Monday, May 5, 2014

Casual Conversation

In the last few years, I've started to get the hang of casual conversations. They haven't come naturally to me in the past. I don't know whether to blame it on my response to being abused and bullied and made into a social outcast as a child (and thus, being behind in the conversational front), or on something neurological that got masked as part of my epilepsy and the side effects of medication.

What I know is, I was always considered "shy," but never felt shy. It was just easier to answer, "yes" and "no," and to listen.... and I Enjoyed listening anyway. I never recognized that people wanted me to explain my "yes" or "no" with details until I heard someone in college, talking about people who never say more than "yes" and "no," and realized I do that too.

What I know is, Conversations always felt like playing double-dutch. How on earth do you know when to jump in- without cutting someone off... and before it's too late, since the direction of a conversation can change like the tide.

What I also know is, I always struggled to articulate myself. The words weren't there. I remember joking in college, to my mom, that I could never remember the word, "articulate," to allow me to tell someone that I was having trouble finding the words. I finally committed that word to memory because I needed it often. When I had trouble finding the words to express myself, I could finally say, "I'm having trouble articulating myself," and that helped. With that sentence, I could let them know that I had thoughts on the subject at hand- I just couldn't get them out. It allowed me not to feel so stupid in a college setting.

Somehow, I don't struggle very much with this now. I improved first, in writing- and over time, it has spread into my conversations. Still, when I get really into the flow of a conversation, I feel excited. When someone shares an idea or a story, whether theological or scientific or just plain casual, and I draw on that to share my own idea or story, explaining the connection or application... and when I can do this in the moment, I feel like I've overcome. It's not a casual thing that I take for granted. It's a blessing.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Two Years Later

It's been over two years. First, I was so busy finishing school. Then I went through some turmoil. Then, I was afraid. I was afraid to look at what I wrote here, because I realized it came true, in a way. It was supposed to come true; I blame no-one. I didn't remember exactly what I wrote though- how I phrased it or whether it was the last thing I wrote, and I couldn't bring myself to check- until today.

Well, it wasn't my last post; it was second-to-last: The Mountain. I had said that I sensed that I might need to lose my friends, in order to draw closer to God, my master, because somehow, though I wanted to put him first, I could see that my valuation of God and friends was mixed. I said I hoped I wouldn't have to lose them completely. That terrified me. I love them. I never wanted to lose them.

I never fully lost my friends, and from their perspective, I don't know what they saw. From mine, first, I felt suddenly cut-off. Little things that happened made me feel unwanted. I clung to the hope that it was temporary, and all a misunderstanding, or me being hypersensitive. I became depressed. I felt dead inside. That's hardly a metaphor; it was so real. I like to feel- to feel intensely. Losing feeling is terrifying to me. I felt alone... and dead. I didn't want to die; I wanted to be brought back to life. I had no idea what to do except scream to my friends for help so that it wouldn't get worse. Somehow, my scream got misinterpreted; some friends definitely were offended- I think they thought I was blaming them, but honest, I wasn't.... and honest, I'm not now, because I believe it was a misunderstanding that was meant to happen. I never believed God left me; I never lost hope for the future. But I was trapped in a sea of thick, dark muck, and didn't know how to get out. Eventually, it struck me that the darkness started about the time I started a certain medication. So I stopped the medication, and within three days, felt so much better. The situation was the same, the damage already done, but my perspective and my coping skills were different. I started a personal prayer journal, and that brought me where I need to be, putting God first.

Well, when you offend your friends, it's sometimes hard to get back to normal. I had apologized sincerely, but there was still apprehension. I didn't want to downplay it, & blame it on the medication or misunderstandings, because that's not owning up to it. I really am sorry I hurt them, under any circumstance. For me, it's been a long, awkward road. I don't always know where I stand. I don't know if they all trust me. But I know they do still care about me. And it recently crossed my mind that, you know, I have time. My friends are good people. That's why I like them. We'll figure this out.

I say all this because I feel I should follow-up on what I wrote before, and because I feel secure now. God's still working on me, but I feel good about where I'm at because I'm where God wants me.

I love comments. It makes me feel like I'm not just talking to a wall, and rids me of the feeling that this time, I said too much, or said something the wrong way.

(I review your comments first, so if you want to say something just to me, just let me know).