Words, words, words…

It’s one of those nights where you put on the most soft and cozy clothing you own, retreat way up high to your lofted bed where no one can get to you, wish your roommate (and most other people and noise-making objects) out of existence, hide under your sinfully fuzzy warm purple blanket, and curl up with your security blanket and your stuffed animals.

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As much as I so highly value real conversations with real people about real, important things that go deeper than the weather and homework (because they so rarely happen), it’s absolutely exhausting. And I don’t really know how to do it in real face-to-face life either. Which is unhelpful, uncomfortable, and awkward for all parties involved.

Hurrah for introversion, a disconnect between mind and tongue, and poor social skills.

As much as I love The Potter’s School and being homeschooled, it has caused a few problems. I’m like an awkward child who doesn’t yet know how to interact with her peers and is caught in the body of a college student, bearing the weight of everyone else’s expectations that she be normal like them, and consequently the guilt? blame? that comes with realizing that everyone thinks she’s either rude, stuck-up, insensitive, or just plain doesn’t like them or doesn’t care because she doesn’t know how to answer them. When really none of these things are true at all.

Meh. Expectations are lame anyway. I figure they’re more like…guidelines…than actual rules…

Maybe by the time I graduate I’ll have figured a few things out. I’d kind of like to have a real, meaningful conversation, just once, without it trailing off to me staring at the other person and smiling awkwardly in defeat, while mentally berating myself most violently for not knowing how to vocalize the many things that are in my head and heart and that I would have no problem conveying were the conversation happening via written text rather than spoken word.

I need to hand out a warning to the people I am getting to know. Disclaimer: Just because I don’t talk doesn’t mean I don’t care. My smile isn’t mocking, it’s sympathetic. When I’m staring at the ground listening to you talk about real things that hurt and not saying a word in return, it’s not because I wish you’d shut up. It’s because I really just want to give you a hug and tell you I’m sorry, but I don’t know how. I avoid your questions about how I’m doing not because I don’t want to tell you, but because I don’t know how to tell you. And for goodness’ sake, don’t apologize for asking me when you see how uncomfortable I become. Because even if all I say is “I’m awesome. I’m always awesome.” and I can’t answer you any better than that, it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the fact that you cared enough to ask. It means the world. It really does.

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Oh, the wonderful world of the interior of my mind. Not a quarter of my thoughts ever make it out of my head. And I’m sorry for that, because it’s usually the lesser quarter that you hear and the rest of them, the words I should be saying, stay locked up inside. The more important it is that I say them, the more they need to be heard, the more impossible it is to speak.

Judge me all you like as some sort of reclusive stuck-up freak. I honestly don’t mind, and don’t really care what most people think of me anyway, as long as they keep their opinions to themselves.

But just so you know? I really do care about you. Always. And when I’m smiling at you wordlessly like an idiot, just know that I am wishing with all my heart that I could say even just a few of the things I’m thinking.

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16 Comments Add yours

  1. Anna, I think another year at college will work wonders….After many months of feeling exactly like you’ve described, I think I’ve had a breakthrough this year. It’s weird–like all of the sudden I can talk to people, be “normal” in social situations as far as most people can tell. It requires a huge amount of effort, and I feel most of the time like I am acting, but it is also super rewarding. People are cool. It’s not like I stopped being an introvert….it’s just like some switch flipped in my brain and I’m ready to talk to people. Anyway. I think you are awesome no matter what. :)

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    1. Lulu says:

      Wait your an introvert?

      lawl.

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      1. AnnaEstelle says:

        Introverted people can be outgoing. Introversion is, to my understanding, not necessarily a way of saying you’re shy. It means you are not energized by being in large groups of people – it exhausts you. You need alone time to refuel. It doesn’t mean you are shy – although it often can be taken that way, and it seems as though being shy and being introverted often do go together. They don’t have to, though. You can be outgoing and still be an introvert.

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  2. mariertps says:

    Anna, this is… priceless. *sniffles* you describe us introverts perfectly. *gives you ginormous hugz*

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  3. “As much as I love The Potter’s School and being homeschooled, it has caused a few problems.”

    Not true….sorry girls…you can’t blame homeschooling or TPS or living in the country on this one. I am here to tell you that it just taint true. This is not a result of TPS or homeschooling. I am afraid if you have anything to blame, it would be genetics. Now just imagine being the kind of person you just described and being in public school. All day, every day, people all around you, some you know well, but most you don’t know at all. All these people staring at you, while you stand awkwardly, head down, smiling, but unable to talk. People begin to give you nick names like “mouse”, and “quiet Kim” because you never talk. They constantly ask you, “Are you ok? Do you feel ok? Did I hurt your feelings?” Even the teachers begin to think you must have some serious emotional disorder and you see them whispering about you when you come into the library.

    That was me, your mother. It has taken me years to figure all this out and I am still learning. I still find myself in situations where I just want to become a part of the wall paper…..think about it, who is at the coffee pot with tons of people around them talking and laughing, and who is clutching her purse, standing by the door wishing it was time to go?

    Emily is right, you do learn how it all works and people are awesome…and most of the time, those around you never know how much effort it takes on your part. The bottom line-there is nothing wrong with being an introvert. I am sure much of our great works of art, literature, and music have come from introverts. The world needs introverts-they are awesome people and maybe the world needs to stop talking so much and listen more.

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    1. AnnaEstelle says:

      The problems I meant by saying that were the fact that I can converse well and easily online, but not so in person, which kind of makes me feel rather as though I have two different selves that can’t ever really get along well with each other, since they can’t communicate together. when the entirety of your social life is lived online from the age of twelve (and you didn’t actually have a social life at all before then), it’s not easy to suddenly uproot yourself from that and throw yourself entirely into face-to-face life. It’s like growing up in some foreign country, say Germany, and then suddenly moving to America at age 18 without getting any lessons in English first. You can still communicate with people very primitively because your two languages come from the same roots and are a bit similar, and you can “speak” via mime and facial expressions, but you can’t really talk about anything of importance.

      And I say hear, hear! The world does need introverts, and sometimes it would be nice if the world stopped talking and just listened – or just understood when the introverts have nothing to say. But at the same time, I think introverts (or me, at least) need to learn how to function in a not-often-introvert-friendly environment. Because real, meaningful, important conversations are good things, even when they’re uncomfortable, and they need to happen sometimes or else we lose touch with the deep things and maybe inadvertently make ourselves numb. People aren’t meant to be alone, and more than just physically being with other people I think part of not being alone is being able to share who you are inside – being able to talk about things that are important, things that might hurt, or things that are frightening. As an introvert who does more thinking than talking, I know what many of those things are for me, and I can write about them at length. But when it comes to sharing them with someone else verbally, and not being alone in them, it’s next to impossible because I cannot physically (mentally?) turn the thoughts and emotions inside my head to words that can be spoken. I find myself having to turn them mentally into written words that I can then “read” to the person I’m speaking to, because I can’t just say them. But that takes time and work, and makes the conversation drawn-out and choppy and awkward for everyone. I told the person I was talking to last night that I needed to be made uncomfortable more often, because the things that make me uncomfortable (in this case, talking) shouldn’t do so, and I need to learn how not to feel that way. Here’s hoping they didn’t just think I’m a freak, and will continue to try to understand and talk with me about real things even though I’m no good at it.

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      1. Lulu says:

        Moral of the story: Play sports. If you wanna be successful on the team you gotta talk.

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  4. Lulu says:

    I’ve often heard human vegetables have the problem of having a child brain in an adult body.

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  5. Lulu says:

    I think your over thinking things, just say it even if it comes out wrong and eventually you’ll get it right. Yeesh your like a teenage boy trying to talk to a member of the opposite sex who’s attractive.

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    1. AnnaEstelle says:

      The story of Anna’s life: She overthinks everything. Which, ironically, is closely tied with the fact that I am an introvert. The point is, I cannot physically “just say it.” It’s not that I say it and it comes out wrong, it’s that I literally cannot say it at all. Disconnect between thoughts and vocal chords.
      And gosh, that’s a great way to put it. Now I feel awkward though…

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      1. Lulu says:

        Maybe induce barfing when your trying to say something?

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  6. grannyandpoppy says:

    We know you care about your Granny and Poppy. Ahhh!

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  7. grannyandpoppy says:

    Anna, When you get to be 75, you don’t care what any one thinks of you. You just walk up to someone at the camp ground and say,’Where are you from?”

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    1. AnnaEstelle says:

      Well, I already don’t really care what people think of me. Which may or may not be good. I have decided that I really don’t care if I’m totally socially awkward, and if that makes other people uncomfortable then too bad for them. It will only make me feel uncomfortable if I let it, so I just don’t let it anymore =P Prolly not the best thing for other people, but they’ll live. ;)
      The problem isn’t that I care what people think of me when I’m awkward. the problem is that all I want is to be able to communicate the things I’m feeling – be able to tell people that I care, to give them encouragement, or to show them sympathy, when they talk to me. It’s really frustrating to feel so much empathy and…care-ing-ness…for other people and not be able to tell them so. I don’t care if they think I’m weird or awkward. I just want to be able to tell them I love them.

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      1. Alana says:

        I don’t mean to push in or anything, but I do sympathize with/understand this. It is hard to express emotions in words….especially sympathy and love; but God made us with more then just language. He gave us emotions etc. and other ways to express them and to sense what others feel. Yes, knowing how to use words is important in any relationship–but not knowing what to say is ok too. The person who is talking as you stand there is blessed by the fact that you are standing there listening to them. A simple smile, even if that’s all it is, can help give them the optimism to keep going. Also, if you feel that you need to tell them something, pray. God can give you the words and the voice–right when you need them. He’s done it for me many times. I look back and wonder if I said the right thing, I edit the conversation and feel useless in that I didn’t say more–but God uses everything. Just ask Him.

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        1. AnnaEstelle says:

          “I look back and wonder if I said the right thing, I edit the conversation and feel useless in that I didn’t say more”
          Happy to hear I’m not the only one who mentally edits conversations and “re-writes” them the way they should have gone. =P
          You’re right. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you don’t talk – just as long as you listen. Silence is good too – just as good as, or sometimes better than, words. I’ve really found that to be true. Especially since I’m not good at talking. It’s nice when people are just quiet and let me take my own time to say things. But it’s nice to talk too. Conversation helps people process their thoughts, and figure things out. And it’s nice to be told in spoken words that you’re valued, or not alone, or whatever it is. I want to be better at that. I think silence is frightening to some people. Not to shy people really, but to people who aren’t shy, silence can be intimidating, or even repulsive. I know that a big part of the reason I never really had any friends at my dance studio at home, where I danced for eight years (I think? =P), was because I never spoke, and so I came across as thinking myself “better than” or “above” the other girls – aloof, intimidating, cold. I don’t want to do that to people I love.

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