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Life is Not a Test

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Once when I was at Wal-Mart I came across this Filipino cashier. She was excited to see me because there aren’t a lot of Filipinos where I live. So instead of speedily checking me out with as few words as possible, she asked me a bunch of personal questions. Which was a little awkward and probably annoyed the people behind me. But I still tried to answer all of her questions to the best of my ability.

Are you married? Dating someone? Do you have kids? A pet? She became more distraught with every “no” answer. I tried to make light of the situation. I have some plants, and I’m barely keeping them alive. That’s enough of a challenge for me. (Which is true, by the way. I don’t get much light in my place.) She didn’t seem reassured.

After I left Wal-Mart, I sat in the car for a few minutes, trying to think of how I could turn this blow to my ego into a blog post. I couldn’t think of anything at the time. It still hit too close to home.

In my defense, I tried to get the answers right. I got married. I tried to have kids. It’s not completely my fault that my marriages didn’t work out. And it’s definitely not my fault that I didn’t get pregnant. And I didn’t know I was supposed to get a pet if I’m alone. That was not in the study guide.

But to be honest, this is where I want to be. When I was in high school, I said I didn’t want to get married or have kids, but no one believed me. You’re just saying that. You’ll change your mind when you get older. You don’t want to be an old maid, do you?

I took their word for it and did what I was supposed to do. But maybe things haven’t worked out because I did know what I wanted back then, even though I was just a kid. I mean, I knew I wanted to be a psychologist and a writer back then, and those things are still true.

Since the Wal-Mart incident, I’ve gotten better at embracing the fact that the answers to my life make small talk awkward. I tell myself it’s OK. That life is not a test where there are right or wrong answers. So in the spirit of embracing who I am, here are 10 things that I’m taking off my wrong answer list:

1. I still love the song “Let it Go.”

2. I’m not a cat or a dog person. Or an animal person.

3. I bring my karaoke machine to potlucks instead of cooking something.

4. I don’t drink.

5. I count when I pee.

6. I don’t follow most of the advice on how to get your blog noticed.

7. I live my life more like a college student than an adult.

8. I’ve had two divorces.

9. I use an astounding amount of sweetener in my coffee.

10. I don’t change my sheets often enough.

If you have items you’d like to take off your wrong list, I’d love to hear them. It would help me feel more normal.

About Christy Barongan

I didn't know it at the time, but I wanted to be a psychologist so that I could figure out how to be normal. I think many people come to counseling for the same reason. What I've come to learn is that feeling good about myself is not about trying to be normal. It's about trying to be me. But it's a constant struggle for me, just like it is for everyone else. So I thought I would approach this task with openness and honesty and use myself as an example for how to practice self-acceptance.

16 responses »

  1. inspiredbybooks

    I especially like numbers 1, 6 & 9, because, me too! I guess one thing I would add is, I hate Facebook. A lot. Even though many of my friends love it and bloggers are supposed to love it.

    Liked by 1 person

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  2. I don’t drink alcohol either.

    I’m happily childless.

    I’m not a religious person.

    I’m indifferent to organized sports.

    I’m oblivious to the vast majority of fashion trends.

    I think fruits and vegetables taste much better than meat. (Although I’m not vegan! I just prefer the taste of plants to animals).

    Liked by 2 people

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  3. I’m with you, on #s 2,4.6 and 10, Christy. And frankly, you sound more interesting to me than others with a long list of ‘right’ answers. (Funny Walmart story though. I can just imagine the face of that Filipino cashier. Sometimes, I get scared too when I suspect that someone’s a Filipino precisely because of that…too many intrusive questions, hahaha!). Here’s a few of mine:

    I’m scared of driving to unfamiliar places / hate to drive.

    I’m afraid of social situations, generally, esp. when I know I don’t know anyone at the event.

    I’m a control freak.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. I have my share of weirdness and stuff I do that some people will think is strange. It’s not anybody’s business unless I choose to share it. When people question me, I often lie. My lies can be quite amusing. At least they amuse me. And it’s my sisters who tend to question me. If I’m not in the mood to invent a lie, I have no probably ignoring the question or saying, It’s none of your business/I don’t care to discuss it, or I simply remain silent.

    Love,
    Janie

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  5. OMG!!! THIS IS SOOOO SPOT ON! I agree with the first 7 because I relate to them, except I don’t have a karaoke machine and neither am I a psychologist. But I have always said am happy to not get married and just be alone because I hate the hassle that comes with being in a family and having to deal with people.

    I have broken up with all my boyfriends. I believe there are only a certain number of people you can’t get rid of in your life and they are a handful already. Why add a complete stranger who makes you feel miserable simply because you hope one day he’ll be better and will treat you right?

    I am so happy not getting married, and i have been told that is going to change when I grow up, am 24. How older do I need to get? Honestly, I wouldn’t mind getting married, but when I envision my future, there is no husband or children in it (Honestly, i dislike children). Thank you for this article.

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. So I went to Wal-Mart today and guess who I saw? I had a feeling I might run into her since I just wrote a blog post about her! No personal questions today. But she did remember my name and remembered that I have a 45 minute commute every day. So that’s pretty cool.

    Liked by 1 person

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  7. plaguedparents

    I think you are just as ‘normal’ as the rest of us…not sure if that’s that big of a consolation though! lol

    Liked by 1 person

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  8. I knew I didn’t want children. And I was at peace with my decision from the get-go but
    1. I am obsessed with cleanliness and I need towels folded a certain way
    2. I am often happier in the company of dogs than humans
    3. I despise cilantro (and if you live in California, it’s a hard one to avoid)
    4. I tend to speak before thinking, with often dire consequences
    I could go on…

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  9. Pingback: In This Moment | Normal in Training

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