Monday, April 27, 2015

Who is )en?

It's my birthday today so I thought I would blog about a favorite topic of mine: ME.  I think for much of my life I've had this overwhelming feeling or desire to be understood. It's probably a big reason why I love my blog. I love to write but I also love knowing that i'm throwing bits of me out to the universe here and there and have been for ten whole crazy years (happy anniversary, )enslog *heart*)  I can't vouch for everything I've published but as with all people I guess, we have to take the good with the bad. Making peace with this fact is a good goal, in all kinds of relationships.

This need to be understood isn't a weird thing; i'm sure most people feel this.  But it's such an amazing feeling knowing that people around you really know you. You've built up this little community that knows a bit of your background and history, actually likes to call you "friend," and this gives you comfort. You find that you can sit back and relax a bit, knowing that not every soul you encounter in the world, for every interaction, needs your life story as context.  When you take yourself out of the community and transplant in a new one, the threat of the intense need to be known can return.  So you find that, no matter the topic, you feel the need to lay out a few big identifiers when it comes to your personality, who you are, where you've been, what you can do. You offer too much backstory for the setting, over share, and delve into things too deeply, and everyone feels weird.

For example, I'm reminded of a conversation I had with a stranger who was telling me he'd just come from Dubai.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I blogged about it.  And as he went on to explain where that was located, I wanted to blurt out, "No, see, I looooove geography. When I was in 8th grade I kind of fell in love with it and memorized all the state capitals.  And I loooove maps. Want to see all the maps and atlases I own? You should come over sometime!!"  But I can't do that because that's crazy.  So instead I have to smile, let him tell me where it is, (because there's also the slight possibility that i actually don't know everything) and just begin again with everyone I meet.  This has been a new thing for me due to this recent move. One I sort of struggle with but am actually quite enjoying.   Starting again with brand new people and let things happen organically.  Putting my best, coolest, funniest foot forward but letting the nature of relationships take its crazy and unknown course.  Let things unfold as they come.  Let others get to know me however it's to happen and make their own judgments however they choose.  It has made me a tad more aware of how I come across at first which, in case you're curious, if I would venture to guess would be as follows:

Calm, a little quiet, maybe a little cold, or at least subdued. Reserved? I can turn it on if need be but I find that I take my time testing the environmental waters, gauging my place and potential as a piece of the action.   I generally have trouble hiding my emotions so if I'm not feeling it that day, i have a hard time to muster up any facade of any kind.  However, if we engage in an interesting or lively or funny conversation, I am delighted in this and you will probably know it before the minute is over.  I also find that I am a bit stubborn in putting myself out there.  I do believe that when you're new, it's mostly up to you to get yourself known and this does require extra effort.  But I also fear slipping into some kind of easy, surfacey and rather empty conversation just for the sake of appearing friendly, say. So if it's really nothing I can contribute to, I'll probably keep pretty quiet and this could be misinterpreted. Or not. Who knows? But I find that I can basically never, ever be anything other than me. I really struggle with falsehood.

I also think sometimes people don't know what to do with me. Because I don't have much of a filter when it comes to social interactions, I could spout out things that are really funny to me but things you may need some context for, like the rest of the joke that still resides in my brain.  I do think I'm good-natured and quick to laugh but I can also come off as dry-humored, subtle.  I think people hear things I say and don't know what to do with them. Deep down I know that any normal person would and that I should give them more cues but again, this goes along with me being stubborn, secretly feeling that if people really wanted it, they'd work for it. And I guess it's about preserving the integrity. The integrity of the joke, humor, my overall being.  But on the other hand, being warm and friendly and helping people to feel comfortable in a conversation with you goes a long way, too. 

I recently participated in a Speed Friendshipping game, where you sit face-to-face with someone and have one minute to talk about a single topic before one row moves down a spot and you have a new person to meet and talk to.  One of the questions asked was, 

"Would you rather always only speak in a whisper or always shout?"  

While I mulled this over, my partner said she'd choose shout. When I asked why she said "because I want to be heard."  I considered this a minute and then said,  "that's a good point. I don't know why but I think I choose whisper."  She then said something to the effect of no one will care if they can't hear you,  and I said, "I disagree. I think if they really wanted to, they could try. And you'd know those people are special, because they specifically sought you out."  This could have gone on as a really interesting debate for me but, given that our minute was up and my partner was thirteen, it didn't happen. But i've thought a lot about it and now toss it out into the internets for you to ponder as well.  Interesting, right? Aside from being really funny, picturing having to shout typically embarrassing or discretion-begging content (because you HAVE to always do it. Rule #1 with Would You Rather!)

That got off track a bit but what's new, amiright? But I have sort of made it a new goal for me, to begin again with everyone I meet.  Suppress that weird desire to be immediately, instantly understood and known and let it just happen piecemeal, slowly building upon every time we meet until one day you're like, hey, we're friends!  Best ever. 

Happy ten years. Thanks for reading, friends. xo



Joel said...

Happy birthday! Happy Blogday!

)en said...

thanks, joel. :D

Alanna said...

I loved this. I will have to remember this before our upcoming move. I know I tend to walk around spouting things about myself to show people how interesting I am (I went to Africa! I have a master's degree!), like I'm trying to give everyone my resume in bullet points or something. And really, that's kind of pathetic. I need to let these things come up organically in the conversation.

I should re-read this before my first Sunday in the new ward...

)en said...

You're moving eh? Where to? Moving is crazy. Crazy crazy beans.