blank'/> Mirth, Melancholy, and the Mundane: Walk Right In, Sit Right Down...

Friday, September 18, 2015

Walk Right In, Sit Right Down...

Today, on this 18th day of September, I am resurrecting my blog. I am doing so because I miss writing because I don’t do it enough. I am doing so because I feel that it would make me a more genuine teacher of writing if I practice the craft I teach. I am doing so because this is the area of writing in which I feel I am best. I don’t think I will ever be a writer of fiction; I don’t have the stamina or the detailed mind for it. I fear my stories are in a permanent state of stasis. But this, this I can do. So, I will, and I will simply by diving right in...

Last night my friend the dragon, who has had pretty serious battles with depression was talking to me about how he was acutely aware of his mood and he felt the need to go read or watch anime or otherwise be away from people. Because of this, he was forcing himself to be in a place where he had to interact with others. When he explained why, it made a good deal of sense to me. He knew that if he gave into that need to be alone, it would lead down a path whose destination he already knew and to which he did not want to go. I made a point of talking to him for the rest of the evening about my own recent internal battles and how I felt I was better learning what it meant to have healthy friendships on which I did not feel wholly dependent for my own validation. Towards the end of the evening, I asked him how he was feeling. His response was that he felt much better – that the online group activity in which he was engaged and the steady conversation he and I had been having had pulled him back from walking down that road of isolation. I went to bed that night feeling like I had done some real good in the world – it wasn’t so drastic as having saved someone’s life, but I was able to figure out what someone else needed and was then able to provide it. And it worked.

Fast forward to today and once I was done with my classes, I found myself embroiled in trip plans that involved a travel agent, the chair of a committee that grants funds for professional development, and the coordinator of a conference I’m attempting to go to in November. It was aggravating, time-consuming, and ultimately is still unresolved completely. Added to that, my lunch plans fell through because my companion’s own schedule had become ridiculously complicated and so I could feel a desire to just go off and buy lunch somewhere and sit alone until meetings called me back a few hours later.

And then I remembered my friend from the night before.

Before I continue, I should point out that I am not normally one to run at a problem. I dislike conflict of any kind, so I’m much more likely to retreat, even if there is no real conflict and I’m just running away from the world. It does not help that I am an introvert, so sometimes running away seems like the only sane option. If there is no one around, you can’t be let down and you can’t get tired of interacting with the world. You just ARE in those moments, but not in a Zen sort of way.

I thought about how my dragon friend forced himself to socialize because he knew where isolating himself would lead him and he did not want to go there. I thought to myself, I wonder if that would work for me. Would forcing myself to come out of the Flight of the Introvert actually help? I mean, it wasn’t like I was depressed or otherwise in a dampening mood – I just didn’t want to be around people. This would be a problem, however, if I embraced it and then had to go actually run a meeting later that afternoon. So, I decided I’d give Dragon’s idea a try.

When a former student stopped by after her class, I took the plunge. I wonder if she realized the words sort of tumbled out rather abruptly; “What are you doing? Do you want to go to Wegman’s for lunch with me?” After that, it was easier and it was not long before I felt the need for isolation subside. It was as if a switch had been flipped in my head or heart or something and I could face the world again. This is especially significant because I call this friend Switch for unrelated reasons, but the name seemed even more fitting today. After we ate and I took her back to campus, I went for a walk in my Arboretum (perhaps I will blog about that next) to temper the surge of energy I felt from conquering what I knew was not a good state of mind in which to be. Life was good.

I came out of the Arboretum ready to sit in one meeting and run another one and I’m not sure I could have said the same if I hadn’t made myself take a leap of faith off not a cliff, but at least a small hill. And you know what? It was worth it.

“The further you get away from yourself, the more challenging it is. Not to be in your comfort zone is great fun” – Benedict Cumberbatch

1 comment:

  1. In high school I was so very socially introverted. I joined a play (as an extra) and took Drama class so as to combat this road of isolation of which you speak. I am a greater person for it. Congratulations on winning this small battle.