The Trouble With Being Social

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I used to think I was an extrovert.

I rather enjoy the company of friends, or the electrifying feeling of a crowd playing adult twister or dancing to the best of the 80’s.  I actually love going to our new church because I’m bound to see a person I’ve never seen before.

I like baseball and basketball games.  I love the thrill of thousands of strangers eating sloppy concession stand snacks and  uniting their ooh’s, ahh’s and cheers for a particular team.

I’m not bothered by the fact that I follow more people than I have followers on pinterest and instagram.  I stroll through my feed appreciating the different daily routines, emotions captured, threads worn, and meals made.  I love LIFE.  And for me part of enjoying life is enjoying the life in others.  I’m not so absurdly mistaken to think that my life is the only one being lived. I wonder about the school secretary.  I wonder about the older man in my small group who has just as much sweet to say as he does bitter.  I wonder about the couple at the gym who always work out together, always touch each other, and seem to be hopelessly in love…but she’s so mean. I wonder. I look. I pay attention.

But, every once in awhile it all becomes too much.

The noise clutters my thoughts and I long for silence.

I tire of of the perfect pictures, the smiling, the put together outfits , the shout outs to the “true friends” or people “keeping’ it real”, or those one their “everyday hustle”.

It all seems so contrived at times, so conjured . A stage play put on for all the world to see.

it’s too much.

It’s too loud.

And as much as I enjoy looking, I’d rather see.

I had a friend; a dear friend in fact, tell me a few weeks ago that I was boring. I was so abruptly shaken and truthfully offended by her statement that I couldn’t gather the composure to ask, “in what way” ?  Her statement haunted me for days. I found myself taking inventory of my life.

well, I do read a lot of books. 

my greatest fetish is paper supplies in comparison to the usual woman’s fetish of make up and heels. 

I guess I do listen to strange music : classical, 80’s, Hillsong, ColdPlay, Bonnie Raitt ; not your usual” black woman” music, right?

I started making this mental list of all these things that perhaps someone might think were boring, and then I STOPPED.

My preferences, likes, dislikes, strengths, quirks, and shortcomings are what make me who I am. 

Spend an hour with me and you’ll find I’m not afraid of trying new things. 

I died my hair BLONDE on a spontaneous whim in October.

I auditioned for a secondary lead in a play after not acting on stage for over 12 years.

I moved to California for my husband’s job at 8 months pregnant. We drove. For 3 days.

And after all the {insert a rather colorful word} we went through in California with church people….I still  recently made a choice to get active in church again.

But most importantly, to whom do I have to prove anything to ????

See, this is the trouble with being social. We take on this unhealthy assumption that our life has to measure up to this invisible standard others have for us in order to mean something.

Stay at home mom’s have to bake intricate cakes and cook 3 course meals at least 3 times a week in order to be considered meaningful. Didn’t you know?

Working moms have to have all the latest handbags and threads and bring in a certain amount of money in order to be considered successful. Didn’t you know? 

Single ladies have to maintain a certain image and pursue a certain level of education and social awareness in order to be an acceptable mate. Didn’t you know? 

There’s just no way that the only person any of us really need to be aiming to please is God. That’s just not enough.

If I could, I’d pack a bag tomorrow and go on an excursion to Paris. I’d write and eat at a different cafe’ every morning, I’d explore the city in the afternoon, and sit and stare at the Eiffel Tower every night.

If I could, I’d go on a shopping spree to my favorite stores, buy shoes and accessories to match each outfit, and buy plenty of spanks to ensure I could properly FIT into the piles of clothes I’d just purchased.

If I could, I’d live in a 4 bedroom house with Pottery Barn furniture, West Elm extras and I’d always have plenty of money for organic foods and fresh vegetables instead of the frozen peas & broccoli cuts and I so often buy.

If I could.

But, since I can’t….

I’ve worked hard to be okay with what I can do. 

The trouble with being social is the deceptive illusion that tells us what we have, and who we are is not enough.

The truth is, I’m a forced extrovert.

While there are times I crave social interaction, I just as quickly wish for a cabin in the woods with a roaring fireplace and a stack of books with just my husband and children nearby.

While there are times I appreciate the kind words of those who acknowledge the good things about me, flattery is fickle. I’d much rather know and believe God’s unwavering opinion of me.

Sometimes I fantasize about a life without a cell phone, Facebook, reality tv, catalogs , and I wonder if what I’m fantasizing about is the life I’m really meant to live.

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3 thoughts on “The Trouble With Being Social

  1. I identify with so much of what you said here. Part of me is always fantasizing about shutting down all of social media and living simply… And your cabin in the woods is similar to my thought this week that I’d love to get away and move somewhere overseas. I know this last comment will stay with me… “…and I wonder if what I’m fantasizing about is the life I’m really meant to live.”

  2. So I’m not the only out there like that! I too enjoy social interactions and such but often find myself wishing for a cabin in the woods with the sound of the forest as my lullaby. I’m still confused whether I’m I traversed or extroverted. But I’m really happy to have met you, if only virtually.

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