Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pretty Boring Confessions

Ok, in the interest of holding myself accountable to my wonderful ABCs and the hand full of family/friend lurkers (I prefer to pretend only nice, sane people read my blog), I will confess my rather boring failing today. It bugged me enough to remain on the tip of my brain all weekend. So I'll tell you about it.

I have a personality trait that is, at times, a great boon and, at other times, a horrid tool in the meddling hands of my insecurity. I have the ability to shift gears on a dime. By this I mean, I can adjust my attitude, demeanor, language, body language, etc., to match those of almost anyone else. I tend to draw the line when I encounter someone that upsets me, makes my skin crawl or commits crimes on a regular basis. But in my day to day in life, I meet generally nice people. And I tend to shift into their gear - often without even realizing it.

This is a boon when I am trying to greet new people at my church. Or when I see someone standing alone in a crowded social situation. Or when people at work are in contention. I am - to borrow a joke from SNL - a unificator. I like to make people feel at ease. I like them to be comfortable. If I can sense what will help with that, I oblige. So yah, it can be a gift. It has helped me in many situations.

In high school, this ability wasn't honed very well. And I was a mass of insecurity and low self esteem (yes, welcome to "Being a Teenage Girl"). So this ability usually manifested as a way to make people like me. It was probably more of a silent begging for people to like me. It also meant that I would morph into anything I believed they would like or think "cool" or who knows what. Unfortunately for me, some of my more observant friends dubbed me 'The Chameleon' because of this. Even more unfortunate was the fact that one of these observant "friends" was a cartoonist and I - The Chameleon - ended up being a regular character. The desperately insecure me loved that I was part of the cartoon. The much smaller me that actually had some pride left hated it. This memory still had the power to unravel me until a few years ago. Interesting that I just remembered that.

So where is this all going, you ask? Good question. They probably should have really dubbed me 'The Rambler'.

This morphing trait has stayed with me. In the last decade or two, I have been able to use my super powers for the good of mankind. I'm a social freak. I can't stand when anyone is left out. I can't stand unresolved conflict. I can't stand communication gaps. I am The Unificator!

But here and there, I still run into situations where I feel insecure. I don't know why. And if you could see some of the situations, you'd say, "But L.y.n.e.t.t.e, those people like you already. Why do you feel the need to impress them?" That part could be the topic of a 3 day conference, to be sure. But the fact remains, I still have this problem of needing to impress or needing approval. Often, I want this approval from people that are not exactly 100% aligned with what is most important to me.

The most recent manifestation of the dark side of my trait came this past Friday. I didn't have the kids and that meant it was my neighborhood Ladies' Nite Out - or Chick Nite, as I like to call it. It was 3 of my awesome neighbors, one mom of a classmate of The Boy, and one neighbor's coworker. Just six moms getting a break in a totally safe environment. No rules. No pretension. Just sitting around, eating snacks, drinking some wine, beer and/or coffee, chatting about nothing in particular. Lots of laughter. Totally totally safe. And no reason I need to impress. They're already my friends.

But I found myself reverting to my kind of tough act. That's the only way I can describe it. It's the defensive me. The group of ladies are lots of fun. And language was free. Some colorful, some not. But I found myself throwing around the stories that I knew would get the reactions. The ones that would get the "Really? You did THAT?" kind of reactions. Or throwing around my sailor talk. Not that I have a problem with that. But lately, it's not really me. Not like that. I don't know why I felt the need. I wonder if it was because I was the oldest one there. Or because I'm scared, being the only single one there. Or because I'm scared of being alone - reverting back to the knee-jerk reaction of desperately wanting them to like me so I won't feel so alone.

I'm sitting here thinking about this because that's the first time I tried to put the "why" to it. I bet it's a combination of all three of those things and probably more. Don't want to become the suburban soccer mom that I already am. Don't want to fit into the overweight stereotype of my area. Don't want to admit I might have become dull after all my years of being so "exciting" and "colorful" in the music scene. Which, if memory serves, really wasn't all that great anyway which was why I didn't pursue it more.

I think it just reminded me of an old me that I thought had died back in 2005 - when I realigned my life back onto a path seeking God. For the last 2 years, I thought I was rock solid with God. Nothing could derail me. I think I've been more freaked by the reality of that not always being a sure thing. I mean, God is the sure thing. But me - the human - I'm not a sure thing. And recently, I was majorly derailed by - of all things - a major crush. I was totally wigged out by my inability to focus on God during that time. It scared me to death. It passed. But with much effort on my part to rip my focus from this person and put it back on God (and many phone calls to Jane in stead of that guy!). And let me tell you, to do that, I had to release this person from my heart. I didn't want to. I had lots of conversations with God that went something like, "But God, why can't HE be the next one you have for me?!!!" And I knew why. But I just didn't want to be alone. I don't like not being in love. I don't like not feeling loved romantically. I KNOW God should be the end-all, be-all for me. And ultimately, he is. But I'm human and I have those stupid human moments where, dammit, I want a man. And I want to feel worthy of his attention. And I want him to pursue ME. And I want to see effort made to get my attention. And I want to be in love again. With a human. I want to have that excited woogy feeling when I think about this person. I want to anticipate the next time I'll get to see him. I want to get all excited when he texts me. I want to burst into a huge smile when I see an email from him. But I gave it up to God. Begrudgingly.

And let me tell you...God is really really really sensitive. He didn't just rip the crush from my heart. He slowly turned my heart back to Him. He slowly pointed out a few things like it was not the right time. I'm still a mess. He lives too far away. Our lifestyles are just too different. He's much too young for what I need. And the number one thing I've been crowing about since future ex blew my heart out of my rib cage: he's not a Christian.

So God got me refocused. But The Chameleon still lurks there. Still clutching at my insecurities. Waiting for that time when I'm not paying attention. All the more reason to stay focused on God. All the more reason to surround myself with my God-friends.

I know I'll be 100% again some day. Some day, this whole divorce thing will be completely in the past - chronologically, legally, emotionally. But I think I'm still weak and vulnerable yet. It will take a while. So I will stubbornly cling to God. The nice thing is, his hand is always stretched out toward me. Makes it much easier. All I have to do is turn back toward him and - boom! - there it is.

That was a bit more rambling and disorganized than I had intended. It was definitely a stream of consciousness. Took on a life of its own. I think I actually figured a thing or two out here.

Thanks for listening.


Gardener Greg said...

As someone who has been there and done that, I can tell you that you will make it. I don't think I am 100% but then I don't think I was ever 100%. The best advice I can give it to keep moving in the right direction and it sounds like you are already doing that. It takes time to heal but it does happen. You can do it, God will help you.

Trish said...

Hey there. You rock for being so candid about this. The chameleon thing is both great and awful (like a superpower you can use for evil or for good). Makes me think of a story Dave told once where he wondered what happens when a chameleon lands on plaid? does it blow up?

We all morph in and out of the needing folks to like us thing; I'm not sure that ever goes away (how hard did I work to convince you that I wasn't L&T lady once I realized you didn't like me?) You're awesome, and 97% of the time you know that. Them's good numbers :)

Moanna said...

I stopped by just to say I'm thinking of you. Holidays can be hard so I hope you're doing ok.

About the dinner. Makes me think of the saying, "I like who I am when I'm with you." Perhaps the people you were with are not a good fit. Relaxing should be easy. Just a thought in case it helps.

I hope you have a peaceful Thanksgiving.