being so angry?”

“I just let it go, Average Jane. You just have to let it go.”

The tears flowed hard, staining my cheeks, my shirt, my keyboard. “But how? How do I just let it go?”

“It’ll happen. One day. But you have to let it go.”

He was right. For years I had said “Fuck the world” but not done a thing with my “power”. Anger had become a crutch for me. It allowed me to stagnate under the guise that “everyone’s out to get me.” It was a wasteful emotion. So draining. So counter-productive. So selfish.

So I let it go. It. All of the “it’s”.

It was a turning point for me that I saw come full circle as I watched him standing there, glowing, crying, waiting for his angel to float down the aisle toward a life of happiness. The struggles would be the easy part. He had been struggling and overcoming his whole life. But as I stood there, so happy in myself, of myself… I didn’t cry. I glowed.

I was there alone but you wouldn’t have known. I was so happy to be there at the foot of this mountain, so aptly representative of the uphill climb marriage (and life) can be and will be. I didn’t shed one tear. The Groom and I had become new people over the time we knew each other and no amount of money or stress would have kept me away from seeing my big brother, my inspiration start his life, as I knew if he could overcome and find love, then surely I can, too.

Two Angels

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Comments

  1. * carrie m says:

    “I suppose he had learned, as I had, that when people come after you and judge you for your physical differences… physical inadequacies… one of the best ways to get back is with your mind. Your wit. Your cutting, defensive sarcasm that keeps people far enough away to keep you safe and above the fray.”

    Beautiful. And so true. All of it. This is why I really do listen to you (despite what you think most of the time!). Great post.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 11 months ago
  2. * matt says:

    peace be with you, as they say in catholic mass

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 11 months ago
  3. AJ… damn your writing talent… now I want to write too, and of course inspiration’s nowhere near, as usual… that was truly touching. You seem to do good at sorting your life out… keep on AJing…

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 11 months ago
  4. * Genevieve says:

    this is insanely beautiful and inspiring.

    having my cleft has made me extremely closed off, bitter, and angry at the world & the higher powers that be for how i was born, for how i was treated, etc.
    i used to say to myself that i was trash, that i was worthless all the time.

    i don’t know when it was but i think it was around the time i turned 20 and was seeing The Ex that i realised that i had been lying to myself the entire time. it was a huge deal for me and sometimes i still have to remind myself that i’m not worthless. i’m not hideous. i’m not trash.

    life is what you make it and it’s too much energy to be angry and bitter all the time. time to go with the flow and carry on; a stronger person than i was before.

    | Reply Posted 9 years, 11 months ago


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