Working Together

"We shape our self
to fit this world

and by the world
are shaped again..."

Excerpt from "Working Together" © David Whyte
in The House of Belonging

Many Rivers Press

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Come to the Party

At ten pm last night I found myself dragging my butt up the street to a party I was invited to. I would have preferred walking to the dentist for a root canal, in truth. My attempts at “socializing” have been especially excruciating for me in the last few years…well, okay 10 years….but because there is often a greater plan at work than what I have the vision to perceive, I forced myself out but not before I found a priceless bit of information presented to me prior to this trek up the hill.

It happened this way: I was having coffee and trying to work myself up to what I knew by experience would be a poor excuse for enthusiasm when I caught a portion of Jim and Esther’s WWR audio magazine called Fame and Fortune. Tucked away at approximately 45 minutes past some bullshit about Michelle Shocked that may or may not have involved people touching themselves – was a bit about introversion. Jim read an excerpt from a blog site by Ronni Bennett called “Times Goes By – what it’s really like to get older” , the blog title being “Blogging and Solitude” . This piece made reference to an Atlantic Monthly on-line article written in March of 2003 called “Caring for your introvert” by Jonathan Rauch. All of this ended up being a blessed prelude to my evening at the party. I was able to watch myself with a new perspective. Still pathetic, indeed, as I hunkered down on the stairwell in my coat smiling at people like a bobble head but slightly suspended above the drone of my usual self-flagellation for not being enough…Wrapped, as I was, in the information Jim shared, it was just enough of a space to allow a new perspective on this whole conundrum to take root.

I woke this morning and hit my morning journal like, well, an extrovert! After an hour of writing it occurred to me that this is about what is behind my urge to blog and I should really put it “in the blog”. I don’t favor long blog entries so I’m going to try and keep this brief. If I can’t, I will break it up over the week. Sincerely this bit of information opened a flood gate for me and I need to understand it as it relates to so much. Bear with me….or not, gentle reader.

First of all I have to state that I am mostly in a state of constant bliss these days. When I am not it is usually because something has come between me and my personal party and it is usually in the form of another person. When another person is not the culprit, my Valhalla is disturbed by feeling upset that I’m ultra-contented and no other person seems to notice. An entire religion could be founded on the volleys that I experience between these two experiences. So the first thing that happened after I read the Rauch article was permission to be. This is where it always starts with me. Something makes its way through the maze of me and whispers, “You are okay. Something out there that you cannot control is having its way with you”. Then I react with,”OH! Wow! It’s not me? It’s not ME!” Then I recoil at the thought I allowed myself to be made a pawn of in the game of life. This is the Cliffs Notes version of the epic of every epiphany I have ever had and I’ve been blessed/cursed with plenty.

I had but one conversation with one woman all evening although there were many interesting and fun people in attendance. Her name was Roxanne and I liked her immediately. We had both sought solitude on the porch for the same reason – to get away from the crowd and gather the self. We laughed about not being able to maintain pretence anymore. I confessed that now, I would not be able to sustain it long enough for a job interview, an awareness that struck me minutes after the last one I had three years ago was over. She shared a similar story and made it funny but it wasn’t. She didn’t get the job. Self satisfaction is not appreciated by commerce and industry. I’m beginning to think American production must thrive on the restless pursuits of youth.

Standing on the porch with Roxanne, I was on the threshold of realizing that I have become worn to a nub in trying to present myself to people and it really has nothing to do with a poor self-image, as I assumed. It has to do with self acceptance. How ironic! I hear a chorus of “Send in the Clowns” playing in the back of my mind…I have accepted myself as I am and I deeply enjoy my life AND I look like something discarded and washed up on the shore of the middle aged gene pool. I am smiling as I hear Cobain crooning, “Dumb”. ..

I can see, in my minds eye, my sweet extroverted friends throwing looks at each other as if to say, “…and this is GOOD news?” Why, yes…yes it is.

(…to be continued)

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