2001-06-14 - 1:59 p.m.
My fortune cookie last night said, “You are compassionate and understanding.” Rob looked at me from across the table and grinned. Not too long ago, he said that I was the O negative blood type of people, the universal donor. I was flattered at first, and then a little worried. O negs are never the life of the party, the person everyone wants to see. O negs don’t plan things, or bring groups of people together. O negs assume that everyone’s too busy anyway, and scurry off to the movie theater all by themselves, changing seats three times to ensure an unobstructed view. O negs always say the right things, but never more than that. They don’t engage people in conversation, or make people think. O negs make other people feel good about themselves; they agree with everything that is said around them, they qualify every sentence that comes out of their mouth with “maybe” and “I guess” and “sorta.” They always say, “I can see your point.”
I’m a middle child. Older brother, two and a half younger sisters, twice-divorced parents (to each other). I’ve spent my whole life negotiating and compromising and trying to make everyone happy. Sometimes it worked, and sometimes it didn’t, and sometimes I would run to my room crying, stomach aching, anxiety washing all over me. When I graduated from college, I went to Europe for a year, on a work abroad permit. The moment the plane landed at London’s Gatwick Airport, I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. For the first time in my life, I only had to worry about myself. It was quite easy.
Now I live, quite randomly, in Austin, Texas, halfway across the country from everyone I know and love. I miss my family, but it is easier to love them from a distance. My life is saner, and sometimes I even rebel against my O neg personality. The smartass comments, usually said under my breath, are a little louder and more frequent, although rarely hurtful and cruel. Sometimes I tell the stories, or give the opinions, and make everyone else listen. Occasionally, I’ll contradict or disagree, but always hesitantly, my head half turned over my shoulder, waiting to be put in my place, to apologize once again, to take it all back.