You Know I’m Not a Saint

Title from Kathy’s Song by Apoptygma Bezerk (Remix – VNV Nation)

 
I am guilty of being an over-planner.  Its true.
You guys are totally shocked, right?

 

Confession

I have a spreadsheet (color coded, even) that tells me my daily schedule. I track my food intake and exercise output on Livestrong dot com. I have a Google calendar linked to three other calendars (my sweeties, my school calendar and my BFF’s) wherein I track my daily life as well.  I sync my calendar(s) to my phone and it sends me reminders to do things.

Perhaps I should use a stronger term than "over-planner"?

 

In spite of all this redundancy, I still manage to forget things. This is because I am way cool, y’all. Things like checking my email or I dunno – participating in the daily blog that I signed up for.

*sigh*

What this means is that I miss things like Jane from Jane in Her Infinite Wisdom telling me that she’d given me the Liebster Blog award.  I had NO idea what that was, or what it meant until I went over to Jane’s blog. (I’m so cool, Brewster.) This is what she said:

“Liebster” is a German word meaning dearest and the award is given to up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers.

Here’s how it works:

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.

2. Reveal your Top 5 blogs (with under 200 followers) and let them know by leaving comments on their blogs.

3. Post the Award on your blog.

4. Enjoy the love of some of the most supportive people on the Internet.

Color me floored.
Quite literally, I am without the ability to express how much this means to me. I don’t about other bloggers but sometimes for me? I write these words – all these words – into a page and they blaze there, black on shadowy white and no one sees them1 or cares that they’re there.

And to have someone as thoroughly nifty as Jane present the award to me? That’s just Squee Sauce on the Awesome Cake.  Thank you so very much, ma’am. I will be tripping about the house for days with a goofy-ass grin plastered on my face.
*TRUMPET FANFARE*
And now, in no particular order — Announcing my Top 5 (under 200 follower) blogs

1. Krista & Jess: Us Two & Our Motley Crew
These are wonderful, wonderful women who blog almost every day about their amazing life in the PNW. Go for the recipes. Stay for the chickens and the cookie-eating dinosaur.

2. Bottlecaps and Broken Bits
Eat, drink, travel. The photographic travel log of a foodie. Or the foodagraphic log of travel junkie? A bit of both. A couple of brothers travelling the world, eating its cuisine, being mesmerized by the beauty they find in both. Go and read.

3. Tempest in a Tibetan Bowl
Gorgeous and inspiring words from a woman who explores every corner of her psyche.  I live in awe of her writing and her courage.

4. The Dead Console Society
AJ tells you like it is – from gaming to writing to having your sweetest doggy companion pass away. He strips off the BS and hands your heart back to you.

5. Phoenix Living
The writerly times of Reesa Brown, an author and astonishingly strong woman in Central Texas.

 

I read these every day, as they post. I encourage you to do the same.

Of course, there are many more blogs that I love. I think that this award has sparked me to finally put together my “BlogRoll”  – a collection of the people whose words mean something to me.

To the folks I nominated, feel under no obligation to do the same. It is a nice way to shine a light on someone’s work that you admire but it is in no way a mandatory thing. Thank you for the words you write. Thank you for the insight into all the things that you do, see, endure, enjoy.  Y’all are inspiring.

 

 

 

1 – perception is a bitch sometimes, innit?

Introversy

Today, I was going to write some fiction for you guys. Really, I was. I had ideas circling around m’brain about Gaspard, the mad scientist from the “Julia Child, Zombie Hunter” fiction. He’s totally a Baron and a foodie, doncha know. I have the best mental image of his particular weirdness.

But, I was distracted.

See, every morning, before anyone gets up, I sit down with my first cup1 of coffee and read my email. Email includes a daily (if they’ve posted that day) offering from a couple of blogs that I follow. People whose words have impacted me, have amused me, have shown me something new. One of these is a woman named Desi. She writes about her life, inner and outer. Her words are like yoga for the brain.

Anywho. This morning, she wrote about the uncomfortableness2 of being a non-social type with a social kid.

That noise you hear is the OMG, Someone Else? Bell ringing madly. Because that is a disease that I suffer from, here in The Home Office.


Cast of Characters

THE GIRL
A (now) 12-year-old social butterfly. Beautiful. Artistic. Talented. Friendly. She is able and willing to make friends with many, many people. They are willing to make friends right back.

ME
Mostly introverted but with extrovert tendencies, esp. if surrounded by what I consider “my tribe.” Has trouble with large groups of strangers.

Do you know the …

Wait. I said “the” as if there is just one. Let me restart.

Do you know what one of the problems of being the introverted parent of an extroverted child is? Yup. Birthday parties. Birthday parties thrown by school chums. Especially if you – O Introverted Parent – don’t exactly fit into the local schema.
Let’s take an example, shall we?

Blue Hair. I did not lie.

You’re an agnostic or an atheist. You don’t listen to either news radio OR to the local pop/country/rock stations. Your music is a wee bit different.  You don’t watch TV nor do you care to. You read. A lot. A whole, whole lot. Your hair is blue. You know what the words “aggro” and “THAC0” mean. More importantly, you can calculate the latter in your head.
Now, top off that (perceived) Parental FailCake with Social Anxiety Awesome-Sauce and the Crunchy Bits of “Small talk – what’s that?”
You know what that gives you, right?   Portrait of non-traditional parent.

*waves*

And your kid, whom you love more than ice cream3, has been invited to a classmate’s birthday party. What do you do now?

Well, you go. Of course. You suck it up and you go. You put on your jeans, studded belt, decide that the Zombie Bait Tshirt you scored off Woot is probably inappropriate and wear your favoritest stompy boots to help give yourself a dose of courage.

Do Not Wear. Not even if the party is Halloween-themed, OK?

At the do, you find yourself in a corner, looking out at all these people so very different from you. They all look exactly as you imagine your parents wished you did. None of them approaches you. You gather your courage in your hands and attempt to make small talk. This generates a strained smile and a murmured, “Oh, I see….something! Be right back!” scurrying away.  All of these parents are perfectly dressed, perfectly coiffed and OMG, perfectly boring. Their conversation4 seems to consist of endless rounds of what happened on last night’s television show.
You find yourself utterly grateful that you have friends who do understand you. Folks who grok what “grok” is, who understand how movie-quotes add spice to a conversation, who know that a low DEX means trouble for your rogue.

Meanwhile, your baby is running amok with a huge group of kids in a shrill frenzy of cake-induced hysteria. Totally having a blast. They’re all following her lead because she is The Idea Girl. She comes up with the games and the fun. During the clown5 performance, when one of the other kids heckles Fuzzy the Freaking Scary Friendly, she puts her finger to her lips. The other kid obeys because well, she asked him to.  When it is finally time to leave, the other kids group pile on her. This adds another fifteen minutes to your escape.

And its all OK. Because she had fun. She kisses your cheek, leaving a purple smear of icing as you strap her into the car seat.  On the way home, she craps out, asleep before five minutes of travel have passed.

It was a good party.

~After Thoughts~

I have social anxiety, esp. in situations where I am not in control of the environment6.
My anxiety is usually controllable through deep breathing and a focus on knowing that I am ultimately the arbiter of my own location. There are folks whose anxieties or phobias are so severe that they’re not able to “just suck it up” or breathe through it. You have probably seen them at mandatory events or family gatherings. They’re the ones off by themselves, sometimes with their body in profile to the main event7.  They aren’t being anti-social. They are being as social as they can in the situation they find themselves in.

Social anxiety/phobia is not simple shyness. It is not just being an introvert, although those two conditions often go hand-in-hand.  It is a painful inability to handle all the flux that a mob of strangers can generate.
I have no answers or profound thoughts about either social anxiety or introverted-ness. Except maybe a plea to the extroverts in the audience: see that weird girl over there? The one all by herself looking longingly at the general hubbub of activity? Yeah. That one. Walk over to her, smile. Say a gentle “hello, welcome.”
I can virtually guarantee that she will appreciate it.

1 – or three.
2 – Shut up, spellchecker.
3 – A conversation between The Girl and myself, many years ago. She decided that she loved me “more than ice cream” – which for a 4 year old? Is a whole, whole bunch.
4 – Of course you eavesdrop.
5 – Really? A freaking clown? What ELSE you going to throw at me, Universe? ‘Cause I’m at max levels of tolerance, here.
6 – i.e., at a stranger’s house, or in a large crowd at a huge public event.
7 – Because head-on interaction is harder.