22 October 2012

Community ; or Why Whimsy's an Idiot; Incidentally, Words are Important but Deceptive

 I should take the time to point out that I'm not writing this post for sympathy points or any other fishing-for-compliments reason. I feel like I owe a few of my closest friends an explanation, and that it would be helpful to give that explanation to everyone while I'm at it. Word economy, don't you know?

In this particular season of my life, I am frequently reminded of just why God said that it's not good for man to be alone. I'm going to take some literary license and assume He was also thinking that women have the same need for companionship. I hope you don't find that too much of a stretch.

Feeling alright? Good.

So the reason I say that I am reminded of the very first "Not Good" in the Bible is because, to speak frankly, I am feeling remarkably lonely.

Lonely?! Whimsy? How could Whimsy possibly be lonely?! She's working two incredible jobs for fifty hours a week, all hours of which she is directly interacting with any and all customers which appear in the store? Impossible!

But you see, my friends, that is exactly the point. Just as a thin person can be in love with cheesecake; just as someone can wake up on a rainy Monday morning with a grin on their face and a giggle hiding in the corner of their mouth; just as you can remember someone you've never met; so, too, can I be lonely while working with a crowd of people.

You sort of get the idea that I love being a walking contradiction, don't you? :D

Community. It all comes down to community. The messy, awkward, groovy, and oft-maligned group of humanity with which we all dwell. The people who know us too well, or not well enough. The ones who share gossip through prayer requests, but genuinely mean all their prayers. The people who aggravate, anticipate, and intimidate but who all, somehow, manage to form that close bond inside the community. This is not your town. It is not your school. It is not found at your job or hiding under your bed, waiting to grab your ankles as you take that running leap guaranteed to save you from the alligators.

Instead, it is found in the people who have the power to change your life and your outlook whether you like it or not. I miss my community of awesome friends and awkward friends. I miss the feeling if companionship in the midst of silence. One of my favorite memories from this summer was this one moment in August, walking home from an outing to the Asian mall with a couple of friends. This moment is cemented in my mind, because the warm gold light of a late summer afternoon was sluggishly casting shadows through the trees lining the road on which we walked in silence. Conversation had lapsed for a moment, and we three were left to the meander in our own thoughts. The warm air enveloped us in a sort if timeless state:  Why worry about speaking when, for that brief, glowing moment, you could savor the simple feeling of belonging somewhere. Shoes scraped softly on the ground, and we ambled on.

Or that other time, arriving late at the Welcome Home party of a few travelers. I sat awkwardly in the dim glow of the once-giant bonfire, listening to the people who make up my community joking and gaming in the gloom. As the fire subsided into ashes and I realized I had nothing intelligent or amusing to add to the gathering, a feeling of contentment spread across me. Sometimes it's good not to be the largest personality in a group. This is a good realization to come to, what with the number of larger-than-life people I associate with.

Now let's get to why I'm a bloody idiot. Admit it - the reason you've put up with this ramble so far is because of a morbid fascination with my countless means of self-deprecation. Mhmm. I know you too well.

Here goes.

In my circle, there is a definite preoccupation with the art and science of falling in love. According to the Bible, this is the right and good order of things, so please realize that I am not dismissing it. However, this preoccupation makes life a little difficult for the resident Man-Intimidator. Oh, you guessed that was me? How clever of you. Now, I have mixed feelings about my reputation. When most of the male friends in your life make a constant effort to remind you of - that one time you punched me when I tried to hug you- or - Geez, I was so frightened of you for the first few years I knew you - or - I would never upset you, you'd kill me - it's hard not to feel a little ... defective.

Incidentally, in my defense, physical touch is how I express affection for people, and the punch in question happened when a young man I had known a total of three months suddenly rushed in for a bear hug when I least expected it. It was sort of like having your bearded Aunt Matilda lean in for a kiss when you're three: Extremely traumatic and will definitely provoking a knee-jerk reaction.

But back to the mixed feelings. It's not that I'm pining for a delicious love affair - although I wouldn't say no to a likely prospect - it's that once in a while, it would be nice to feel ... lovable. To clarify: getting into a relationship really isn't a priority, and isn't even in the play book - but I like to feel as if it were an actual possibility. Yes, I do have ego issues.

I get this feeling of of likeability most often when I have a really, really good conversation. You know the type I'm talking about. The ones you can't stop thinking about, or that contain a joke that keeps making you smile. The sort of conversation that can give you the warm fuzzies for days. It's safe to say that, when around members of my community, my ears are open for one of these gems. Once a conversation shows its potential, I try to extend it for as long as possible - again, not just because I like my brain to be stimulated, but because it makes me feel sophisticated and suave and polished and not like the supremely awkward 19-year-old I am.

Unfortunately, in pursuit of these good conversations, I've made it a habit of coming across the wrong way to members of the opposite sex. Which, in turn, tends to contribute to my reputation of being "The Scary Lady June." Whee. The downward spiral continues. See, in my enthusiasm for great conversation and thoughtful analysis, I usually forget that my peers operate under a different paradigm, one where social flirting is actually romantic flirting; one where friendly interest is never just friendly interest; one where words no longer mean what the user intends.

The thing about words is that they are intended to mean something specific.  When we twist our language to the point where subtext is more important than context, bad things happen. Because the subtext that one person perceives is not necessarily the subtext presented by the author. Subtext is important, but doubly so is the context the actual text is presented in. The supertext, as it were.


And now it's time to bring this ramble full circle. Because of my particular brand of idiocy (egocentricity + different paradigm - brains [ does that make me a zombie?]), I am feeling a little scared of actually engaging with my community when I see them. QED: I don't live in community enough, and when I do, I'm still not living in community with them. And it's not good for us to live alone. The wheels on the bus go round and round...


  1. I understand you! I really do! It's that sort of-- "I want to have the power to reject the countless lovers that inundate me but I WISH I had the problem in the FIRST PLACE!" --feeling. Maybe I've been reading too much lately.

    I sure it will all be funny one day. Life is always funny in the end.

  2. So much awesome I agree with in this post.

    "Admit it - the reason you've put up with this ramble so far is because of a morbid fascination with my countless means of self-deprecation."
    My immediate thought: *Darn it, she's onto me.* :p

    You have a reputation as intimidating and scary? Must've missed this memo... Or never gotten on your bad side.

    Also: I hate subtext. Aren't I allowed to simply say what I mean and mean what I say?

    And that's all the unprofundities I've got. :p Actually, no. I've got one more: What? You work 50 hours a week? You're insane...

  3. Bahaha, Minstrel! I think you've been reading a little too much. ;)

    Paul - there's a certain group of friends closely related to my old speech club that got this impression their first year in speech. And then proceeded to pass it on to others. ^_^