Thursday, April 4, 2013

Spring Break Introspection

The one thing about spring break - or any time off of work, wherein you don't ever actually spend any time thinking about work - is that you have lots of time to think about other things.  Things like why you are the way you are, how come cats are alternately fascinated and terrified by the concept of an door, how come you can't manage to lose weight and when the best time to take a nap is.  And you clean things - lots of things.  But the cleaning and painting are for another post - though I am happy to share what two terrified cats look like:

Aside from terrifying cats and napping, I have been thinking about why I am the way I am.  The feeling off being alone and why I don't bother to go and date or anything of the like.  Why I would chose to have a baby on my own instead of taking the time to date.  Why I don't like who I am at times.  It is hard to realise that you have to be willing to change yourself in order to make certain you are able to be in a relationship - instead of becoming the crazy cat lady you are on your way to becoming.

Instead of becoming the cat lady, spring break gave me a bit of time to look instead.  Part of it came from watching, of all things, What Not to Wear and there was someone on there who had this complete blank look through all of the criticism part.  I realise that is what I do.  I get that blank affect to myself when I want to protect myself.  Not only am I an introvert, which makes it hard to want to go out and be with strangers in general, but I also work very hard to use a shell to protect myself.  I hate nothing more than being hurt - especially by people I like or respect or care for.  And I am an emotional person - everything hurts and can cause emotional pain.  So therefore I use a shell to protect myself so I don't get hurt.  I use this blank face that hides everything I am thinking.  I've been called on it before - generally by my director who knows what I am doing.  Usually she's asked me something and I have put on that face to protect myself from giving an immediate answer.

But I realise that I probably use that blank face more often than I am aware of.  Any time I want to protect myself or hide, I use it.  I think I am protecting myself, but really what I am doing is putting people off.  You can't read my expression or my emotions and I am not going to give you a hint so of course you aren't going to be open or friendly because you can't see me or really get to know me.  All you get is nada.

So you want to meet someone, but that requires vulnerability.  And if you are so worried about protecting yourself, you can't afford to be vulnerable.  In the end though, that vulnerability is worth it because you can spend time getting to know someone and making friends.  I am sure that lack of vulnerability has led to less friends as I get older and certainly an unwillingness to date and more time spent with cats.  I just need to get out and try.

And then, just as importantly, face it at work.  I need to be willing to show that vulnerability at work as well.  To show I am not perfect and am willing to learn.  I believe that I can learn and grow and maybe learn to be open to change.  Part of it is that I don't like being in an administrative role.  It isolates you far more and means that you don't have a lot of time to be yourself and be open to being friends.  And when you don't know a lot of people outside of work, you end up isolated.  And then you get used that isolation and so it carries over to your personal life.  Then you don't need to bother to try.  And so you become the crazy cat lady.

Hopefully acknowledging the need for change allows me to begin thinking about the change I want so I can make it.  A lot of it starts with building some self confidence in the fact that people can like me for me.  I don't need to be something, pretend,or lose wait.  Losing weight can help me build confidence, but it's not going to give me confidence alone.  I can do it.  I can lose the weight - 10 pounds a month means five months of work.  I've got to add in the exercise and I'm working on that part.  I can look good.  I can make it better.  Just one day at a time.  And taking a minute to step outside and look at myself as others might can only help as well.

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