Feeling like an Outsider

A couple weeks before we left the states I had a little get together with some friends.  These friends are my “real” people and when someone asked what I was most nervous about I skipped the “finding a place to live” and went to straight to my real fear.  

“I’m afraid of feeling like an outsider.” 

We’ve been here three months now and so far I hadn’t really felt like an outsider.  Of course I have my moments of feeling so American, feeling like a stranger in this land, but never on a personal level.  On Friday night Richard had a work related dinner/event for a “going away” party and I was invited.  The email said “smart casual” for dress but I had no idea what that meant.  In the states I’m used to Richard’s dinner things and I have a good idea of what people are going to wear when the dress code is formal or casual or semi-formal.  But I had no context for this so I just made my best guess, and then changed twice after that.  I was so nervous. 

The venue was in Kensington and I was excited to see it, I knew it would be lovely.  We took the train and walked to the restaurant.  We walked through the doors and checked in with the concierge who told us which floor we were on and pointed toward the lift.  

On the lift my heart started to race and I started to panic.  There were three women on the lift with us, two younger twenty-somethings and a middle aged women.  They were dressed to the nines in slinky, fleshy outfits with jewelry the likes of which I’ve never seen, much less owned.  I felt so awkward, so homely and peasantly and under dressed.  As we walked out onto the roof top terrace I wanted to cry.  I bit my lip hard and considered walking out.  I really can’t remember feeling so inadequate and inferior. 

“I don’t belong here!” I whispered to Richard in desperation. He gave me a quick pep talk, refused to let me leave and started to introduce me to his coworkers. I piggy-backed on his confidence for the first bit and then I started to relax and get a grip on myself. 

The party turned out really fantastic.  None of the women from the elevator were part of the KPMG group, and I felt a little less ridiculous with them.  The restaurant was on the roof top of the building and was designed in a Spanish Garden motif.  The flowers, plants, shrubs were gorgeous and there was a lounge area where they served champagne and it had dark red curtains with dim lighting and cush pillows and sofas to sit on.  Richard’s coworkers and their partners were so friendly and kind, and all asked about our transition here.  The food and ambiance were wonderful, and there was a small Italian band that played and sang live music.  I made a comment about how animated they were while they sang, and someone said “That’s Italians for you!”  

We left the party a bit before midnight and the restaurant/club was just coming to life.  The young and single Chelsea elites were swarming and as we left I saw the line to get into the place extend halfway down the block.  At midnight! The night-life in London is another world I tell ya. 

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I don’t know why women can be so insecure, why I was so quick to doubt myself and my “worthiness” of being at a place like that.  It was really an awful feeling and it almost makes me angry at myself for being so timid and ashamed.   I am enough.  That’s my mantra.  If I was the tattooing type I think that’s what I’d get, inked across my wrist for crisis moments when my self-confidence is faltering and feelings of inadequacy overtake me. 

You’re enough too.  Just sayin’.  Because if I am, you are.  And even if I have this blog where I can post these neat adventures I am no more than you.  They are just neat adventures and I’m just another person yearning for love and acceptance.  

6 thoughts on “Feeling like an Outsider

  1. Jo, I love this peice! I love your writing style. It makes me miss you. You have a gift for making people feel comfortable, for sending the message that they are enough.

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  2. I love you. And you are more than enough. 🙂 I’ve been in the same position as you. And I left a party mad at myself too. The older I get the more comfortable I am with myself, but I wonder how old I will have to be to get past the fear of presenting myself to others.
    I so wish we could be having this conversation in person. You are very missed.

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  3. Times like that are so tough and I hate that we get so down on ourselves. It’s in our nature I guess. I sometimes think it would be nice to wear a little black dress with stylish heals and amazing jewerely. But then I think that’s not me and I wouldn’t feel any more comfortable then I am now. Your right we are enough! Thanks for sharing.

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  4. I wanted to talk to you about this after I got your vox(?) and I still do, but I just want to say after reading this that I love Richard and I love Richard for you.

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  5. Jo I have always felt that you were special and your blog proves it every time. You are definitely enough and I can’t tell you how many times I feel that way. Thank you for sharing your thoughts it is such a good thing to remember about ourselves. We should never let others make us feel inferior. But sometimes we do. By the way you and Richard look great😀

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