I’ve never been the most sociable person, mainly due to my shyness and low self-esteem. It’s actually quite curious, because some recent conversations have me analyzing the concept of perspective; it seems that many people view me in a completely different light than I view myself.
Those who know me best, get the truest me possible, however, while most everyone else gets a somewhat spiffier, shinier (yet more guarded) version. My husband was really the only person who ever got to see me without any barriers whatsoever, my soul laid bare, and I often wondered why he loved me anyway. It’s not a pretty sight in there.
These past months, however, had me downright anti-social and finding myself avoiding familiar places. When I couldn’t avoid somewhere altogether, I tended to walk around with an invisible wall erected, not making eye contact and getting in and out as quickly as possible. This wasn’t rudeness, it was self-preservation; I was avoiding interactions that might have lead to a meltdown.
This barrier also got raised on phone calls. I could be found distancing myself from a conversation simply to hold myself together. I’m sure it may have come across as cold and unfeeling, but I was simply doing what I had to so as not to completely lose it.
I’m happy to report that I’m finally coming around and have been dipping my imaginary (much prettier than real life) toes into the metaphorical waters of the living again. I have been saying “yes” to more invitations, starting to offer hesitant smiles to strangers, looking more people in the eyes. I have been practicing being a part of things rather than apart from them.
Avoidance is rarely the best method of dealing with things. True, it sometimes works. I once had a boss who employed what he called the Napoleonic method of business. He said when Napoleon was in a battle, he wouldn’t open correspondence brought to him on the front lines. This apparently served a dual purpose, as I recall – 1. It would save him from distractions when he needed to focus on more pressing issues, and 2. By the time he was finally able to focus his attention on the letters, many of them were no longer pertinent and didn’t need to be addressed at all.
This may actually be an interesting way to deal with life, in general. Because what we think is a major problem today, may seem like a non-issue in a day or two. Only the truly important things will carryover day to day. Sort of like sorting the chaff from the wheat.
Obviously the grief of dealing with A’s passing is some of my wheat. My children and their current and future lives command attention. And most recently, a major decision regarding my “next phase of life” has taken up some serious thought. [In short, my employer is planning an out-of-state move and would like me to tag along. After my son graduates in a few months and heads off to college in the Fall, I will have an empty-nest kind of thing going on, and the move might be a welcome one, but at the same time would take me further away from my kids. The Duchess is unsure of her plans, but the Bride-to-Be is hoping I’ll move closer to – read: “in with” – her and my son-in-law-to-be (but I struggle with being that kind of mom). I’ve always been the type of person who believes the right thing will happen at the right time, and so I’m open to something I may not even have thought of yet. All in all, I have too many options and not enough brain power to adequately make a choice. But I’m trying…]
Nearly everything else that comes across my path is typically chaff – those short term, irrelevant-in-the-long-run decisions that are seemingly there to confuse me. So I’m working hard to be more Napoleonic in my thinking and letting those little things slide. Some days it’s easier and those minor annoyances just roll off me like water off a duck’s back. Other days, I continuously recite little mantras such as “just breathe”, “let it go”, or “not my circus, not my monkeys” and still have difficulty.
But I’m working on it. Like I’ve been saying lately, I’m trying to make my way back to the land of the living because I know A wouldn’t want me to spend the rest of my life avoiding everything. And neither do I.
So my search for the wheat continues, and the chaff can just blow away…
© 2017 Many Faces of Cheri G All Rights Reserved