Posts tagged ‘shyness’
i was watching the dvd commentary for the tv show, “parenthood,” and it talked about how every show is based on a fantasy. i think the fantasy of “parenthood” is being close to your brothers and sisters when you grow up.
the fantasy that hooks me every time is super-close friendship– particularly the kind that bonds a bunch of girls or women together– “the baby-sitters club,” “little women,” “sisterhood of the traveling pants,” “the fabulous five,” “sleepover friends,” “golden girls,” “designing women,” “the gilmore girls,” and of course, “sex and the city.” i think i could get into something similar about guys, but that rarely happens. “the broken hearts club?” “queer as folk?”… “how i met your mother”?… but anyway, the kind of “talk about anything over brunch, be there when you are sad, make each other laugh, know each other so well” friendship is my big tv fantasy.
with moving around so much, i haven’t had a lot of it. i definitely had it in college, but since then, it takes so long to get close to someone, and all that grownup busy-ness crap that keeps you from collapsing on each other’s couches at 2 in the morning and going out for brunch on a tuesday morning and just stopping by makes it hard.
part of it is that, although i am pretty good at reaching out when i am sad, i’m also bad about what to do with other people’s needs. my social awkwardness makes it difficult for me to reach out and plan things for fear of bothering people… there’s the quaker meeting which has been wonderful, and as a big, rich, thick safety net of wonderful people, it’s wonderful, but after 5 1/2 years, i’m still quaker bff-less. which is probably okay.
but anyway, things have been really hard for my girlfriend and me since 2012 started. not our relationship, that’s really amazing, but some crappy circumstances have hit us really hard. and so, i’ve been calling people. “can you come over? we are sad.” and the people i’ve called have been wonderful. it turns out i do have “sex and the city” friends. they’re my girlfriend’s friends too– in fact that is what has made me brave enough to call them. because i know she is wonderful and always trust that of course people will be there for her. maybe i’m a bit more like big at the end of the first movie when he calls her friends up to surprise her and they all eat together, but that’ll work, too.
(actually, we’ve decided we are charlotte and harry. “not all day every day. but every day.”)
my best friend and i used to hang out with this entertaining younger girl who was the daughter of my friend’s parents’ friends… yes. and one evening, she hilariously regaled us with a description of this chicken alarm clock that sang a funny song.
somehow, in college, i wound up telling someone, friend thirty-seven, about this friend telling me about this alarm clock… and SHE HAD THAT ALARM CLOCK. when you are in early adulthood, that is pure magic.
another thing about friend thirty-seven that was magic was her cat. we were next door neighbors for a semester, and during that semester, i got to cat-sit once, which was fantastic.
she also had a really fun boyfriend who came and visited…
and… that’s sort of it. except even though she’s shy and mysterious, and i’m not sure how many other interactions we had, she’s one of my favorite people.
ok. new college.
new college was sort of a haven for weirdos. that was a big part of its charm for me. there were normal people who came, judged and/or were judged, and left. but then there were also the special few normal-seeming people who for some reason managed to thrive there socially, always being friendly to those of us who were waving our freak flags high.
to me, friend thirty-six, “amy,” was one of those rare special people. and ironically, even though she was always friendly and she ran with a crowd of people who weren’t quite normal, i was always a little nervous that somehow her theoretical normalcy and my obvious oddness would clash, and so we never really bonded in the way that i think we could have– because if you thrive at new college, you probably have some charmingly odd characteristics.
since new college, she has married her college sweetheart and apparently been doing roller derby. her smile still seems bright and friendly, at least in facebook photos. maybe someday we’ll talk and i’ll either discover she’s weirder than i thought or i’m not as weird as i thought i was.
lucky thirteen, “alice,” is a woman from my quaker meeting. her laugh and smile always makes me think she is younger than she is, which is actually pretty common for me in my meeting and in san francisco in general.
she’s really really smart in a way that one could find intimidating if they wanted. she thinks hard and long about things, and her insights are always very rich. she’s also very kind and caring and that shows up hugely in her interactions with adults and kids.
one little crimp, though, in our relationship (and as i write this, i’m thinking about how it’s funny that i am about to discuss with her this crimp via an email in which i ask her permission to put it on the internet for all the world to see. oh, the times we live in!) has to do with what i think is our shynesses. early in both of our times coming to quaker meeting, we were attending some “worship sharing” sessions. (worship sharing is a quaker term for a specific form of conversation about spiritual matters. questions are posed and participants speak out of the silence, generally only speaking once to the question until all have spoken.) we were getting to know each other really well. one day, during quaker meeting, i came over and sat next to her. this was the first time i’d ever sat next to anyone. i’d had people sit next to me, but for some reason i viewed quaker meeting as something like a public bus (stephen colbert would understand) or a school cafeteria and that you shouldn’t sit next to people you didn’t arrive with until there were no other seats available. so, at the end of the meeting, we hugged, and i said, “don’t worry. i didn’t mean to sit next to you.” as soon as i said it, i realized the ridiculousness of the statement and my assumptions up until that point. and i saw it in her face, too. “i liked that you sat next to me,” she said, puzzled by why i was stating that it was accidental.
i am not sure i’ve ever completely recovered from that. she’s welcomed me and talked with me, and we’ve been on long car trips together, but i think i broke the burgeoning bond that day and have never known quite how to get it back. obviously, posting about it all over the internet will help things.
i went to a college full of brilliant people, but man, those who studied science were always the smartest. friend twenty-six, amanda d., is one of those extra-smart science folks who’s kept studying and learning and being smart.
the beginning of our friendship was pretty awkward. she was good friends with and then roommates with a girl i was in love with and dated in college. due to shyness, awkwardness, and miscommunication all around, we didn’t have a fabulously good start. but eventually she became friends with others in my circle and things started to get a lot better. she has great senses of humor, style, and fun, and we share a love of young adult lit, so that’s fun, too. she’s one of the amazing, lucky people who’s been married at our college, which is a stunning magical location. at college i always admired her faith and wished i was brave enough to have the deep conversations about it that i wanted to.
but most importantly, she’s a dancing queen.
it is a cold, drizzly seattle night. we are standing outside of a pub that reminds me of chaucer, where i’ve just had the first beer i’ve ever enjoyed, and we are discussing the differences between seattle, portland, and olympia, in preparation for friend twenty-one’s impending move. i am in love with seattle, not wanting to be anywhere smaller, but friend twenty-one, who i will refer to here as “alissa nielsen,” is talking about how portland is a great blend between seattle and olympia, in her opinion, just the right size. i am skeptical.
the reason we’ve been getting together is to be part of a small writing group of people who are part of the building where the zine library is located. we’ve jokingly all decided we will be the next bloomsbury group, except, sadly, the group will disband after only a few meetings. friend twenty-one will move to portland, and the next (and last, so far) i will see her is at a poetry reading at evergreen, where she gets to read from her very own chapbook. i am oddly quite proud, beaming at her as, with her poetry, she tells us tales of her life, including the one about how it’s hard to follow jack kerouac’s example when you are a young woman, how different it is, and how much more it can suck.
friend twenty-one has kind, bright eyes with distractingly pretty eyelashes that make her open smile seem extra genuine somehow. she is thoughtful and real, and one of the smartest people and best writers i know. she’s definitely in that category of facebook friends that i wish i was still near in real life so that we could be closer friends. at the same time, while i don’t think “intimidating” is the right word for her, my admiration for her writing talent has made me shyer than i’d like to be.