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Yes, once again I have plagiarized Toad lyrics in a title. In this case, the lyrics come from one of their new songs, “California Wasted.” My husband would say it’s not really plagiarism, because I’ve said this line to him any number of times, long  before I heard the song. And there it is. Toad and/or Glen songs have always had lyrics that seemed as if they came straight from the inside of my head. It’s no wonder I’ve loved them for so long.

I meant to write this yesterday, but life got crazy, as it does, and by the time I had a moment to myself I crashed and burned. I’ve been thinking about friendship lately. It’s not an unusual topic for me to dwell on, as it’s an area I feel like I struggle with. I am not a particularly outgoing person. I have a loud voice and that occasional filter problem I mentioned earlier, so sometimes people make the mistake of thinking I’m an extrovert. Not so much. I often (read: constantly) feel like I don’t fit with most people. Unless someone is psychic and takes pains to correct that belief, I will assume that opinion is shared. I do not put myself out there well. Making overtures to people I don’t know makes me squirm, so I avoid it. It isn’t that I’m anti-social; I am actually happiest when I have a lot to do and as many people as possible to do it with. But getting to that point is very challenging for me. I will never invite myself along with a group, ever. I sometimes feel like this insecurity negatively affects my kids, who to a certain extent depend on me to be their social director. I feel bad about it, but I don’t know how to resolve it. I’ve tried acting as if I’m more socially comfortable, and it’s beyond awkward.

I am, not surprisingly, the kind of person who only has a few close friends. I am envious of the more extroverted and outgoing among us, but I can’t emulate them any more than I could randomly start speaking Swahili. I know it’s partly a learned trait, but that doesn’t mean it would be an easy one to pick up. I am a good friend, once I get to that place. I am the kind of person who shows up. Example: I can’t count the number of times I’ve helped friends move. I’m not a flake, either. If I say I’ll do something then I’ll do it. On the flip side, I can’t understand people who don’t operate the same way, those who think any excuse is a good one. My feelings get hurt easily by this sort of thing; it makes me feel like I don’t matter. I am the kind of person to whom people always say things like, “I knew you’d understand,” but I don’t.  I don’t treat people that way, and I don’t understand how others can. I’m typically generous, not just with my time, but with my money (when I have it). In fact, one of the things I miss most about having money is being able to do randomly nice things for other people with it. I used to give great gifts. These are some of my better qualities, but obviously, I have flaws. Sometimes when my feelings are hurt I’ll lash out, and occasionally I will hurt someone more than I intend. That filter problem has been known to muck up my friendships as well. I never mean to hurt anyone, but my characteristic bluntness has been known to offend people. I have gotten a bit better with age; I sometimes actually pause and think before speaking now. But like so much else, it’s a work in progress.

The thing is, good friendships require balance. That’s been particularly difficult during this long period of financial hardship. I feel like I’m always the one who’s in need of something. I’m not talking about money, per se, but attention. I feel like I am an emotional drain, or like a real-life Eeyore, walking around with a dark cloud over my head. The reality, though, is far less adorable than Eeyore. People sometimes apologize when they vent to me, as if I have so much to contend with that they shouldn’t add to it with their stuff. The truth is, it’s good to be reminded that everyone has problems, and healthy – necessary even – to turn the focus outward for awhile. Spending too much time in my own head is never a good idea. Things always seem worse when my brain magnifies them.

I just reread this, and it feels disjointed. There literally is too much in my head right now. I can’t seem to organize it properly. Oh, well. Tomorrow is another day. Yep, more plagiarism.

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