Thursday, June 22, 2017

40 Something, Introverted Mom

Look, Socializing wears me out.

I mean, I like people, I just don't have the energy for 'peopling'. You get me?


Mr. TheZoo, he has a hard time meeting new people, but he draws energy from big social situations. Concerts, carnivals, rallies, car races. The noisier and more chaotic, the better. His smile gets bigger, his voice gets louder, his energy spikes.

Me, not so much.

These situations suck the energy out of me in seconds. If it's something that I truly desire to be involved in, I can prepare myself ahead of time to rally for a longer amount of time. It usually means that I'm not making much conversation, or that I'm holding my arms close to myself. I might cringe at loud close up loudness, or a major change in plan.

I'm depleted pretty quickly. If there's a way to sort of recharge,  and then rejoin, I will do that. If there's a quiet space someplace. Maybe it's not too difficult to go sit in the car for 20 minutes, or maybe the bathroom is nice and not to crowded. Maybe there's a shadowy corner that everyone else is avoiding, I can sit there and scroll through nothing on my phone, just to rebuild the energy that is required to do this crowded, chaotic, loud thing.

Oh, this isn't just rock concerts and Disneyland. This is highschool graduations. This is grocery shopping on a Saturday afternoon, This is church on Sunday mornings.

I've been around long enough to recognize what is happening and how to cope. I also know how to rally when I can't leave a situation, for the most part.

I might sit in the back, and appear anti-social. I guess I am, but it's more about having no social energy left.  I will still smile, and speak to anyone that speaks to me, but for the moment, I won't be seeking people out. If I do, I won't have anything to say, because, here's a weird one...small talk hurts my chest.

Meaningless chatter, conversations that last for 20 minutes about nothing but weather. It's painful! I get that we aren't revealing our deepest thoughts to strangers. That would be weird, too. But "Hi! So, how about those *whatever the current local sportsing thing is*?" just isn't my jam.

I don't really understand how to carry on small talk. Sarcasm, puns and humor to displace stress. That I can do. I'll stand there and poke fun at just about anything, rather than review the weather yet again. I'll even make fun of the weather. Or the weather apps, or weather forecasters, or even people that small talk about the weather.

I've been told that I'm fun to be around. I don't always see that. With people I know well, sure. I mean, we have time and familiarity on our side. With new people, though, I'm afraid that most of the time, they walk away shaking their heads, wondering what is wrong with that woman? She's a grown up for heaven's sake, and has kids! How do her children survive?!?!?!

Truth is, they've also learned sarcasm, puns, and humor to displace stress. They are very good at it. You could say it's their first language.

Of course, I've had to 'grow-up'. I hate that phrase in regard to this sort of thing, but it truly is the best way to describe it.

When my children need me to advocate for them, I step up. This means that I need to introduce myself to people, seek people out, ask questions, and have uncomfortable conversations.  I do it.

I take a deep breath, I ask Jesus to send the Holy Spirit to guide me, because there is no way in Lucifer's Fiery Afterlife that I could do it on my own. And I get to it. I HAVE learned how to do small talk, to some extent. I still don't like it, and it still takes quite a lot out of me.

Have you seen those movies and television shows that depict an empath character? Usually it's some awful tale about fairy tale type characters, or people with super or special powers. The empath feels what everyone around them feels, and often it's overpowering, and the empath character passes out, or lapses into a coma after feeling too much.

That's obviously melodramatic, but it is a decent attempt to depict a real thing.

I have a gift of empathy. That doesn't really mean that I channel the feelings of everyone around me. It means that I can often tell things about people that I am talking to. I can sometimes discern if a person is lying, or hurting, especially.  I can often tell if someone isn't who they are presenting themselves to be. Of course, I do that. I present myself as energetic, perhaps even bubbly. Maybe you've met me as confident.  I am not naturally any of those things. I can be those things temporarily.

It takes a lot of energy to either ignore a discernment, or to hold on to it until later. Depending on the situation, I might not do a thing with a discernment. Probably, I'll never meet that person again. But. What if I do? What then?

The whole discernment about people thing is another topic all together. More on that later, probably.

So, I sit in the back. I find a quiet place. I wait until someone speaks to me.

Or, I find a way to cancel.

Maybe we could just get together for coffee. You know fewer than 10 people that I already know, in a familiar place. That would be nice.

You in?




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1 comment:

Mollie Ziegler said...

I loved reading this! You are a great writer, and I have loved getting to know you through your writing. Please keep it up!