Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Give Side Hugs

Let me say, I've been feeling a little sad and sentimental today. I'm not really sure if those are the words I want, but it's something close to that. I feel like I'm not what I used to be.

Maybe this just stems from the let down that comes after a three day weekend, you know, that depression of heading back to work when you're mystified where all the extra time went where you planned on shovelling in extra fun, but you realize that you just watched a little more TV than usual and didn't actually use your extra time for anything worthwhile. I feel guilt for not using my time wisely. I could have at least called the internet guy and washed Lu's blanket and hung the towel hooks...

Can I also say that I am a hateful person? I'm realizing it more and more. You know when somebody says that so-and-so is a people person--yeah, I think I'm the opposite of that. I'm ashamed of the way I sometimes just internally turn off and try to slowly back out of conversation, so I can lazily just listen and not have to engage. I am quick to judge and be annoyed. I'm jealous and insecure and uber-sensitive about everything. I'm too old for this attitude. Or maybe I'm too young for this attitude. How can you be a thirty-one year old cranky old woman?

How do those people do it? The people persons? Do they genuinely like everyone and want to talk to everyone all the time? Are they faking? Is it ok to fake it? I've watched them, and I am still mystified by this kind of person. I understand that they're generally liked, and I, too, want to be generally liked and be consistently loving to others and get excited about things.

I tried to be a camp counselor (three different camps and I disliked each one progressively more), and it's not who I am. I think for a long time this was my version of what it meant to be a good Christian, and I still sort of have this Camp Counselor Archetype as what I wish I could be. I was thinking about some of these things during my quiet time this morning and basically wondering where the line is between having just an introverted personality and being a selfish, unloving person. I don't know. And I'm not really wondering about the line so that I can scooch (I just looked up how to spell scooch.) right up next to it. I'd rather be far back from it, overflowing with love and words. I'm just asking to ask.

I wonder how I was ever a teacher with this dry, cold attitude, but I think I was a good teacher... even without the warm fuzzies. I mean I don't know, but I thought so. I did give side hugs to my students (and honestly to most people) and usually only when they initiated them, and I had to. This chilliness has been pointed out and duly made fun of on several occasions, but a full on hug seems very intimate to me, and I shy away from it (pun fully intended). And as an aside, I think full frontal hugs with teenage students are a very bad idea anyway... but really I don't want a full frontal hug (it's sounds worse when I say it like that) from anyone I don't know really well. I think a cheek kiss is much less intimate than the frontal hug.

Why am I talking about this? Oh, yes, to illustrate my natural awkwardness and repulsion of people. But I'm still wondering why this is and where the line is between personality, which I think is acceptable, and sinful human nature, which is not something I want to necessarily embrace. (Apparently, I don't want to embrace much. I am so funny when I'm feeling guilty.)

At least I'm here in the office, where I can luxuriously wallow in my sleepy anti-social shameful mood, instead of teaching, where I'd have to pull it together and ... what would I be teaching about now?... Oh, Lord, The Canterbury Tales again. Well, there's certainly one thing to celebrate.


Jennifer said...

Oh Beth, the notion that you're hateful is absurd! I don't think I have much insight to offer on this topic since I have a lot of the same thoughts, tendencies, jealousies and insecurities, but I can confidently and honestly assure you that you don't repel other humans. I bet you'd be shocked to know how many people admire you for so many different qualities that seem to come effortlessly to you! And I have to believe that anyone willing to open up and do this kind of self-examination has her heart in the right place.

Surely you understand I wouldn't emerge from my cozy, introverted cocoon to tell you this if it weren't really true, right?

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery."
Galatians 5:1

The Kelley's said...

Ummm...I don't think I can be as profound as the previous commenter, but I was laughing out loud about your repulsion of people! How could you say that when you're the only girl I know willing to share a toothbrush with just about anyone?? What Jennifer said was true though...I admire your style - A LOT! Sometimes when I am working on decorating I ask myself, "What would BETH do?"