I’ve been told by several people that I am a relatively calm, organised person and to a certain extent they are right. I try to remain calm and I certainly try to make my life easier by being organised. Unfortunately this means to any time I allow my inner panic to show, it’s not taken seriously. Truth is… I am not a calm person. I just internalise a lot, partly because I don’t like people asking me too many questions, partly because I feel the people around me have enough problems on their own, without me adding to them. Frankly, if people could hear my internal monologue (dialogue/full scale argument) at times, they’d be sure to back away…real fast. I like to blame the fact that I was born slap-bang in the heart of summer for my temper. Everything comes to boil faster when it’s hot.
It used not to bother me that people would assume I’m the accommodating one, the “mother” of any group I find myself in. I mean, I don’t mind taking care of people and I certainly enjoy the adrenalin rush of trying to coordinate multiple things at the same time. (Pre-performance and backstage work were the parts I enjoyed most when I was on my school’s theatre group.) Lately, however, I find my goodwill rapidly diminishing and what little patience I had is following swiftly. I’m so tired all the time. It’s not physical tiredness, it’s more of that soul-crashing sensation of knowing you can’t expect more from someone and yet hoping to be pleasantly surprised. And the worst part is that I know it’s all in my head.
I’ve always had trouble reading people in real life (not in stories, which is why I tend to prefer the company of a book). I make assumptions about motives and opinions and I struggle to combine my perception of a person (and the inevitable expectations that come along) with who they actually are, or at least who they perceive themselves to be. For a very long time I simply did not make the effort, after all what’s the point of getting to know people when you know for a fact that after a few years you will not see them again. (Schoolyard friendships, my left foot…) Sadly as I grew older I discovered that people can be as intriguing as books (and that came as quite the shock, let me tell you). I tried and still try to figure them out. The results are mixed at best. I’m stubborn though, so I hope eventually I’ll manage it.
So what do I do in the meantime? Especially on the days when the effort is just too much? I’ve tried different things, from long (loooooong) solitary walks to forcing myself to stay around people in a social setting and I think I may have managed to find a middle ground: I take whichever book I’m reading at the time, walk to town and sit in a cafe. That way I can be around people and get the human contact I need and at the same time I don’t actually have to pretend anything. I’ll just get a tea or a mocha or whatever tickles my fancy (which requires a mercifully small amount of words being spoken), sit back and read/people watch for a few hours. You should try it. It’s amazing how much it clears the head to take a step back and look at any given situation from the outside.