(Friday) Today I’m doing something that I do well. That is, sitting quietly in a corner and entertaining myself while the world goes on around me. You might think of it as people-watching, and it wouldn’t sound too strange. I mean, that’s something people do. But the thing is that I’m not really people-watching I think it might be more accurately described as “wall-flowering.” By that I mean I just kind of blend in to the scenery. I turn on my invisibility ability (my husband is pretty convinced I can turn invisible ). I kind of retreat into my head and watch the world while really distancing myself from actually being engaged in it. I watch, but I don’t think too deeply, either, as others might. Marty would analyze everyone and wonder what they were thinking, but not me. I’m more in my own head. I would be extremely startled and uncomfortable if someone were to try and approach me or interact with me. I guess it’s no wonder people think I’m un-approachable. I never saw myself as such, because, I mean, I do my best to look up sometimes and look approachable, and if someone does interact with me I try to mask my discomfort and be friendly. But I guess I just never fooled any one as much as I thought I did. I guess I feel like I don’t want to really be approached and it shows.
Altzo, I’ve done this for as long as I can remember. When I was younger, I had to be baby-sat a lot because I was raised by a single mother who had to work full-time. I remember multiple times my babysitters would worry about me because I was too quiet or they thought I was bored. I would get slightly distressed if they kept approaching me to ask if I would like something to eat or drink or if I would like to do some certain activity. I was perfectly content to sit behind the couch and write in my notebook or just get lost in my thoughts. I didn’t usually need them to entertain me.
I also remember during seventh grade when I was homeschooling I would spend my days at my grandparents’ house. It was often overwhelming because they liked to talk and liked to be acknowledged when they spoke and wanted to engage me in conversations and get my opinion on their music and ask questions… I started sitting behind the futon and trying to disengage from the world, but I found out years later that it really hurt my Gramma’s feelings and she thought she had done something wrong!
And still, I tend to do this when I’m with a large group of friends. I can get anxious in large groups, but I feel better if I’m able to sort of disengage, find a safe place to sit and watch and think. I get stressed out again, however, if people approach me and try to engage me or ask if something’s wrong.
Still, I’d like to add that I don’t want to be un-approachable. I don’t want to feel stressed out when people try to engage me. In fact, many times I like it in spite of my anxiety. I like to feel wanted, cared-about. I like to feel that people like me and find me interesting. And, let’s face it, I would have very few friends if it weren’t for people coming into my bubble and interacting with me. Some of my best friends were those who saw me as shy but as someone they wanted to engage regardless. And I’m extremely glad they did!