Fourth of July in Manley sounded great. A change of scenery and a much needed get away from all the day-t0-day stresses of being 6 months pregnant. My family always has an amazing time down there. We laugh, we eat hot dogs, and we enjoy the comforts of being without cell service. The town square hosts a full afternoon of games for children and adults, alike. It really is a good day; one full of family and fun.
The only problem was, I was asked not to attend this years trip to Manley.
My boyfriend and I had already talked about all the finite details. What time we’d leave, who would pack what, when we’d come home, etc. But three days before the 4th of July, he got a call requesting that he not bring me.
As an emotional, pregnant women, my heart sank. I’d already spent the better half of the week crying because I felt alone, like no one cared about me. I was counting on this trip to pull me out of my hormonal-funk. Hearing I’d have to spend the holiday… alone, was icing on the cake. But then I realized, maybe I’m not alone. Maybe there are others, like me, who have been excluded from family functions. Maybe we did something to deserve this, or maybe we were just a victim of circumstance. In any case, it kinda sucks. It reminds me of being in sixth grade and finding out all of your best friends are going to Sarah’s sleepover- except for whatever reason your invite never quite made it’s way into your school mailbox. (darn it!)
Sometimes there’s a reason; and other time’s there’s not. And even if you were given a reason, you might not always agree with it. But as a guest- it’s up to you to be respectful of the host’s wishes. Whether you know exactly why you won’t be in attendance, or maybe you’re completely thrown off guard, there is definitely an art to being left out. I’m sorry to tell you, it doesn’t involve crashing the party or harboring resentment. That would be the easy thing to do, but trust me, negative energy doesn’t look good on anyone. No matter how cute your sunglasses are! The art of being left out involves holding your head high, being true to who you are, and getting even by having an even greater time doing things with people who value your presence.
I know it’s not easy, but I promise- taking the high road will always be worth something in my book. So, put on your best sunnies because we are looking at the bright side!
Here are few steps to help ease the blow of being excluded.
Are you healthy? Do you have friends and family that care about you? Does being excluded from one tiny party change any of those things? Of course, not. So what are you worried about? In a perfect world, everyone would get along. And everyone would be included. However, that’s not always reality. Life is messy, so just remember- people have to make decisions for themselves, and it’s usually whats best for them, in that moment. You can’t control others choices, nor is that a burden anyone should wish for. I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt because it does. Just like being chosen last for recess doesn’t feel good, being told you shouldn’t come to an event feels… well it feels disheartening. That’s why it’s important to keep things in perspective. By seeing the bigger picture, separate from yourself, you can limit any time wasting activities (ahem, negative thoughts!) that aren’t really worth your energy. And honestly- Do you really want to go to an event where you aren’t welcome? Probably, not.
Whether your invitation was revoked or never arrived at all, emotions of inadequacy are going to creep up. We’re human; we take things personal. We have these stupid little creatures inside of us, called feelings. Questions like, why am I not good enough? Should I be upset? These feelings are going to come up and it’s up to you on how to deal with them. Maybe your initial reaction is to act out in anger or if you’re like me, put your walls up. Instead, try talking to a friend or someone you trust. Talking to someone who has gone through a similar situation can be a great shoulder to lean on. Expressing your feelings to someone close to you can save you from acting out and potentially making the situation worse. It will help you gain another perspective/opinion, and sometimes you really just need someone to listen.
What’s great about life is that you don’t have to live it in the past. Yes, it happened. My in-laws (to be) felt it would be best if I didn’t attend their family’s 4th of July. Is that going to stop me from being the same, positive-minded, happy person I was before this entire fireworks show started? Absolutely, not. If anything, it’s challenged me to be true to myself. It’s one thing to think you know how you’ll act in a difficult situation. And it’s another to see how you truly respond. Sure, there’s plenty be upset about. But there’s so much more to be happy and thankful for. Focus on that, move on, and I think you’ll be just fine.
This may sound corny, but never let anyone dull your shine. If there are 5 people who would rather you not attend their party, I can guarantee you there are 10 more who are just waiting to hang out with you. Spend your time with people who bring out the best in you. Reach out to old friends, make plans and do something on the day of event. The worst thing you can do is sit at home and let all the fun happen around you. Get out there, and have fun regardless!