I was absolutely thrilled to find my new dress not only fit, but it hid the parts of my body I don't love and went well with cowboy boots. I couldn't have asked for a better garment to wear into my trip to Waynesboro this afternoon. I felt pretty, which is a miracle on it's own. I had a handful of errands on my list, all of which required interacting with people over the age of 12 and I was excited. I like people. A lot.
By the time I got home I was down, out and over it. I texted my husband "I'll never fit in here." His reply "Why?" I painstakingly text back (old dinosaur phone-no keypad) "Because I'm not quiet and lady-like." His much faster reply "Do you want to be?" Sigh. "I dunno." And then, "You know where you'd fit in great? NYC." And I couldn't help but laugh. That's Jamie's way. It's our way. Laughter. Appreciation for things being funny when they aren't or even when they are. But still, that lingering sense of being on the outside looking in loomed. I remembered I had saved a friend's number on my contact list. We hadn't actually talked on the phone before, but I was sure she was the person who could check my reality for me.
By the end of the conversation I felt better. I was who I am all the time and she liked me. I wasn't quiet, reserved or reverent. I was everything but. I don't know how to be any different and I fear that getting out there and meeting people will always feel this demoralizing.
I suppose I live in my own little world. The people I usually interact with on pretty much living on the outskirts of mainstream. Not far out enough to eschew Wal-Mart for everyday items, but just far out enough to be different. Because I usually interact with these people, it can be easy to imagine that ALL people are like them and when the reality is much different, it's a little painful to be honest.
Thing is, I don't "do" surface. It's not who I am, or even who I want to be. If I take the time to talk to you, to interact with you, it's personal. I truly DO want to know how you're doing. I truly do want to know how your day is going. I do want you to leave our conversation feeling better about the day than you did before. A lot of people don't get that. They are so closed up and tight-lipped and it really makes me uncomfortable. Maybe they are afraid. I mean, when you go deeper than the surface, the odds are greater that you'd find a world of differences within the person, but for me that's always been ok. If you are different than me, fine. I'm not offended by you and I certainly don't expect you to be offended by me. If you're a decent human being we've totally got enough in common to have a conversation.
But the women here...they are so quiet. They are really reserved. They say very little in the way of words and I don't know what to do with it. I could never answer a question with a "Hmmm..." or "Oh..." or "Yes...." It's not me. There has to be more words. I have to let that person know I value them enough to give it my all and not some surface nicety. If I see you during my day I will remember you. I will hope you have a really great life and are happy and enjoy the job you are doing and have enough to eat and that someone loves you. That's just how I roll.
Jamie asked me when he got home if I wanted to change who I was and the answer is no. But being this open and interested in people comes with it's share of heart ache. It's hard to walk a road stopping every now and then to smell the roses when the roses don't want to be smelled. The little bastards will even prick you if you get too close and that just kind of sucks.
And no, no one's been outwardly rude to me. But they haven't been overly welcoming either and I hate it. I have reached out to ask questions about the community, the people in it, the events going on and all I've heard back was blaring silence. Nothing. Nada. Like I don't exist.
Too bad though. When it comes to friends, I can be a good one. A great one even, and it makes me a bit gloomy to realize I haven't had much a chance to practice it.....
Carry on....I shall...but tonight I'm going to wallow a bit with a squishy baby, some yarn and some yummy tea and hope one day I'll get this whole Southern Living thing figured out.