Today was my family reunion. I still feel drained from the interaction. Don’t get me wrong, my family is awesome and I love them, but I am an introvert by nature and being around a lot of people can be fatiguing.
My lack of coffee probably hasn’t helped. I haven’t had a single cup today, by accident not by plan. I woke up early around 4 A.M. for no apparent reason. Unable to go back to sleep, I read a book for a while, then it was time to get up. I had pumpkin bread to make and brownies to bake.
Normally I am good at baking. It is my thing. I usually stress back over the holidays. Today baking was not my thing. I tried. I really did. I also forgot to add one of the key ingredients to the bread, dropped an egg down the sink, splattered brownie batter all over my face, and then mixed the ingredients for the type of brownie I was trying to make in the wrong order; effectively making them look unedible. They actually tasted okay, they just looked bad. And I forgot to grease the pan so they stuck to the bottom and I ended up with brownie crumbs while trying to get them out.
I ended up taking store-bought lemon aid and a big bowl of grapes. I thought it was probably safer for all involved, considering I also absent-mindedly sat an oven mitt down on a hot stove burner and nearly caused a fire. Honestly, I am not usually so bad in the kitchen.
I did get to see many of my cousins and my Aunt Patsy. I have a ton of cousins. Some I haven’t seen in over a decade, others it has been a month or two. I enjoyed getting a chance to visit with them. I wish I could have stayed longer. However, my son decided to brave the reunion as well and quickly used up all of his socializing reserves. (He is high functioning autistic so his reserves run out even faster than mine.) Still, I had a good time. I hope to be able to visit with everyone again next year.
Waking up today feels like pulling myself out of a tub of molasses. In a good way. I slept solid last night. I entered so deeply into the realm of dreams that I don’t remember sleeping and I’ve not quite returned to waking.
Yesterday was my son’s 11th birthday. His party was a lot of fun and I got to meet up with friends I haven’t seen in a long time. It was three hours of happy social interaction but by the time I got home I was done in. Only stubbornness helped me stay awake until a reasonable bedtime. (I would have just given in, but my daughter was out with a friend. I was waiting for her to be brought home.)
After weeks of restless sleep and waking feeling like the day before never stopped; this thick with sleep feeling is welcome. It is cool outside which makes hot coffee all the more enjoyable. I don’t know what this Monday will hold but I am greeting it with a sleepy contented smile and a warm cup.
I am still getting used to the idea of being an author. I like the term writer better. It feels less…well self important, I guess. I am more of a bluejeans and t-shirts type of girl. The word “Author” makes me think of button up shirts and pressed slacks for some reason.
I should know better. I have met a lot of different author and every last one of them was very nice and not pompous at all. There were some in suits and some in slacks but there were also those in pirate costumes and utili-kilts with bottled frappacinos in the pockets.
It is an insecurity I need to over come. It is not like the other authors are going to turn on me in mass and start yelling, “Fake! She’s a Fake! Raise the pitch forks!” Yet that is what I secretly expect.
However, it is the same at school gatherings too. I never feel like I fit in with the other parents. I feel like I need to make sure I am close to the exits in case the P.T.O demands a human sacrifice or something. Because deep down I know that it is going to be me or one of the lone dads in the crowd and I am pretty sure they can run faster.
Part of it comes from being an introvert and part of it comes from self doubt and the ghosts of nay sayers. Insecurity is a hurtle I will over come. It shrinks with each new book. I have three manuscripts in the re-write stage and one short story that is almost through editing.
The short story will be sent off to my cover artist soon and then will be available on Amazon for the Kindle and ect. I have too much writing to get done to be hung up on insecurities. I will face them as they come. The title “Author” is just a shield. I am still a “Writer” underneath it all. Just like a Knight may wear armor but is still a squishy human inside the metal casing.
When my son was around three or four, I took him and his sister to McDonald’s for lunch. Some friends of mine were meeting us and we agreed to sit at a table in the play place to let the kids play while we talked. Lunch was quickly consumed.
My daughter, being more out going, disappeared into the maze of tunnels that wound above our heads. My son on the other hand, crawled through the plastic lion’s head to play with metal keyboard on the wall. Soon, my daughter had made friends with some of the other kids, while my son happily plunked out tunes by himself.
After a while another little boy wandered through the lion’s head and over to where my son was playing. He also began pushing buttons playing the toddler version of music. With a frown on his little face my son looked up at the new boy and very clearly stated, “You aren’t my friend.”
From the tone in his voice it was obvious he wasn’t trying to be mean. He sounded a little confused and as if he were trying to clarify something for someone. It was like the preschool version of I think you have mistaken me for someone else.
My friends all heard him too since we were sitting at the table closest to the plastic lion’s mouth. Since then there have been quite a few times when those words have echoed through my mind. My friend Jessi has said she has experience the same thing.
When faced with a cheerful stranger who insists on speaking to me as if we are best friends, or when someone speaks to me while we are standing in a silent line. Often I will be pulled from wherever I was inside my own head. During that moment of confusion while I am still trying to adjust to the regular world, my brain offers up the words “You’re not my friend.”I never say it of course, but for that small bit of time I completely empathize with that puzzled blonde haired little boy playing music to himself in the McDonald’s play place.
There are some days when I can’t stand to be around people, even ones I like. It just feels like everything is too loud. I have anxiety depression anyway so I don’t do well in large crowds, but sometimes I don’t do well with just two or three people around either. Especially when I just wake up and everyone tries to talk to me at once.
The words don’t make it through. I just hear voices and noise. There are times when I just want quiet. However, I don’t exactly want to be left alone either. It would be nice to be able to sit quietly with someone every now and again.
I think that is one of the reasons I like books so much. They aren’t loud but I don’t feel alone either. I need people. I need interaction. But I also need my quiet moments.
There are days were I can handle people and days when I can’t. Today is not one of the can days. When I say people, I don’t mean stupid people or mean people, I just mean people who are not very close friends or family. (Though there are days that I can’t handle anyone at all.) I am an introvert, (surprise,surprise, a lot of writers are) but I am kind of in that border line area where sometimes I can almost seem like an extrovert. I can talk to groups of strangers and enjoy myself at large gatherings….sometimes.
Then there are days like today where I was done in by talking to a cashier at the grocery store (I was only in there for about 5 minutes total) and the guy behind the counter at the post office. (I was mailing couple of letters to my friend who teaches in Japan.)
Leaving the post office I felt sick to my stomach and shaky. I’m not ill or coming down with anything. It’s just one of those days where talking to strangers makes me want to curl up in a ball and makes my head ache.
What makes it even worse is on days like this I have trouble talking too. I can force myself to speak but what comes out usually leaves the person on the receiving end needing more information. Like at the post office. Instead of saying “I would like to mail these letters to Japan please.” What came out is “I need to send these to Japan but I’ve never mailed anything over seas before.” Both too much and not enough info. The guy at the counter took it in stride and was nice and everything but I know my face was blending in with my red scarf. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough and he had to call me back for my receipt which only made me feel worse.