I can’t believe I’m sitting here again filled with anger and fury… like an ugly monster is about to lurch from my stomach and puke all over me and my computer. When will this torture end? How will my relationship endure this bullsh** every year when summer rolls around?
I’ve been dating a really great guy for the past several years. He’s divorced. I’m a widow. He’s Midwest Baptist and I’m East coast Jew. And while he tends to be non-confrontational, my emotions are, shall we say, a little more colorful. I don’t have a problem with raised voices to get a point across. He’s a fan of balanced vocal levels.
Did I mention my guy is an audio engineer? One of his clients is a world-famous musician. Let’s call him Pablo.
Pablo and my guy have worked together for decades and have developed a close personal and professional relationship.
For all the years my guy and I have been together, he’s been invited to Pablo’s vacation home for a weeklong retreat every summer… and I’m not.
“We need to work a little harder so these people get to know how great you are.”
Throughout the year, I make every effort to show up to dinners, parties, concerts…and I’m not even a fan of this guy’s music. Suffice it to say, I work my tail off to get on that frigging guest list!
Last spring, my guy and I were sitting at our favorite neighborhood bistro, enjoying a glass of wine. I heard his phone buzz and saw him look down at the screen. His brow furrowed as he handed the phone to me.
“She seems nice but we still don’t know her very well.”
“We agonize over the guest list every year.”
It hit me, hard. I wasn’t getting an invite, again. I had a big “L for Loser” stamped on my forehead, probably forever.
There was a heavy, awkward silence. I was waiting for my guy to prove his commitment to me by uttering three little words.
“I’m not going.”
I’m so conflicted. On the one hand, I don’t want to be a total bit** who deprives my love of a week in paradise.
On the other, I’ve spent years becoming the strong, confident woman I consider myself to be. Am I supposed to suddenly morph into a subservient little miss who keeps her mouth shut? Am I supposed to stand here like a human punching bag and take this rejection, dignity be damned?
No! I’ll never take this lying down!
Take a breath. Stay calm. Reject the hurt of exclusion and focus on the joy of inclusion.
Oh, if only life were so easy.
— Susan Berin
After spending more than two decades writing and producing shows for cable television, Susan Berin now focuses her writing on the complexities of life from the perspective of a widowed mother of twin daughters. Her work has been published in medium.com and she recently performed in Heart. Soul. Pen. Live! at a theater near her home in Los Angeles.