I stay at home a lot. Maybe it’s because of all those years when I was homeschooling all the kids and there was just a lot of sensory stimulation coming at me all the time. Although I really miss some things about those times, I do treasure quiet time in my home. Until this school year, I didn’t get more than a few hours per week. Now that my 16yo is in public school full-time, and Kepler is in school all day, I do have more opportunities for solitude.
In The Year of the Heroin, I said no to many, many events, often at the last minute. It made sense at the time, as my energy and attention were completely consumed with the emergencies that I was facing regularly, and the worry that consumed me the rest of the time.
Since I have been blogging daily (36 days now), I have seen a huge internal shift happening. Because of blogging my grade standards the other day, when an event came into my awareness today that I had previously said maybe to, I acted on my inclination to say yes.
The event was a party with a huge group of families who have children with Down syndrome, autism, and other special needs. Having made the commitment to go, I decided to do the most that I could. I walked up to person after person at the party and introduced myself, learning their names and their children’s names, and investing in connecting with the people who were there. I was willing to look stupid by asking someone their name again two minutes after I had met them.
I’ve let my forgetfulness stand in the way in the past. Afraid I would forget someone’s name, I would rather not try to meet people. But in this, The Year of the AssPanther, I figure it’s worth it to try and fail, and try and succeed, rather than not try at all.
I have used the introvert excuse many times. “Oh, parties drain my energy.” And, indeed, about 90 minutes into the party, I noticed my energy was going down. Instead of retreating, I decided to STAY and ENGAGE.
A couple and their child was sitting along the edge of the room, alone, and I went and plopped down next to the mom. I may have asked all the wrong questions, and had the wrong look on my face, and just done it all wrong, but I tried.
Interestingly, today I did not in any way see myself as better than or less than anyone else. Typically, I have had to see myself in some sort of hierarchy with people. But not today. I really stood eye to eye with everyone I spoke with.
And, of all things, I realized about an hour into the party that I had not even checked my phone once.
Finally, I went up to the musician and asked her a bunch of questions. Turns out we have several connections I was unaware of. She’s in a small music group that plays at coffee houses. As I have been wanting (for apps 20 years since Australia) to be in another band, I asked her if they need any back-up singers. She invited me to come along to one of their shows and come up and sing on a song or two.
Besides the party, I prepared a care package for my away daughter, put my things away as soon as I got home, made my bed, took steps toward overcoming set-down disease, looked people in the eyes and asked about their lives, processed email for 20 minutes, and blogged daily.
Today I danced, sang, moved, reached out, risked, said yes, loved the now, gave of myself, and had a ball in the process. Sweet.