In Which I am a Tear-Caked Mess

I had plans today.

I was going to go to the store to buy some groceries and things I need for this week.

I was going to take a walk.  Play some Ingress to replenish my inventory and get back all the keys I burned before the Anomaly.

I was going to work on some of the blog posts I have sitting in my Drafts folder.  Maybe write some short fiction for another creative project I’m working on.

But no.

Despite a stormy morning, this afternoon has been bright and sunny.  My emotional state, however, reflects the reverse.

I had a good day at work today.  Got a lot of things done, listened to some fun podcasts while I did them.  But right before I left for home, my boss asked to speak with me.  He has done this on a few previous occasions.  I’m a shy introvert and tend to keep to myself, so he often pulls me aside to ask how things are going.  He complimented my work and told me that I was continuing to do a great job.  But then he brought up his concerns about my social disposition.

Although I’m a shy person, I’m really quite friendly.  I love people.  My boss said that he knew that much to be true.  But as he went on, it was clear to me that he felt that my reserved nature was coming off as being aloof and unapproachable.

I don’t know if my other co-workers see it that way.  I’ve tossed jokes around with them and am always talking with my direct supervisor.  But the point of the matter is, my boss believes that my other co-workers see it that way.

As I listened to him appraise my social interactions (or lack thereof) with my co-workers, my emotions ran from indignant to ashamed.

This is all pointless, I thought to myself.  This is obviously just another example of the extrovert-bias in our society.  I am who I am and I can’t change that.  I’m doing all that I can to be nice to others; I can’t flip a switch and become outgoing and thoroughly affable.

But as I began to view myself through his eyes, I could see how my actions could be misconstrued.

Maybe I am anti-social.  I could definitely work on being more open.  This is the same problem I’ve had all my life.  I need to change if I want to be a successful member of this company, and of society as a whole.

I knew it was probably unprofessional to cry in front of my boss.  But sometimes these things can’t be helped.

He apologized and said he didn’t mean to make me cry.  I apologized and said it wasn’t him; it was my own self-criticism and social anxiety.  He promised he just wanted to help me.  I promised I would work on being more open.

Though I snuffled through the last few minutes of our conversation, my face caked with tears, we ended on good terms and gave each other a hug before parting ways.

I let it all out on the drive home.  As someone who usually keeps her emotions bottled up inside, it felt good to cry it all out.  I let out a few wailing sobs to the open farmland as I drove by.  The release felt good as I channeled all my frustrations into each bawl.  I cried so hard that I could feel all the nerves in my belly, ears, and arms.  It was that tingling sensation like they had fallen asleep, but instead, they were screaming along with me.

I had plans today.

I was going to go to the store.  I was going to take a walk.  I was going to write.

But instead, I’m just going to curl up on my bed, throw on my headphones, and try to drown out the world with some music or by watching some mindless movie.

Most of the time, I’m fine with being an introvert.  I’ve come to terms with who I am and how I interact with the world.  But some days… some days I feel like I’m broken, like there’s something wrong with me, like I don’t fit in with the rest of those world.  On those days, I hate who I am.

Today’s one of those days.

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I am…

I am a nerd.  I am a geek.  I’m a fangirl and a dreamer.

For this, I blame my father.  I blame him for reading The Hobbit and Frank Peretti’s Cooper Kids series to me and my older sister before bedtime, feeding our dreams — the gateway to imagination.  It was he who built us treehouses and elaborate blanket forts.  He equipped me with a wooden bow and arrows tipped with the plastic pump needles used to inflate basketballs so I could pretend to be Robin Hood.  He was the one who fostered my love of movies, introducing me to the Star Wars trilogy and to Indiana Jones.

I am a nerd.  I am a geek.  I’m a fangirl and a dreamer.

For this, I blame my mother.  I blame her love of reading, a seemingly contagious affliction, which I inherited from her at a young age.  It was she who took me to the library and encouraged me to try books that many saw as “too advanced” for my age.  She was the one who became my first proofreader when I tried my hand at creating my own stories.  She instilled in me the importance of knowledge, and assured me that it was good, cool even, to be smart.

I am a nerd.  I am a geek.  I’m a fangirl and a dreamer.

For this, I blame my older sister.  I blame her for being my role model, my first best friend.  I blame her for her interest in fascinating things like biology and Ancient Egypt, and for allowing me to tag along (as younger siblings are wont to do).  Together we formed a detective agency, recreated a mummy’s tomb, and fought with lightsabers made with balloons and toilet paper tubes.  She would read my stories; I would act in her plays.

I am a nerd.  I am a geek.  I’m a fangirl and a dreamer.

For this, I blame my younger brother.  I blame him for being the wide-eyed innocent to his sisters’ crazy schemes — a virtue I, in some way, internalized; and now I find him popping into my mind’s eye as the intended audience to all of my stories.  I blame him for growing up and spending entire weekends playing board games, music, and video games with me.  His extroverted, mathsy left-hemisphere brain compliments my shy, creative right-brain oh so well.  My opposite in practically every way, he pushes me to be more than I am, to be better.

I am a nerd.  I am a geek.  I’m a fangirl and a dreamer.

For this, I blame you, my hypothetical reader.  I blame you for inspiring me to create, critique, indulge in, and interact with culture.  I blame you for loving things, and for sharing that love with others.  That’s what being a geek is all about.

And so, to my family, my friends, my blog readers: I blame you for it all.  It’s your fault that I am…

…a nerd.

…a geek.

…a fangirl.

…a dreamer.

And for this, I am eternally grateful.  Thank you.  Thank you all, from the bottom of my nerdy, geeky, fangirling, ever-dreaming soul.

An Introduction

Wise the Simple is a new blog found here at wisethesimpleblog.wordpress.com.  Written by a self-proclaimed “daydreaming little nerd of a wallflower,” Wise the Simple is a blog about life, faith, imagination, and geekery.  The following interview was conducted on October 23rd, 2014.

I’m so honored to have you here.  If I may jump right in — what made you want to start a blog?

(laughs) Well, it’s been a long time coming, that’s for sure.  I always wanted to be a writer, ever since I was a kid.  I’d scrawl out stories on reams of continuous form paper — you remember the kind with perforations on the sides? — and illustrate it all with crude little drawings made with those scented Mr. Sketch markers.

Were you a big reader?

Oh, of course!  A large portion of my childhood was spent nose-in-book.  I remember once in third grade during silent reading time, I looked up from my book (a Brian Jacques Redwall novel, as I recall) and all the other kids were gone.  I asked the teacher where everyone was, and she, in utter surprise, said, “Oh, they all went out for recess a long time ago!”  I was so completely immersed in the story that I missed the stampede of twenty-odd children hurl through the tiny classroom.  More than that, I would regularly keep reading as I walked down the hall, letting other kids jostle past me while I carefully made my way down the stairs.  A teacher yelled at me once, said I would fall and break my neck.  (laughs)

Did you keep up reading writing throughout adolescence?  Were you a good student?

Yes, I was a very good student.  And I kept reading and writing throughout elementary and middle school.  It was somewhere between high school and college where it all kind of dwindled.

I think that along with puberty came my sense of inadequacy, and that fear hindered my ability and desire to create.  I still read; I read books, but mostly those that were assigned in English classes.  It was writing that took a huge hit around that time.

And what brought that desire back?

(thinks silently)  I’m not exactly sure.  College was a rough time for me.  My social anxiety on campus coupled with unrest back home drove my introverted self further inward in an attempt to hide from the world like a frightened snail.  This led to me to rediscover the fantastical realms of books, television, and movies, which in turn, reinvigorated my sense to create something of my own.

“I’m a writer!” I would exclaim to myself.
“No, you’re not.  What have you written lately?”  Cue deflating pride.

So, after a long hiatus, I sat down and wrote.  Story ideas, poetry, song lyrics, journal entries.  Then in my senior year, I found enough free time in my schedule to enroll in a creative writing class. It was glorious — like seeing an old friend after years apart.  With a cheery outlook, I began the slow process of retraining my atrophied writing muscles. (smiles broadly)  And so here I am!  Still shaking the layers of dust off my writer’s cap, but continually gaining confidence with each new pen stroke.

Now, I know that writing is not your career.  That is to say, it’s not how you earn your living, correct?

Correct.

But you still identify as a writer.

I do, but a highly cloistered one. (laughs)  That good ol’ reliable sense of inadequacy continues to hang on, so most things I’ve worked on are either hidden away “For My Eyes Only” or discarded halfway through.  Which finally, thankfully, circuitously brings us back to your first question: “Why start a blog?”

(laughs)

Hey, I said it was a long time coming!  (laughs)  But yeah, I have some friends who blog, and who have tried to get me to blog for years.  I’ve always been curious to try, but again, that fear of failing or of not being up to snuff kept holding me back.  I hope that blogging will help me to not only increase my productivity, but also become more confident as a writer and as a person.  (makes grand gesture with her hands and puts on an affected voice)  As I release my little word-children out into the wild! (laughs)

So those are the goals you have set for yourself in doing this blog, but what do you hope that others will get from it?  What is your blog’s mission statement, as it were?

That’s a great question.  As I looked into starting a blog, I kept seeing advice articles asking “What new do you have say?” or “What makes your blog different?”  And to be honest, that put me off quite a bit.

“I don’t have anything new to offer,” I would think.  “I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t already been said a thousand times before.”

But after awhile, I just thought, “You know what?  Screw it.  Sure, I’ll be treading fields well-trod, but I am the only me, so whatever I write will be written in a way only I could write it.  That will be what makes my blog different.”  (makes a face)  Does that make sense?  Is that completely cheesy?  I found myself a loophole, and I’m taking it!  (laughs)  It was the only way for me to bypass the inadequacy monster from putting a stop to the whole plan.

Anyway, my goal is to use this blog as a place to put forth ideas — whether it’s musings about life, nascent story/creative writing concepts, or my thoughts on certain books, movies, and television shows.  With any luck, like-minded people will find interest in what I have to say or show me what they have written about such topics, and together we can develop good discussion over it all.  And maybe along the way I will find something new to say.  Who knows?  I’m willing to ride this wave wherever it may lead, and hope that you, dear reader, will join me.

Wise the Simple, it has been a pleasure having you here.  Thank you for taking the time to speak with me.

Oh no, the pleasure is all mine.  Truly.  I mean, your sole purpose was to help me give expository background information, which I can now use as a framework to build my blog upon.

Um… I’m sorry?

You’re… you’re not real.  Didn’t I tell you that?  I… created you.

W-what?

See, I wanted my first blog post to be a kind of primer so readers would know a bit about me and where I’m coming from, but I didn’t want to have it just be: “Hi.  Welcome to my blog.  Here is some stuff about me.”  So, I thought I would try to punch it up with an interview-ish type narrative structure.  … You’re not mad, right?

You okay?

… That explains a lot, actually.  I can’t imagine anything about my life outside of what is happening right now.  That’s probably because I don’t really have one.

Huh.

Well, I’m sorry.  I didn’t realize you didn’t know.

I can’t believe I didn’t realize it!

Yeah…

I mean, my name is Boldy McInterviewer.

You would think that would’ve been a red flag…

Well, regardless, it really has been great.

I really am quite sorry.  You’ve been a champ.

Thank you.

No, thank you.

We should really wrap this up now.

Yes, of course.

… I’m not going to disappear into the aether once this interview is finished, right?

Oh no, of course not, buddy!  You’ve done so much in helping me with this first blog post.  I’ll definitely bring you back for more in the future.  You and I are in this together now.

Sweet.