Questions from Strangers
I got invited out for drinks the other night with a few of my friends from college. During the course of the night we met up with some of my friend Chris’ colleagues. Chris is an incredible person who is more excited about your victories than you are, and he so sweetly introduced me as his friend the author who is having a book published in a few weeks. The question that comes next is one that I am delighted by and dread in equal measure.
"What kind of a book is it?"
I try to fight my embarrassment while saying that I wrote a memoir, because what is douchier than a person writing 300 pages about themselves after they haven’t even been on the earth for 40 years? Nothing, you guys, there is nothing douchier than that.
Then they ask what the title is, and I tell them How to Get Run Over by a Truck – and as I look into their confused and interested faces, I usually follow up with, “because I was run over by an 18 wheel truck a few years ago,” and then I watch as the puzzle pieces in their mind come together.
"Yes," I nod "that actually happened to me, and I know its super weird. It is even more confusing because I look totally normal."
There is is usually an awkward pause or two, and then I get asked some of the best and most intimate questions that have ever ben posed to me.
I completely understand why the questions get so deep so quickly. I mean, I was the one who wrote down the most horrific moments of her life into a book for public consumption. I chose that, who wouldn’t want to ask questions?!
I want to welcome people into my experience, without awkwardness. Which is made much simpler by the fact that just looking at me you would have no idea that this happened to me. I look like every other person you'd see on the subway, but with an uncharacteristic smile for a New Yorker, a very slight limp and I have a tendency to dance to myself when the song coming through my headphones is particularly awesome. It is a shock to everyone who meets me that this could have happened – I seem so normal. It feels like I could be you, because in truth, I am you.
We all have these horrible heartbreaking moments, that can run right up to moment where we are laughing until we cry. Some days we meet people who strip us of our humanity, and in the next ten minutes we run into someone who makes us feel like the most important person in the whole world. Our lives are a mishmash of all of these beautiful terrible moments, that can run us over like a MAC truck.
I speak about what happened to me because there are people who need to hear it. People who are knee deep in the ugly part and they want to be reminded that at some point soon, they will laugh again. And you might feel weird, or even a little bit bad about it – but you aren’t alone in that moment. I’ve been there too. And honestly, I’m happy to talk about it. You can ask me any question that you want.