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journeying to self-acceptance

May 5, 2011

As I drove home from my science writing class at The Writer’s Center last night, I realized that traveling not-inconsiderable distances in pursuit of learning opportunities is a habit for me, rather than an unusual occurrence. When I’ve found a situation that will help me grow as a person, or supplement my skill set, I don’t let inconvenient distances impede me.

The first time I drive out to such a place, part of my mind jitters with nerves: my car will break down on the way, I won’t be able to find a place to park,  etc., etc. But as I think back over my travels, I’ve rarely had such problems, and they were generally fixable.

I’m getting better and better at presenting myself as a highly-social introvert who is comfortable in her own skin. Oddly enough, I started learning these skills by attending numerous professional conferences. The first few, all out-of-state and meeting complete strangers, were brutal. But I persisted, and eventually I figured out how to mingle enough that I found interesting people to talk to, how to make memorable connections, and how to avoid sensory overload.

I can now strike up a conversation with a total stranger without any fear or shyness. I don’t worry how I’m coming across, whether I’m impressive or not. We don’t ever really know what anyone thinks of us; we only know what they tell us that they think. In any case, I’m curious, about that as well as many other things, but I don’t expect I’ll ever know the answer. Mystery entices me. If it were possible to know everything, I wouldn’t want to.

So, long distance journeys I’ve made to meet people, learn skills, or explore a topic…

  • science writing class, Bethesda, 53 mile drive (1-way)
  • hyperbolic crochet coral reef project, Washington DC, ~60 miles by car & Metro
  • volunteering with MDNR, Annapolis, 53 mile drive
  • Potomac Fiber Arts Guild meetings, Potomac, 62 miles
  • weaving lessons on a floor loom, Arcadia IN (from Indpls), 41 mile drive
  • botany class at a private college, Franklin IN, 29 mile drive
  • 1 year attending Purdue as a biology major, West Lafayette IN, 66 mile drive
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