Have you ever been in a crowd and still felt so alone? Have you ever been loved and had friends, but still felt so disconnected?
Almost four years ago I made a conscious choice to live out loud and be more vulnerable; be my authentic self inside and out. That has changed my life immensely. But I still struggle with friendships. I know there is baggage that makes me insecure with them. I haven’t been able to completely off load that yet, but I am pretty darn close. Yet, I still feel disconnected and lonely. So I have started to examine that more closely. Why am I feeling this way? What I am doing that causes this disconnect?
For one, small talk is my weakness. Asking about the weather or talking about topics across the surface is like nails running across a chalkboard for me. I love deep, meaningful conversation. Discussions about politics, relationships, creation, heaven, anything with substance is what I would prefer to talk about.
Most people like to keep things light. Not everyone is interested in sharing their whole heart in every conversation. Experience has taught me that oversharing and openness isn’t always well received. So instead of the open, happy, fierce little girl I used to be; I have bottled up my intensity. I often feel awkward in social situations. I am of two minds; I want to just share and be open; be me. But the other half of me knows this might be too much for the other person and I will suffer heartache and feel so dejected if the person shies away from me the next time I see them. So instead I have become socially awkward, saying hi, but then not knowing what to say next. Choosing instead to sit away from the group. I know I am not broken because I am too intense, too emotional, my too much-ness is just right. My too much-ness is just who I am. But sometimes this too much-ness leaves me feeling so lonely and disconnected.
Maybe we all feel this way. Maybe we all just really want to scoop people up in hugs and love them something fierce. If you watch children they are vulnerable and open and just run up and hug each other. They talk and play easily. They accept one another without question, until they are older and other people’s judgements have been handed down to them. But before that, in the innocent beginnings of childhood they just accept and love each other something fierce.
Maybe too, motherhood is just lonely. Maybe working motherhood is even lonelier. When your plate is so full with pick-ups, drop offs, housework, homework, laundry, cooking, email, conference calls, laundry (I know I said laundry again damn soccer jerseys and P.E. uniforms and favorite outfits that have to be cleaned and running out of underwear faster than you can keep up with) and practices, performances, games, and everything else in between just doesn’t leave time to make meaningful connections.
I try to make connections, but I just feel awkward, shaky, uncoordinated in my attempts. I can be me with others, but then I pull back worried my too much-ness will scare away the natives.
The smoothness of other people’s interactions boggles my mind. The ease with which they jump in and out of conversation, remember introductions, remember each other’s names even! I swear my mom brain decided people’s names are not necessary to its survival so every night when I sleep it deletes them. I have begged and pleaded with my mind to stop doing this, it is quite embarrassing and it is very detrimental to my interactions with other civilized people, but it is still not listening. So I watch in amazement with the ease of other people’s conversations. And if I do connect; I make the mistake of sharing a story of how I relate. So stupid. Such a poor way to connect. But it’s what tumbles out of my mouth first because I am nervous, maybe even because I am so nervous about saying the wrong thing; it is what comes naturally for me – saying the wrong thing. So then I think throughout the whole conversation “don’t talk, don’t talk for the love of God woman stop talking.” It doesn’t always work. I have told you my mind doesn’t listen to my instructions. Sometimes I talk anyway against better judgement and then feel angst about it for days later.
Does this happen to you, too? Do you feel too much? Do you feel disconnected? Do you pull back as to not overwhelm others with how much you like them or want to know them?
I meet people and instantly know I want to be their very best friend. But as an adult that means getting to know them better, arranging interactions, all that takes time. I just want to scoop them up and say let’s be forever friends you and me right there on the spot. I want to be my childlike self and hug them on site every day. Go right to talking about the stuff that matters and just be friends without all the time spent getting acquainted. Time is short on this earth and I opt into the childlike way of making friends, but most adults aren’t as keen with that option and my too much-ness is over powering. So I decide instead to hold back and hide my intensity.
I have great friends; I have bonded and connected with amazing people. But I still hold back. I still feel awkward about showing up and being seen. Maybe it’s just time to let go and not worry about scaring people away because the right ones will stay. The right ones will stay and love you something fierce back.
Watch out people; this girl is done holding back. This girl is tired of feeling lonely and disconnected. Plus I think we need to all be loved something fierce right now, anyway. So I think I am going to do just that. You will be the first to know if it backfires on me. I will let you know how it goes. Watch out world here I come.