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On Being a Socially Awkward Introvert In Th’ Big City

Well, I bet you like being closer to everything, now, right?”

He seemed just a hair on the horrified side when I went, “NO.” Though I may have spat that out a little more quickly than I’d intended. Quite honestly all the “busy” gets to me a lot. All the EVERYTHING RIGHT HERE gets to me a lot. I have trouble with stress and unwinding because when I step outside I’m hearing traffic, sirens, people yelling and talking- and not horny owls doing freaky courtship calls, not coyotes howling in the woods that creep all around. No tree frog noises here, no peaceful eerie stillness of a predator stalking nearby. Just busy. Lots and lots of busy. Kurt takes me to cemeteries to center and calm. With work and life and everything else, I just don’t have the time to get out to the woods nearby- and there are woods nearby, I know where they are, and believe me, I deeply, deeply feel the pull to them. It’s hard, sometimes, for me to remain peppy, motivated, and cheerful, because to be honest- I’ve been deeply mourning a loss I couldn’t define. That loss, though, is being able to just be. To just be alone. The woods have their own version of busy and that version is something I love. Urban areas have so much need. The woods sustain themselves. I felt this was kind of starkly illustrated in the differences between the deer. Is that too dramatic? I don’t know. I only know in an area that seems lush with abundance- the differences in the deer population stunned me a little. They’re literally everywhere in Jefferson Barracks, but they look so very different from the occasional, deep breath awe inducing sight of the ones I’d see in the woods.

You can take a gal out of the woods, but...
You can take a gal out of the woods, but…

It’s weird to me, to have people show up randomly on my porch. Weirder still they’re usually bearing some kind of person or animal I need to take care of or do something for. I enjoy that, don’t get me wrong. It’s just odd to me. The welcome wagon, as it were, was a neighbor two houses down walking right in to my house, and then changing my toddler’s diaper. I like her, she is friends with my landlady, so she’s got happy memories of this house and I understood.

And she changed a diaper for me, which, well, heck. Am I gonna say no to a friendly person changing a diaper? Not really. I was a bit startled.

I didn’t mean to be rude to the guy who’d asked me if I liked being closer to things. I do mean to be rude whenever someone uses the phrase “closer to civilization”, because, not to put too fine a point on it: much of what I’ve seen since moving here is not really what I’d call “civilized” at all. Only, I have felt like I’m not supposed to talk about that. I’m only supposed to talk about how blessed and happy I am- the thing is, I am blessed, I am happy. I’m just not blind and I’m definitely not an “urban” type.

We tried very hard to find a place in a less “busy” area. Finding one that would house my ex, my sons, a bachelor roommate, myself, my partner, and all my animals? Real problematic. I refused to live anywhere that required my giving up any of my family or hinder my ability to aid in animal rescue work. So, we ended up smack on in South County, in a nice house that I can throw a rock out the back door and hit a neighbor’s house. I’m mostly okay with this. It kind of sucks when I’m trying to read and keep getting asked, “Whatcha readin’ Fifty Shades?” “WHY you readin’? School?”

Erm…aaaah, well, this is awkward. And for the record, no, I’ll never read nor do I plan to read 50 Shades. It was a collection of TS Eliot essays. For me. Not for school. Just for peace or something. Who the hell are you and why are you bugging me when my nose is in a book?

My first year attempting urban gardening wasn’t a total disaster, I am also happy with that. I’m not as happy with it as I could be, but I learned enough to do better next year. I also learned it’s most certainly not a seasonal thing- this is a year round thing and if you think otherwise: you’re nuts. Nuts and berries. That you had to buy ’cause you sure as shit didn’t get to grow ’em.

Trying to balance the fact that we were supposed to move, a job was supposed to happen that did not, and I am not focusing on homeschooling, gardening, and activism- yet- but rather, working overtime, struggling to balance it all, deeply missing a less “busy” place, trying to reconcile a perhaps overly idealistic and naive “this is what will happen!” verses the reality- yeah, well, that’s hard. It sucks. I don’t like it. It feels an awful lot like standing up, being all YAY I’M DOING I- and then having my legs kicked out from under me, landing on my ass and not really knowing what hit me. I’m extremely fortunate that I do in fact, have people who’ll reach down, grab my hand and pull me back up again. Or, who, well, being right there with me- will readily point out how funny it is to have landed so soundly on one’s ass.

Really, it’s okay. It’s all okay. A bit jarring and discombobulating- but it’s okay. I’m learning to be a lot less reserved and open in person- learning to actually interact with people, and also learning that, well, want in one hand, shit in the other also applies to a desire for a normalcy that I’m pretty sure at this point, is a completely made up concept. We have come to this point of defining normal for ourselves, and that’s weird, but good.

I doubt rather highly I will ever be totally used to the city or comfortable here and I certainly won’t ever be referring to this as “civilized” any time soon without smirking. Definitely not, as events of late have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt- like I needed any proof at all- that it’s far from it.

But one thing I know, beyond all else- comfortable is where you lose your ability to grow. Being uncomfortable? Pushes you forward and that’s really all I can ask for.

UPDATE: I believe the plan is now to go to JB about once a week with a box o goodness for the deer. Particularly in the winter time. Heh. Victoria of the Cemetery Deer. I think I like it.

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