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sociability and groups

March 6, 2013

There are so many activities that other people only seem to do in groups, not by themselves. For many years, I felt like I was missing out, because I can’t seem to get the hang of (having an enjoyable experience within) groups. But now I think the issue is more complex than it appears.

I was raised by extroverts, and my family of origin as a whole is mostly extroverts. So it’s very normal for all of them to be around other people all the time. Interacting with other people all the time.

Lately I’ve been wondering if part of my intense fear of abandonment wasn’t actually about abandonment per se, but just about being not with other people. To my mother, being with just one other person (like, say, just me, as a kid) is a lot like being . . . invisible? Dead? Buried alive? Without even that one other person, therefore — in other words, solitude — probably is the worst thing she can imagine. Maybe feels like being annihilated (?). I don’t know; I’m guessing.

It’s been more than 6 weeks since I broke off my 3 major friendships. I feel . . . lighter, freer. I think I feel more myself than I have felt since I was Hibby (the first time), 40 years ago. Or even further back, when I was tiny.

I like the idea of having company to do things I want to do, but generally, being with other people is more problematic than it is . . . encouraging? Inspiring? I’m not sure what word I want here.

The problem I’ve struggled with for a long time is that I want to fully inhabit my bodymind, and I want to use it fully. When I’m out walking, sometimes I hop or skip. Sometimes I twirl around in circles. Sometimes I walk while balancing on curbs; sometimes I walk backwards, or backwards down a hill, on curbs. I hug trees. I talk to birds and squirrels and flowers.

Even something that’s not physical activity is sort of tricky. Like when I wore the colorful hairbands, to make pigtails. Spouse is a guy, and is fairly conservative in what he will wear, and his hair is short anyway, so he himself would not wear pigtails (or braids, or a ponytail, or anything “weird”). He didn’t tell me not to wear them; he didn’t overtly discourage me from wearing them. But he didn’t think they were fun. He didn’t smile or a chuckle when he saw them. Even in the privacy of our apartment, where there is no issue with social appropriateness, he didn’t . . . get . . . why I would want to do that.

He is not a partner, when I do creative things with my physical appearance. And he is not a partner when I do creative things with my body’s movements. (He would never hop or skip. Or walk on a curb at all. He would never ever twirl, or dance while walking.)

Spouse will not partner with me to do these things. But no one will partner with me to do these things. No one has ever partnered with me to do these things.

When I’m with other people, and especially when I’m in groups, doing anything physically out of the ordinary is not just frowned upon, but it’s almost taboo.

Which is really weird because I know my mother is tactile & kinesthetic, like I am. At least one of my cousins is, and possibly two or three of them. My sister might be. My grandfather (mother’s father) probably was.

They all must have yearned to move. But in their big clumps of extroverts, unless they’re doing an activity like waterskiing or riding bikes or something like that, they don’t make “extraneous” movements, like hopping or skipping or dancing. They don’t clap their hands with delight.

They don’t . . . play.

If I’m going to surrender my solitude, I want a partner who will play with me. Someone who is not concerned about “this looks silly”, or “what are people thinking?” or anything like that.

Except that I don’t know anybody like that.

And when people get in groups, they get even more inhibited, even more conformist. Even more predictable, boring, d.u.l.l.

Maybe new friends or playmates would help.

But I think this time of solitude is doing me a world of good. Because when I’m solitary, the social judgment of my behavior by people I don’t know does not matter to me at all. It doesn’t inhibit me. I don’t care.

(With my parents, we kids were never allowed to say “I don’t care.” If my parents cared about something, by definition (in their minds) that required us kids to also care. But of course, it was only a 1-way street.)

No one is, or even could be, harmed by me hopping or skipping. Or dancing or twirling. Or wearing pigtails in a hair style more usually seen on 6 year old girls.

Or wearing pink, or yellow. Or having a yellow and sparkly car.

I need to do these things. I am going to keep doing these things.

It would be nice to find a partner, though. Someone who brings their own ideas. Someone who adds something. I wonder where I could look for someone like that?


3 Comments leave one →
  1. Kendra Dahl permalink
    November 28, 2013 12:31

    I would enjoy spending time with you… walking the curb, twirling pirouttes, dancing to a passing beat… I am one adult who loves to play! It gives me (and others) so much joy!

    • November 28, 2013 18:02

      It’s too bad we don’t live closer to each other so that that could be possible. Happy Thanksgiving!

      • Kendra Dahl permalink
        November 28, 2013 19:00

        I often deeply wish we did live closer !!! Happy Thamsgiving you you too. I am so thankful for you!!!

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