What is up with me?

Does anyone else ever ask themselves that?  What is UP with me?  It seems I’ve spent most of my 31 years chiseling away at this little comfort bubble that surrounds me.  I’m comfortable at home, with my family, with myself…but not with much else.  I suppose it’s just the personality that I’ve been given–I’m an introvert.  I’ve never been much on speaking in front of others, and I find myself on some days not wanting to speak much at all.  But, it comes and goes.  Most of the time, I can muddle through being a sociable person and no one really notices.  It’s an act I’ve perfected in the last 12 years or so since high school.  Then, I was the quiet girl.  I hated that, so I vowed to make a new start and a new me.  I think I did pretty well.  I can make friends and be in a group…and with no time or money spent on counseling (ha ha).

It’s on those days that it “goes” that I’m asking myself that ever-so-serious question: Mandi, really, what is UP with you?  Take for example, a little outing that I went on last week.  Each Wednesday morning I take Carter to a playdate with some other kids his age.  It gives him the chance to be around other children to develop some social awareness and it gives me a chance to get out of these four walls and talk to other moms who are going through the same life issues that I am.  Most weeks, I LOVE it.  I like these people and we have a lot in common.  But this week I don’t know what was going on.  It seemed like every word that came out of my mouth was so completely random and without much merit.  And, I could hear myself from inside my head with this annoying little echo.  Talking seemed so out of place on this day.  I tried to coach myself from the inside: “Come on Mandi–say something intelligent or halfway interesting”, “Why don’t you try smiling”, “You’re not being very perky–perk up, girl!”  But I was stuck inside awkwardness and self-consciousness and childishness.  Honestly, I think GROW UP and SUCK IT UP.  I’m afraid it usually just comes across as my being snobby or uninterested, but that’s not the case.
It is sadness that brings these days of inner quiet on?  I don’t think so.  I don’t feel sad.  I really am so happy with my life on most days.  In thinking about it over the last few days, I think it’s just who I am.  Not everyone can be the life of the party and some of us are just meant to listen sometimes.  I’m ok with that.  
At least I think I’m fooling most everyone.  I’ve tried to tell some people that I’m really pretty shy and quiet.  They think that isn’t possible for a teacher.  Teaching is different, though.  I relate it much to an actor on a stage.  When I teach in front of a room filled with children and their little eyes and their little ears absorbing it all, I’m acting out a role in my life.  When I have on that hat, my voice is different.  I can sing, dance, act silly, read with feeling, talk intelligently (usually), show affection and emotion.  Maybe I just need to learn to translate that into other areas of life.  As my friend Robin says, “Just do it on behalf of yourself”
On a not totally separate subject, what is UP with people who feel the need to spill their entire lives and deepest secrets upon first meeting?  I guess I, of all people, just DO NOT get that.  I mean, don’t you have some veil of intimacy that we need to get past as friends to be able to spill some of that stuff?  I’m sure I feel that way because whenever I get to the point that I feel I can talk about myself on a personal level to someone, I always feel somewhat guilty afterwords.  Did they really want to know all that?  Am I forcing them to carry a burden of knowledge that they weren’t ready or willing to take on?  
Ah, it’s like another job to me–something I have to work at every day.  Relationships, conversations, connecting, friendships–all work, but all definitely worth the trouble.  
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3 responses to “What is up with me?

  • Making Connections « The Mind of Mandi

    […] looked back and thought back about some posts from the beginning of this blog and I realized how tough it was for me to get out there and actually interact with […]

  • mindofmandi

    This is why I love writing and reading blogs. Sometimes I almost feeling like I’m spying on other people’s lives. But, it is SO refreshing and liberating to read my thoughts coming from someone else. It brings a sense of “Whew…I’m normal” So, thanks for being like me and for saying so.

  • Sarah

    When I read this post, it was like you plucked thoughts out of my head. Me too, me too. The awkwardness, the panicky feeling of “what do I say next?”, the anxiety of strained silences.

    And oversharing – ME TOO. When I tell someone too much, I feel stressed, vulnerable, regretful that I opened my mouth. I think that’s why I write so much… it’s more like talking to myself than someone else.

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