I pride myself on being a well-rounded person. I love to keep up with pop culture, discuss current events, and stay abreast of trends both in the mainstream and underground cultures. My friend group is diverse in every sense of the word, and I recognize all of my and others’ various privileges. It’s safe to say that I could get along with anyone. But recently, I had an experience that shook me to my core and had me rethinking my very identity. Among a group of who I thought were my peers, I came off as completely unrelatable.
It all happened so quickly. I was shooting the breeze with some workmates, talking about good restaurants in the area and what we’d get for lunch that day. I mentioned in passing how, lots of days, I’d get home from work and realize that I’d forgotten to eat that day. That’s when our conversation came to a screeching halt. Everyone looked at me like I had five heads. Apparently, forgetting to eat is not something that the average person does – not even my coworker who is a little bit weird. I was mortified. How could I have been so unrelatable?
The mental gymnastics I performed next made it so much worse. But I had a call! But I had a big breakfast! But I had back to back meetings! Everything excuse I gave was in vain: No one had any understanding or empathy for my unrelatable ass. No one knew what it was like to have an afternoon meal slip your mind. I was a lunch-forgetting leper, cast away to the colony of the people who say things that aren’t relatable to you.
The whole situation sent me spiraling. What did my coworkers think of me now? That I was some wipsy, lithe being who only photosynthesizes and is repulsed by their functioning, needing-to-eat human bodies? It also got me thinking of what else I could possibly do or think that is unrelatable. Does everyone remember the names of everyone they’ve ever made out with? Is my whale phobia something that other people have experienced? Have I ever even met another Liza? My whole life crumbled before my very eyes. By the end of it, I couldn’t even relate to myself.
Readers, heed my warning. If ever you’re trying to relate to a mixed crowd, stick with the easy stuff. Run something by a close and trusted friend. Or just keep your mouth shut. Don’t be me. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go make a few laps around the office with my Sweetgreen salad. They need to know I’m still one of them.