Pretending To Be Evelyn
Some people go to priests, others to poetry, I to my friends.” Virginia Woolf
I’m at a point in my life where I am trying to work on myself – to not keep making the same mistakes, to be kinder, more confident, fearless, and to work out my tangled relationships. I have observed some of my behaviors that have persisted for long periods of time. I believe that“ is just the way I am.”
This is where my friend Evelyn comes in. Pretending to be Evelyn in certain situations helps me to behave with a new perspective. I am not trying to copy Evelyn. it is more about stepping outside my current self image. What does she do that is different from me? How can I learn to do this?
We start modeling our behavior based on what we see from others when we are very young. It’s a fundamental way our brains work and how they learn to adapt to our environment and social circle. I know there are certain habits I’ve developed from my parents and certain phrases I have picked up from my friends.
Evelyn is great in social situations and parties. She introduces herself and is interested in meeting everyone. I prefer to sit in a corner with the one person that I know.
The boyfriend wanted to bring me to a party at his ex-wife’s house. I was nervous and felt that everyone there would be judging me. My sit in the corner routine was not going to work since it turned out that he was cooking. It was either going to be pretend to be sick or pretend to be Evelyn. As a grownup now, I went with the second choice. I introduced myself to anyone who walked by me which is so not my thing but it worked. I had people to talk to while he barbecued and his ex wife thought that I was “lovely”.
Being Evelyn is now my go to party persona. It makes it much easier to go into social situations when I don’t know people. Being Evelyn is an effective way of seeing myself in a new light.
I’m a grudge holder. It is hard for me to let go of anger. Evelyn who has been through illness and loss is the opposite. “Let it go”, is her motto. There is nothing worse than trying to explain to her why I am mad at someone. She hates conflict. Her response is, “It is always best to be easy-going and do what is right in life. Life is hard enough so you don’t need to make it any harder.” I am a work in progress.
Friends are supposed to build you up and make you a better person. They are the people who help you push your boundaries and grow and you are supposed to do the same for them. Evelyn is that kind of friend. At this point in my life, I am trying to only have friends like this. I am grateful for all of them.