My Social Dilemma

There was a time when my mom was a young child, ignorant of many worldly concepts. And she, like most of us, was never taught early on in life how to use a fork and knife the right way when eating.

“I was sitting there,” she later recalled, explaining to my pouting younger brother after his first attempts to use eating utensils. “Just waiting for someone to come and teach me how to use a knife properly.”

Years later I still remember that comment. And I’ve never related so much to it until now.

[Don’t worry, I know how to use a fork and knife the right way. (Even though I still cannot seem to break the habit of using the knife with my left hand instead of my right.)]

But I found this comment striking my mind at a deeper level than simply an observation about dining room table accessories.

In many situations, I find myself unsure of what to do. I can get by but do not know how to get by in the way I ought to. Much like my mother, I often find myself sitting, just waiting for someone to come along and teach me how to do things the right way.

More specifically, I feel unsure of myself in social situations. Whenever I’m around people I find myself overthinking little things such as how to stand, like, which leg I should put my weight on, or if holding my water bottle is necessary or not. My head fills with an infinite amount of infinitesimal thoughts such as these, and they fill me with anxiety and dread.

Not knowing if the way I’m smiling is brightening another’s day or filling it with annoyance frustrates me. Not knowing if my enthusiasm is bringing people closer together or drifting me further away from that state of comfort I long to taste. That state, that moment when I don’t find myself wondering if the way my face is arranged is making people misunderstand me. That conversation where words flow out of my mouth naturally as though they haven’t been stewing inside of me for ten minutes straight.

That moment when my mind is a lot lighter and I feel like I don’t need the comfort I get from slouching and not being seen. The point where the dangers I could never face become a part of my ever-expanding comfort zone. When everything seems to flow from one person to the other is the moment when I find that I’m not trying anymore.

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