Thursday, December 9, 2010

Recluse vs Reserved

Tomorrow night is the company holiday party at a local ballroom. 

I've been part of the planning since the beginning: location, food, theme, how the proceeds of the auction will be spent, etc. I've helped with it all and yet, I'm dreading the event. 

Crowds of up near 90 people swigging down cheep keg beer and $6 bottles of wine. Standing around shumoosing with people I'm sure only 1/2 the time remember my name or that I'm a staff member (and not a student). Forcing myself to choke down under-salted hor d'oeuvres and dry entries. Watching the clock tick tick tick and wondering how early is too early to slip out the door and call a cab home. I dread large social interactions. 

I wouldn't call myself a wall flower. I don't find a dark corner and try to blend in with the surrounding decorations. I plaster a smile on my face and try to chit-chat. 

But the results are always the same. 

Me standing a half-step back from a circle of people who have known one another for years and who go out together for happy hour every Friday night. They're standing around talking about people or things upon which I have no interest or knowledge. Something might be said in my direction and I'll respond with something (I think) is witty only to be face to face with blank and confused stares. I'll awkwardly smile and sip my drink as they turn back to one another and that will be my cue to slip away and return to an empty table where I'll pretend to be in the middle of an intense and involved texting conversation. 

It's not that I don't like people. 
It's not that I don't enjoy going out for drinks and dancing. 

There's just something about a large (forced) social situation where I'm expected to put myself out there - expose myself as it were - to strangers and enjoy myself. 

I like my coworkers (we're planning on a small holiday lunch/dinner just the five of us), they're funny and inviting but I also know that I can't expect to attach myself to them like some Holiday Barnacle. 

My mother is worried that my current living situation (in a house with her and my younger sister) isn't good for me....that it's turning me into a hermit. 

GREAT! Somehow moving to Portland has turned me into a socially awkward recluse that lives at home with Momma. How the hell did my life get so bad that my mother now pities me?

I don't think I'm a hermit. I don't avoid any contact with the outside world. If I did I'd work from home, have groceries delivered, shop only via ebay or infomercials and not have any friends.

No, I'm not a hermit. I'm just shy. I've spent so many years building protective walls around me, trying not to get hurt, that now I can't escape them. I'm a Rapunzel who cut her hair before Prince Charming could even find her. (And no, I'm not saying I'm expecting a man to "fix" it all. Here Prince=Social Life)
The real "funny" thing is I'm sure some friend will read this and be surprised. Around people I know and trust enough to let in I'm anything but shy. I'm loud, bubbly, always full of smiles and not afraid to speak my mind. 

I don't know how these two parts of me manage to coexist inside me? 

There are days when it's more of a battle or war zone inside than a duality of peaceful coexistence. The struggle of wanting to go out into the world and the need to curl up in my bed with a security blanket and hide. 

It's a struggle I fight every weekend and am sure will continue for many years. So please if you invite me out on a Friday night and I cancel on you. Please don't take it personal. It might just be that the war is raging inside.


  1. ooookkkkkk morgan.

    I used to be like this. I would go to work (have my "social" life there) and go to school and come home... this was high school.

    In college I worked, went to school, and lived in School Sponsored Housing... where I was always bothered by RAs, and RLC's to attend events that truly had nothing to do with nothing... it was the true foundation of a social life they were attempting to build. And for many they accomplished this task without a fail.

    I found my outlet in going out into the world. Telling myself that lying in bed at eight o'clock was for when i was 80 and couldn't get out of my bed without having an assistant or at least a hand to help.

    This inner battle and/or war is a subconscious choice to be hidden. You are one of the funniest and most difficult to understand people I know. but once you start reading the layers of onion that you are.... You see Morgan. This girl from a small town with a small family that love her for her... and you except Morgan for her.

    Don't dread the party. Put your "vodka" dress on before you go and have fun. Remember being able to have fun and making fun are different. Despite having you planned the party, you can still surprise yourself and the people around you.


  2. Oh Lucas! Thank you - both for the support and the laugh. Don't forget I was one of those RLCs encouraging you (not bothering you) to come to events. :) While I don't necessarily agree with the "choice to be hidden" I do understand what you're saying and again thank you for the support.

    FYI - Do I own a "vodka" dress?

  3. Ms.Morgan,
    I know you have "vodka" shoes!

  4. LOL. So I'm not sure who you are "Anonymous" but while I have many shoes I don't know about "vodka" shoes....makes me think of shoes I perhaps "lost" my vodka on (which has never happened). But yes, if you must know...I know exactly what pair of shoes I'll be wearing tomorrow.

  5. I think you are great just the way you are... you are you and that make u one of the most unique people in the world... I don't like big crowds and starting conversations with people I don't know. I speak my mind (which does tend to get me into trouble) no one makes you happy except ur live life the way you want not what everyone else wants.

    p.s. I love you and miss you *hugs*

  6. I'm surprised by this! I mean, I don't know you that well in the real world, but having seen you around friends, I would never consider you a recluse. I think I have a similar personality thing. When I'm around people I feel comfortable with, I shine and I can be loud, obnoxious, seemingly extroverted. But in general, I'm shy and very introverted. I sometimes really hate going out because I get sort of... uncomfortable and reserved, and it's not "me" or the me I see myself as.
    I've been trying to work on this though for a couple of reasons. One, I realize that sometimes I have a tendency to drink too much in order to overcome my uncomfortable and reserved issue. It works, I come out and shine and people see the "me" I see, the one who has been there since I grew up, you know? But I don't want to compensate or alcoholize myself and possibly put myself in risky situations in order to be my true self.
    So, another thing I've found that kind of works is to do things prior to events such as this, that really bring the sassy Jackie to the surface. For example, solo undies dance parties in my living room? Always a good thing. Also, I've found some people just bring that more to the surface, so I'll try to make some time with them on the day of a big event.
    Or, on days that I don't even want that "me" on the surface, I make other plans. But, I think what I've found is that regardless of whether people are too drunk to remember your name or know whether you're a student, social interactions are about that spark, that meeting of minds, where your hearts connect in the speak and you just know, it's all alright. We are all here together and we are getting through it. Otherwise, it's entertainment value. Oh, another thing I've noticed, I don't know if you're into dancing, but if you are, act like you are dancing alone in your living room, in your undies, and people will assume all of the following: 1-you're the life of the party, 2-you want them all up in your grill, 3-you can dance REALLY WELL and 4-you are really drunk. It has always worked in my favor, and reduces chit-chat.