Friday, September 11, 2009


Wow! I forgot about writing my blog until today. It has been a very power packed week. In my adult life I have given the least amount of sustained attention to socializing and community. Socializing didn't come easily. When I first started going to parties I would concentrate on the food and stuff myself to allay my anxiety. When I was in my twenties and thirties I created an alter ego who I would send to parties. I called her Suzy Creamcheese. I would set aside my fears and present the persona of Suzy, the outgoing animated person I thought I should be. The problem was in pretending to be Suzy, I left myself and often felt very drained. As I've grown more comfortable with myself , I have grown more comfortable with socializing. Small talk is very challenging and I'm not naturally good at it. It's hard for me to think of what to say to a person that's deliberately superficial. I have recognized over the years that it's rarely appropriate to start discussing spiritual philosophy with a stranger and have learned the value of starting a conversation with a warm up. After I let go of Suzy, I rarely went to parties for many years. I mostly stopped getting invited. In the last few years I have been getting interested in being more social. I at least wanted to be comfortable enough at a party to have a choice whether to attend or not. So, I created my perfect party rule.
I would go to a party and have a meaningful one to one conversation with one person.( One to one is always easier for me because I am an introvert.)I would do this by asking questions I cared about the answers to, listening attentively and then being as authentic as I felt safe to be with what I shared. Than I was free to go. Several times I went and fulfilled my intention and left. Several times I fulfilled my intention and decided I was comfortable enough to stay longer.
So this is why I forgot to write my blog. My dear friend Lynne was in town from Austin with her new fiance Patrick. Gary and I and the two of them went up to our friends Linza and Eric's house in the mountains for the weekend. It was a big deal for both Gary and I to do this because neither one of us is very comfortable in groups. This group seemed more like a community because I felt more comfortable being myself. It was fun to cook meals together and go hiking. I have rarely experienced being at ease with five other people all of whom I enjoyed spending time with. Then Lynne and Patrick came down to my house and stayed until this afternoon. It was challenging because I was working in the midst of it all. It was also satisfying to practice taking care of myself and noticing when I didn't. One day I was having a conversation with them and didn't give myself time to eat breakfast. I got to see once again how irritable I am when my blood sugar gets low. It definitely isn't pretty. I learned a lot about my difficulty in asking for what I want and need especially when I have people staying in my house. By the time they left I was better at being centered and being close to them at the same time. I carved out some time alone and that helped too. I am glad they were here and glad they are gone. I am learning the importance of healthy boundaries. The alternative is to lose myself and then feel resentful-not a very attractive alternative. I am grateful to have friends I love with whom I can be real and grow. Where are you with socializing? How could you make it easier for yourself if you are drawn to do it and it is challenging?

No comments: