Earlier I was eager to sit down and write about something I did today, yet another action I can't believe came out of the me I think I am.
But before I get into that, I have to delve into an entirely different first. I have just come down from getting the girls to bed- its bath night- all the usual trials tribulations, until. Whats that floating in the bath tub? The hippo habitat at the zoo flashes in my mind as I realize that is a load of crap floating around amongst the ducks in H and S's bath. H was out of the bath like she heard 'fire' at a movie theater, but S wanted to stay in the bath a play amongst the poop. Luckily tonight was not a bubble bath, I forgot to put the bubbles in causing much whining and head slapping among the bathers earlier. Finding the crap in a bubble bath is not the needle and the haystack scenario I was up for tonight. It turns out the easiest way to get the crap out is to pick it up with your bare hands. My hands are still flinching even thought they've been washed, scoured repeatedly. Perhaps I am lucky that this, approaching my 5th year with kids, was my first time with crap in the tub. Hopefully the last.
Back to some more interesting, or at least less repulsive firsts.
Part of the reason I started going to Meeting, and have continued to go, is because my family goes. I love seeing them weekly, and like that when we sit together in silence there are four generations represented. However. As much as I love my family, they are a bunch of social freaks. I come by it honestly. They push people out of the way so they don't have to stand around "sharing their journey" or whatever people happen to be chatting about after meeting. They all make decisions based on what they think someone else wants to do- which is a monumental thing I'm having a hard time getting myself to stop doing. I feel so much better now that I've started stopping.
Once a month, after meeting, is women's gathering. Last week, they announced woman's gathering this month, today, would be on the topic of creativity. One of the women who comes to meeting, who is a painter, told me last week that she was going to bring her knitting to women's gathering as she finds it mediational, and we had talked about knitting before. I have always found spirituality in working, and have often thought of my art as my religion, so I thought I might be able to say something to this. Plus, I felt she was daring me to stay.
I have been actively trying to win the war on my social anxiety. I am trying to open myself, to learn more, to be less cynical, less jaded. More hopeful. It is not easy. Especially with this inner voice I have. I think I have brought the inner voice to my side though, and now instead of yelling how pointless it all is, the voice yells as me to just get on with it. I have been trying to visualize myself opening up, relaxing, and I have this drill sergeant in my head, "Oopeen...IT, OOPEEEN IT!"
As the days led up to this today, I had the hardest time. I felt bad trying to figure out what to do with the girls. I didn't like that we'd have to take 2 cars. I wasn't sure if they bring pot luck lunch, or if you bring your own. I was nervous. I was anxious. I didn't want to go. I told myself I was stupid for wanting to go. I told myself I didn't want to go and felt obligated, so I shouldn't go. Today, finally, my inner drill sergeant woke up and told the rest of me to shut the fuck up. I called my mom to ask of she could take H with her to lunch and then home, told J he had S for the afternoon, ran to the store, last minute, to pick up some hummus and pita which I figured could double as potluck or my own lunch. Feeling like I'm inside myself kicking the boundaries, I made myself stay.
It was a little strange at times- a little drum circle-y. Although there were no drums. There was "a circle" where you all hold hands and then squeeze at the end. While we were doing this my head was jumping from one thought to the next: is this weird? What if I don't know when we're supposed to stop holding? My hands are on top- should they be on the bottom? Does it mean something that they're on top? Can they hear me breathing? Am I breathing weird? How long do we stand here? Why do you have to think about everything? None of these people are thinking this, they're all just peaceful, having a circle, why are you so nuts?
Drill sargent:" JESUS CHRIST! SHUTUP! You'll know when its over because it will be over and the rest DOESN'T MATTER"
We ate lunch- it was pot luck, my hummus was right on. Girl food, J calls it- bread, cheese, salad, and chocolate cake. One woman brought asparagus. I loved it. We talked- about Lucretia Mott, a Quaker reformer who was anti-slavery and fought for womens rights, about labrynhts and primal forests. About each of our individual strengths and creativity. I showed them my work. I told people I didn't know things about myself that I don't part with freely, not because they mean anything but because I am forever holding my cards to my chest. I got to know some really interesting woman that I may have just kept as acquaintances.
My understanding is that you have a circle at the beginning an the again at the end of the gathering. During the second 'circle' I was much more relaxed, and it actually felt a little spiritual. Like something was happening there. Which might be insane, but I was happy to have opened my mind a little. Even if it did take a crow bar.
I am trying to understand the part of me thats fighting this. The voice thats saying 'this isn't you' I know, even with out my drill sergeant, that it doesn't matter. I'm not redefining myself or trying to be anything I'm not (except maybe to be well adjusted and not a social anxious freak show) to do what I want, when I want. Why does part of me not like that? Why can't we all get along in this head of mine?