Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Daily 5 Revisited - Day 31

Today's Daily 5:

  1. the freedom to roll over and go back to sleep when I woke up too early after a rough night of sleep and dreams
  2. knocking a particularly annoying item off my to do list
  3. texting throughout the day with various far-away friends
  4. an unexpected email in response to one I sent, that helped clarify some issues and gave me much to think about
  5. a lovely skype date with a good friend, where we actually talked about heart stuff. so good.

In Writing or In Person

After I posted my daily 5 post last night, with a little bit of an explanation of why making those lists moves and changes me, I got to thinking about how there are a number of areas in my life right now, where I'm involved with newer groups or relational settings, and how little of myself I feel like is being expressed in those settings at this point.

And then I opened my twitter account and wrote the following two successive tweets:

"I have to laugh when I publish a blog post and I realize how well you have to know me before my written self and my in person self match up"(from here)


"My in person self is reserved unless I'm comfortable. If I'm comfortable, the intellectual writer, thinker, prayer and Jesus lover emerges." (from here)

I'm still thinking about this topic this morning - about how in new relationships (with some exceptions) it tends to take a very long time for my most true self to appear and find expression.

Part of that comes from the introversion.  Often new relationships begin in group settings, and group settings have never been my forte. They intimidate me.  I don't like being the center of attention, so unless I am very, very comfortable that it is safe to expose myself in even a minor way to everyone in that group, I'll likely remain quiet, sit near the back, and tend towards preferring invisibility wherever possible.  I'm not shy, really.  If you ask directly I'll likely answer.  But I'm also comfortable with not needing to be the one who answers (the exception to this being the times in my life that I've been in a teaching or leadership role), and in fact I rather prefer it that way.

Part of it comes from that thing about safety. In the past I felt that to not immediately put everything on the table was a sort of lie of omission, and I couldn't stomach that idea.  I've exposed parts of myself in the past in settings that I knew might be less than safe, and I've paid a price for that.  As I've gotten older, and had some good therapy, I've learned about things like boundaries, and valuing myself enough to be careful with what and how I share myself, recognizing that the whole world doesn't need to know the deepest parts of my heart - that I can choose to reveal those things to a select few, and that in making that choice it is not living a falsehood, but rather seeing myself as a person who was created as a valuable child of God.

I'm remembering numerous times in the past where someone who has known me in person for quite some time discovers my writing (something that is admittedly harder to do these days, since I do far less of it in any sort of public forum) and then comes to me and asks some variation of the question "Where did this come from? Who are you????"

And so it makes me smile, and sometimes just a bit frustrated to ponder how my written self expresses the deeper parts of me that often take a very long time to emerge in person.  And it makes me smile in a bigger way to consider that several of my closest friends are those who met me in writing long before they met me in person.  Because they already knew the deep parts of me, we skipped that awkward stage, and it was and is a lovely way to begin a friendship, at least for my introverted self.

And I'm smiling because I know about myself that in person it takes me a while, and because those tweets last night sprang from a place of frustration over a number of arenas in my life right now where I feel hidden and unknown and the process of relationship building just doesn't quite seem to be clicking.  It sprang from a genuine wrestle with trusting safety, and from a place of impatience with the process of relationship building.  It sprang from a place of recognizing that there are a number of deep things going on in my heart and life right now, and feeling frustrated with knowing how and where to express those in ways that are safe, and will nurture them, rather than yanking them up by the roots.  And it sprang from a loneliness for local friends who know me in the deeper ways.

I'm the same person in person as the person who writes, but it takes a while for the two personas to catch up with each other.  And that makes me smile, and makes me impatient, and gives me hope (when I stop to consider the lovely relationships that do match).