Notes on a Socially Awkward Existence

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I’ve never been what anyone would refer to as a social butterfly. There is a slim section of the population I can stomach being around for any length of time, and the rest of the world of people who breathe are simply not my wavelength.

I’m sure there are people I would like, if I put forth the effort. I’m sure I judge interaction too quickly and give up too easily.

But people – creating a rapport, being approachable and interested, making conversation and thinking of things to say…

Just typing about it makes me tired and anxious.

I grew up among people, though. This should go against everything my pew-studded history embedded within me. Right? I mean, there were times, children. Times when I loved being among people and I was loud and jolly and obnoxious. There are still those times, yet I couldn’t name the last one. These days I’d much prefer staying home binge watching Breaking Bad (again) or reading comics with the lights off.

Is that so wrong? Am I so different? If you prick me, do I not bleed?

I can’t be the only one.

For example, the text message.

People, if you text me and I don’t respond it means I have nothing to say. Or that I don’t have time to respond. Or that I don’t feel like settling into a ten minute back and forth of “no way, why?” “Where are you now?” “I think those shoes would match.”

AND ALL THE OTHER BULLSHIT.

I love people. People fascinate me. I love text messaging. It jives splendidly with my random stream of consciousness existence. I do NOT love feeling obligated to check in or small talk when I really don’t have reason to. Chances are if I haven’t responded quickly enough to your text and subsequently received a “?” text from you – unless you are my husband or mom or otherwise important family, then well… I may not ever text you again.

It’s just a fact.

The rest of away

It’s taken me a bit to somewhat process this past weekend.
(Side note, I’m watching Teen Mom 2 and this is the second one of these dumbass girls I’ve watched act like an invalid after her boob job. What the actual hell is the matter with me, watching this nonsense?)
Anyway, we spent the weekend at my first comic convention. I was prepared and not prepared – I mean, I’ve watched the documentaries and the sitcoms and read articles, nerds are weird. I know this.
But it was a good opportunity for the podcast, so I went. With Prozac. Prepared to network and schmooze.
While there’s lots to tell you about the weekend in general (like hello awesome food!, and being in the same room as Billy Dee Williams’ pee, and the time I thought I might see a man die and I acted anything but admirably), right now I want to focus on the actual event.
How it was stinky. Crowded. Germy. Confusing. And absolutely spectacular.

We had preordered our tickets (which was my first time ever to use Passbook on my phone, and I totally felt like the Jetsons with my virtual roboticket), so there wasn’t much of a wait to strap on some armbands and stand in line with pretty much every variety of person on the planet.

Seriously, this was as good as people watching gets. Costumes and pajama pants, stilettos and flip flops, and absolutely everything else imaginable. Spandex. Sequins. Feathers. Rubber. Metal. Cardboard. Want to wear some ears and a tail? Awesome. Top hat? Help yourself. Flippers with no other hint of a costume? Have some nachos.

And yeah, they stunk. Some of them did. Some of them smelled fantastic – particularly these two chicks who I’m fairly absolutely concretely certain were prostitutes. But they were all so… connected. It was such a community of all these people who mostly didn’t know each other. There was trust in so many iterations – from the toddler in his Iron Man outfit who won a sword fight with a Stormtrooper to the mom of two in her steampunk corset and bustle who didn’t give a shit what you thought about her cellulite. It was freeing just to be there, to be able to take in the attitude of acceptance.

And also…the talent. It was a grab bag of you-pick-it eeney meanie miney holy balls. I have never been in tossing distance of so much ability in my life. It was amazing and humbling and completely exciting. I still don’t really have the right words.

I am not and never have been what anyone would call a cool person. I’m not with it or hip or anything the kids like these days. And in theory, neither were these people, right?

I mean, according to the movies and high school and anything I ever learned from band camp, these are the punch lines, right? The nerds, the geeks, the people who don’t fit in.

Except these people were amazing. They were real and colorful and…themselves.

That’s it. That’s what it was.

There was no apology in any of this past weekend. No one was sorry for being whoever it was they wanted to be. It was open and obnoxious, and the most authentic experience I’ve ever had.

I met some amazing people. Made some connections I will treasure. Hopefully some of the people I met will take a turn to post here sometime soon, and I’m excited about that.

For now though, I’m still sorting through everything I learned this weekend. About myself, about my world. About comic books and zombies. About how lucky I am to realize that just because there’s no one like me doesn’t mean there’s anything to change about me.

***all photos used with permission, courtesy of Keith Reed, whom I found on the Twitters.

 

Embracing the kook within

Historically I have never been what you would call a joiner.

It's all too much, man. Too much work.

It's why I don't have friends. It's why I find my own things and bury myself in them. Hell, it's why this blog has not died a raging fiery inferno death – because I do it whenever I please and big middle finger when I don't.

But my husband, he's a joiner. He gets all up IN all kinds of shit. And he does it because he's good at it. I support that. How could I not? It makes him happy. Happy him, happy me.

So in a grand gesture of solidarity and total outside-my-comfort-zone-ness, I am donning my brand spanking new JustUsGeeks tshirt, hauling around my weight in purple bluish memefont flyers, and going to a comic & toy convention.

Yeah, that's right. You heard it here first.

 

But you know what's crazy? I'm excited. Like, stupid excited.

So by the time you read this, Josh and The Guv and I (Catch that? Did you? Yeah, I said my name and his name but not Lucy's name. More on that later.) will be tooling off toward Kentucky. Or, well, Friday morning. So whenever you read this in relation to Friday morning. Because I think I'm going ahead and publishing this tonight.

 

See it? It's already happening. DARING.

Wish me luck!

I suppose it was a noble try

This is probably going to come across in the wrong way, but I am nothing if not honest. I see no need to change that now.

What, I might lose some friends? Line up, everyone. Let me count you so I know who goes missing.

Yesterday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Apparently the whole month of October is appointed as an awareness month for this issue, which is great, but October the 15th is the special day appointed for memorial and acknowledgement for those of us who have lost little ones.

This is delicate. For anyone.

I have not made a secret of the miscarriage I had in 2008. I don’t bring it up often, but it’s there. I acknowledge it. I think about it more than I ever thought I would. I don’t say that in a macabre way, but it’s true. I think about it enough to know that Lucy’s brother (at some point I apparently decided he was a boy) would be about four now. When I remember him I don’t think about the pain and the terror and how certain I was that I was not going to live – I think about how much he might look like his daddy. I think about T-ball and Transformers. I think about how much would be different today.

And then I don’t think about it for a while. It’s how I process.

But yesterday, since it was an appointed day, I thought about him. The him that never really was.

Some local people had put together a vigil/memorial service type thing for the evening. I decided to go, because I wanted Josh to take pictures and I never really go in for stuff like that. I took a sedative in preparation for being around people.

We went.

I didn’t really know what to do initially, but I went to a spot where it looked like stuff was happening. I signed a book on a lovely little table, I got a lapel pin with an angel, I got a piece of paper to write on – which I would later attach to a balloon. The sentiment was lovely, and I could tell that the people in charge were well-intentioned.

For some reason, there was a group of high school students there…community service? Helping? I don’t know, but they were there. Fine, great, not my business, right?

Except they were obnoxious. They were loud and they were oblivious and they totally killed whatever mood there should have been.

Whatever, man. I live and let live.

The chick in charge (who, incidentally, I used to work with at McAlister’s Deli and is now apparently a pediatrician? Good for you, girl. Your pants were awesome.) took a microphone and welcomed everyone. She went over why we were all there and what was going on.

Then people started talking. It was almost like being at youth retreat, where folks would find their way to the front and get all emotional and you could tell they were so sincere and it just pissed you off because people weren’t paying attention to the sincerity. No? Just me?

Well, it was like that. These women were spilling their hearts out – their loss, their mourning, how they still hurt – and Suzy Sweet Sixteen five yards away from me was texting with Johnny No Nads about letting him get to second base (fine – I made that part up, I don’t know what they were talking about).

It made me so angry.

I was there to mourn a loss. To remember a time my life changed forever. To think for just a few minutes about what could have been. And I couldn’t do that.

There were Bible verses and prayers. Whatever makes it easier, I guess. I just wanted to leave before I vomited from everything I felt.

The talking ended.

We let the balloons go. I watched a jillion pink, blue, and white balloons – all with little messages attached – disappear into the night. So many emotions. So much hurt attached to every string.

It was the one moment that was just as I’d expected. Everyone simply stood and watched as the memories flew upward into the sky. It was worth it for that moment.

I appreciate what went into the evening. I am grateful that there are those who know how I feel, even if I’m sorry that has to be true.

ProcrASStination.

Basically, people, I feel like I’ve been sleepwalking through the past month.

 

Really.

 

Even yesterday, when I had plenty of work to do at, you know, actual work – I stayed home with a whiny toddler and firepee thanks to being female and having, apparently, a short urethra. *bows to the TMI audience*

So I could have done schoolwork, right? The geneaology paper that is due today. Or the research paper that is due tomorrow. Both are still barebones and need work.

Instead, though, I spent the day watching Big Love on demand, flushing out my system with echinacea and vitamin C, thinking about the past and the future and how to best go about making pumpkin muffins.

So what did I accomplish? I lessened my infection, I think. I pondered what my hair would look like a la Ginnifer Goodwin in Season Three. I made the muffins. I vacuumed the floor. I did work a bit on the papers.

 

I can’t say I made much eternal progress in anything yesterday. Except the muffins. They were amazing.

 

 

About work but not.

I’ve said that I went back to work fairly recently. I did.

I work for what seem to be lovely people, in an office with someone I genuinely get along with and enjoy being around.

This is a big part of what makes or breaks any job. And I have it made.

The other part of making or breaking is actually being able to do what you were hired to do.

I’ve never had a problem with that, you know? I’m a good worker. I learn (or I thought I learned) fairly quickly and I catch on with no problem. I’ve always considered myself smart and intuitive.

Don’t get me wrong – I have always required a learning window.

Maybe it’s because I’m in an field that I’d never really encountered before. Maybe it’s because it’s been years since I’ve worked for an employer. Maybe it’s just that I’m getting old.

Whatever it is, I am having the worst time learning the order and flow of things. I ask questions and I worry that I’m annoying and then I just keep to myself and I worry I’m being useless.

No win.

What would be perfect is if someone told me, step by step, everything to do. Every time. And then gave me a pop quiz. Then once I learned what was going on, they would need to step off and leave me alone.

I know it’ll get better. I know I’ll know what’s going on soon enough. I just hope no one kills me before that happens.