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23 March 2012 @ 11:26 am
Talk is Overrated  
At a certain point in life, I've realized that you have to accept things about yourself that you really don't like.

And I'm not talking about my thighs, here, folks. Although, to look at me, you'd certainly think I've given up on that front. No, I'm ever hopeful, there.

I'm speaking here of my general, misanthropic air. The older I get, the less and less I desire to speak to the people. (Not persons, mind you, but The People. Persons are great, and I love persons. I'll talk to a person all day long.) I came to this realization the other night in the car, when my husband asked me if I wanted to talk about something.

My answer was, "No, I really don't. If I never had to have another conversation again, I'd be alright with that."

Nolan looked at me speculatively and replied, "You know, that's true. If you never had to speak, you wouldn't. You'd be completely okay with that."

Let me explain. I don't dislike people. I don't. Not really. But, for me, being around people is EXHAUSTING. I really don't have a clue as to why. Maybe it's because my family, as a group, didn't have lengthy conversations about how we felt about things. We kept it shoved way down deep inside, like normal people do. ;) Besides, I already know how they'd react and what each reaction means. Even now, I can see their individual reactions to this post. If my sister reads this, she'll either not have any expression at all or murmur, "huh," in a thoughtful way. My mother will raise her eyebrows and have a little intake of air that's not quite a gasp, and my dad won't read this for another six months because he's forgotten his password to get to this page. When he does, he'll nod, purse his lips and say, "Yeah." (I won't translate their thoughts, because those are private. Heh.)

Anyway, we didn't talk about things, because we didn't have to. Their were only four of us, and we all knew how the others might feel about something, so we planned accordingly.

Then I got married, and realized that some people told you what they were feeling every second of every day and had an opinion about things that didn't make a good gosh darn of difference one way or another.

Tell me, if it doesn't make a difference, why have an opinion about it?

Just a question. I'd accept answers, if you've got 'em.

Anyway, back to my realization. If I never had to converse again, I'd be okay.

Except to make the odd sarcastic or snarky comment under my breath. I might explode if I didn't have that release valve. I'd look like the girl with the blueberry gum on Willy Wonka.

Mainly, my trepidation is with large groups. Big parties, the greeting time at church (Oh, my WORD, nothing makes me wish for Harry Potter's invisibility cloak more), social gatherings and the like are all stressors.

Why? Becasue sometimes I need time to think of something meaningful to say. Sometimes my filter doesn't work quite right and I say something incredibly inappropriate or stupid. Sometimes I just find it difficult to care.

I find the written word to be infinitely easier to navigate. You can think out your response without looking idiotic, and the filter is always engaged.

Yeah. So, written versus spoken word. Your thoughts? Please weigh in. Tell me I'm wrong. Tell me to seek therapy. Tell me I'm not alone.

On this one thing, I'll allow an opinion. :)
 
 
I am:: at the bar
I feel:: busybusy
 
 
 
Allyson WilesAllyson Wiles on March 23rd, 2012 04:43 pm (UTC)
ok my opinion....such as it is....I love this! and I mostly feel the same. So grandma's funeral must have been a mess for you?! anyways I do enjoy reading your journal entries!!

Love Allyson Wiles
Carrie Leigh: Always forgivecarrie_leigh on March 23rd, 2012 04:48 pm (UTC)
Well Grandma's funeral was stressful, but for different reasons; It's sort of hard to separate all the people stress from the sadness and mourning and... all the other things wrapped up in that particular circumstance.

But yes, in general, funerals, weddings, bar mitzvahs... all a big, fat, hairy mess.

Love ya!
ATayane_tsurugi on March 23rd, 2012 05:00 pm (UTC)
Other than the fact that I don't have a sister, I'm basically just going to point up at what you've written and say "ditto." I think, some time in high school, if I could have gotten over the hurdle of how strange it would likely be to take a vow of silence without a goal, a predetermined endpoint, or some kind of spiritual belief to back me up, I probably would have just gone voluntarily mute (except, like you said, the moments of quiet snark. I can bottle many things, but bottling that is the most likely to end bloody).

But the written word, I'm good with that. Articulate at times, even, in ways I'm certainly not in face-to-face conversation. The friends I talk to mainly via text message or google chat, I feel like I communicate with them better than I do with all the poor people who try to speak to me on a given day. Which, okay, might seem kind-of sad to some, but I really can't bring myself to care all that much.

So I'm probably not the best person to tell you if you need therapy, but you're definitely not alone.
Carrie Leigh: People are a buncha bastardscarrie_leigh on March 24th, 2012 04:23 am (UTC)
I'm so glad there are other people like me. You have no idea what a comfort that is!
(Anonymous) on March 23rd, 2012 05:01 pm (UTC)
Well, darlin' that seems to be the Wagster coming out of you. Your dad and I are both like that. And, for the most part, so were Granny and Pap. So, you come by it naturally. Don't beat yourself up. You can't help it. You come from a long line of loners. I like to go places but I always wish it was just me and member of my family or someone I really like there and that's all. Sorry you got stuck with things from the rest of this but, well, that is just the way it is. lol
Carrie Leigh: dastardly plancarrie_leigh on March 23rd, 2012 10:32 pm (UTC)
I've decided I can't beat myself up about it. I gotta be me, after all. No one else is gonna do it!
(Anonymous) on March 23rd, 2012 05:52 pm (UTC)
Sarcasm... You?
I do miss the classic Wagster snark, when it was not directed at me anyways.

Nelsen
Carrie Leigh: my idea of houseworkcarrie_leigh on March 23rd, 2012 10:33 pm (UTC)
Re: Sarcasm... You?
Aw, Nelsen, I wouldn't ever be mean to you!
tracyj23: Treetracyj23 on March 23rd, 2012 05:57 pm (UTC)
The longer I know you the more I realize you and I are a lot alike. Maybe we were sisters separated by adoption or something? I'd like to believe that because my family is worse than screwed up. Yours sound like people I'd get along with just fine.

You're not alone and you don't need therapy. Lock yourself in a room with some chocolate, a glass of wine and a good book. That's all you really need.
Carrie Leigh: Merlot YO HOcarrie_leigh on March 23rd, 2012 10:34 pm (UTC)
Man, you're right. That really IS all I need.

Glad I'm not alone. :)
(Anonymous) on March 23rd, 2012 06:00 pm (UTC)
I so enjoyed your writing and the comments, however, must add to one of the comments, don't think it is all Wagster! I married into the family you were born into and the one I married could have probably lived forever w/o talking --- we said it was from his mother who was a Chapman. My extremely brilliant daughter told me when she became an adult that "Dad converted you (a real talker at the time) into what he was (rarely said anything but when he did it was good) into a loner and the converted is always worse than the converter.
(Anonymous) on March 23rd, 2012 06:04 pm (UTC)
I wasn't through with my "comment"; hope the first part gets posted. So, to continue, then my son grew up and read a lot in his professional life and announced to me that I was not at all what I seemed to be...that everyone thought I was such an extrovert but really I was so extremely private I told my real thoughts to on a few..." At that point I asked him to hush because he was so on target. I think we live in an Oprah-world where we are led to express our every thought and most aren't worth it.... but forget to talk about the things that really matter, the God who loves us and wants us to show that through our actions NOT just our words. I think you are one of the neatest people I know -- an original!! Joanne G.
Carrie Leigh: i got lostcarrie_leigh on March 23rd, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Aunt Joanne!

The response of people when I tell them that groups cause me stress and I don't like to talk a lot, is to proclaim, "But you're an actress! You stand up in front of people and talk all the time!"

The difference is, that's not me. That's some character on a page that I've breathed life into, and the words are given to me. I memorize and deliver them. But me? I only tell the really important stuff to the people I know will protect me and love me even if I mess up life completely.

And that's okay!

I think you'rre pretty neat, too. Love you!
Jandy the Gnome Whisperer: AHS - Tate Biting Nailjandjsalmon on March 23rd, 2012 06:08 pm (UTC)
Hrm... this is a SUPER interesting post, Carrie. I might be all over with my reply (and most will be babbling so you can ignore that bit) but I think you've made me all contemplatey.

I don't really care for a lot of people but I'm REALLY good at pretending that I do. At our church, for example, I can literally count on one hand the number of people I ACTUALLY care about what's happening in their lives/value what they have to say - however I HAVE to deal with all of the rest of them on a regular basis so I've built up a fabulous persona. I've become someone that isn't the real me but who could pass for me if they were ever asked about 'who Jessica was' (wow - that makes me sound like a serial killer... O.o)

It's to the point where if I DO say something inappropriate or over the top or stupid in public I play it up like I did it on purpose - it's part of the persona. That greeting time for church? It's like a big play - being on stage pretending to be somebody that they like but don't really KNOW well.

Because those people don't matter and they don't GET to know my real and serious opinions and thoughts. Very, VERY few people get to. So I'm content with that... I think. And if I don't think too hard about how lonely that can be then I am pretty much content with life like that.

Thankfully I have a release valve (like you mentioned) so I DON'T have to turn into Violet Beauregard and I do think that might be why I have such a connection with so many people online - because I can write to them and keep myself a little detached, you know?


Carrie Leigh: Hunger Gamescarrie_leigh on March 23rd, 2012 10:45 pm (UTC)
The trouble is, as an actress, acting in real life is tough for me. That's why it's exhausting. I don't want to have to create a character, a better happier version of me, (Carrie Leigh 2.0!) for the social events in my life! That's WORK. And sometimes I tend to lose myself in the characters I play for a bit, and acting in real life is a little spooky, thinking about it that way.

I get why you do that, though. Self preservation and the like.

I don't think guarding your heart is something to be sad about. That's one of God's commands, after all. Of course, I may be taking it to a new level.

VIOLET BEAUREGARD! I could not think of that little pain in the rear's name! Thank you!

And I do get the online friend thing. Though I'm not as close to as many as I used to be, and I don't talk to many as nearly as I like, I totally get why it's a comfort.

(Anonymous) on March 23rd, 2012 06:38 pm (UTC)
I like to chatter a LOT but it's never meaningful. I have talked to some people for years & try don't have a clue about me, but that's how I like it. I talk to pass the time & avoid awkward silences. But I don't believe in actually sharing my feelings!!!

Love, me JessicaKmalfoy NOT anonymous!
Carrie Leigh: Mini McCoycarrie_leigh on March 23rd, 2012 10:47 pm (UTC)
Chatting with folks is all well and good, but don't ask me to engage in a debate with anyone, philosophical, religious, political, or frivolous. Not gonna happen.

P.S. have you seen the Hunger Games, yet?
Brendan: Yoda - Crankybrendanm720 on March 23rd, 2012 07:27 pm (UTC)
It's kind of funny that you mention this, because I am like you, and Megan is -- I assume -- like Nolan.

There has been a little bit of contention over it, too...

Does Nolan get mad at you because you're laconic, or is that just Meg?
Carrie Leigh: redshoes on bookstackcarrie_leigh on March 23rd, 2012 10:54 pm (UTC)
Oh, you know, we've been married almost 14 years. He knows if he wants to have a really intense conversation with someone, he's gonna have to do it outside our marriage. ;)

Nolan USED to get mad because of my reaction to him when he wanted to "talk." (Where "talking" is arguing, or having a debate.) I'd shut down completely, or worse cry, thinking he was picking at me, and he'd get angrier. A vicious cycle. Now we know how to handle it all. He enjoys the peaceful calm that is me, and I listen to him rant about whatever it is he needs to say.

I think opposites in a relationship are fantastic. If there were two Nolans or Megs in the same relationship, the world might implode.
JEB: Scruffyfilia_umbrae on March 23rd, 2012 08:34 pm (UTC)
For what it's worth, this is a thing I can sympathize with. It's one of the reasons I adore my husband and my best friend. Words just aren't necessary most of the time. </p>

I've also found that, the more time I spend online, the more anxious certain social engagements/obligations make me feel, like cold calling someone, or going to dinner with friends of friends.

I don't know that there's a right or a wrong about the whole matter. Some people are just a little more introverted socially. As for me, when I notice I'm getting anxious, I try to deliberately work outside of my comfort zone to acclimate myself. You never know when it'll come in handy.

Carrie Leigh: One drink awaycarrie_leigh on March 23rd, 2012 10:55 pm (UTC)
That's a good thought.

I'm not saying I'm going to do it, but I like having it there as an option. :)
Elle Blessingwayelle_blessing on March 23rd, 2012 08:50 pm (UTC)
I find The People exhausting too. EXHAUSTING. To the point that I've literally gotten people hangovers. (It's not fair to get a hangover when you haven't consumed any alcohol.)

To that end, I also enjoy the written word much more, usually. The exceptions being that I can talk until I'm hoarse to my family (though I still find it exhausting, just in a more "that was tiring, but still felt like a good run," kind of way). There's also a few people I'm like that with.

My Mom is super extroverted and social, and she really pushed me out of my shell growing up. I'm much better at socializing now. When I was young though? Yeah, was one of those weird kids/teen that just watched and observered, and didn't care much about what others thought (what few social cues I picked up on anyway). I didn't even really have friends until late high school (a combination of being busy with sports and not caring to talk to anyone). I only made friends at all (and met Mr. Elle), because at 17 I realized that I wanted friends. So I went about inserting myself into every clique, evaluating them for long term friendship material, and then moving on when I decided they weren't what I was looking for. Until I met my boys. They were uncouth football players who didn't know how to talk to girls and only cared about Boy Stuff. I was a novelty to them. I just showed up at their lunch table one day, didn't really talk, and never left. They're the only people I'm still friends with from both high school and college XD

Not a typical way to meet people. Normally teenagers are scared to insert themselves into any established group, let alone all the available ones - from the gamers, to the goody girls, to the cheerleaders and football stars. I'm actually surprised, looking back, that no one told me to buzz off. I think I bewildered them XD

Edited at 2012-03-23 08:57 pm (UTC)
Jandy the Gnome Whisperer: AHS - Evan Kick!Assjandjsalmon on March 23rd, 2012 09:05 pm (UTC)
*butting in*

I am TOTALLY surprised, Elle. I've always pictured you bubbly and outgoing and smoosh!giving. It's very interesting to me that you haven't always been that way. The girl who invented Pirate!panties was reserved and not just a social animal.
Carrie Leighcarrie_leigh on March 23rd, 2012 11:00 pm (UTC)
LOL. Pirate panties.

It's true. you'd think flinging all the paties would make you like people more!
Elle Blessingway: BtVS: Emotions Assetselle_blessing on March 24th, 2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
*g*

Haha! Just to give an example of how far I've come (or, how hard my Mom worked to get me to learn to socialize and interact)... I was held back as a child from going into regular kindergarten (I was put into pre-kindergarten) because I didn't have advanced enough social skills to merit me matriculating into real school. (Apparently it didn't matter that I was advanced in all the actual academics.)

My family often says that I've gotten younger as I've gotten older. Y'all met me at a time when I was really making an effort to step outside my comfort zone here online as well as in my real life. ... learning to be silly, I suppose. Learning to just enjoy things, especially small things (like theoretical pirate panties :D). I'm inherently intellectual/in my own head a lot, so it's been a learning process to learn to enjoy stuff (and let myself feel sad, and other emotions), and to learn to interact with people. Being married and with Mr. Elle has also helped along that process.

I've found that I often envy people who experience emotions deeply because it's not something that's ever come naturally to me. I had to go through a process of recognizing that I was observing people and life, and not experiencing it, acknowledge that it was something I wanted (like deciding I wanted friends), and then going about trying to learn social skills, and also how to just let myself experience things instead of analyzing and observing them. I was lucky I had my Mom pushing me all along toward this, too. I would have been a much different person if I'd been left to my own devices. I probably wouldn't have played sports, and wouldn't have developed any close relationships, and would be in my mid-twenties now and wondering if that emotion I was feeling was loneliness.

So yeah. Long story short is that I've learned how to be silly and social and how to have fun, and the fruition of that is more recent that most people probably realize ;D
Carrie Leigh: Dorothy *gasp*carrie_leigh on March 23rd, 2012 10:59 pm (UTC)
I'm a people watcher. I like to think that I have the gift of discernment, that is, I can tell right off the bat if a person is sincere or not.

There are just so few people who </i>are</i> sincere, you know? And I'm certainly not going to make an effort if they aren't.

People hangovers. Heh. I WONDERED what that was! I totally have them, too.

Elle Blessingwayelle_blessing on March 24th, 2012 07:34 pm (UTC)
You seem like the kind of person who discerns well *nod* I'm a mixed bag myself. I don't have enough skill in reading social cues to pick up on the subtle unspoken nuances of insincerity, but after a few conversations I usually get it right. (The difference between reading and understanding people on a social level by observing them, and doing the same with their words. I'm good with words, and the subtleties of words - what's said, and what's not said. Which actually makes me better at discerning people online than in person XD)

It's sad that people aren't sincere. It inhibits their ability to have meaningful relationships. I have a hard time being insincere myself, if only because I'm so straightforward, analytical and inherently rational, that lying (I'm REALLY bad at lying) or creating a faux persona is really outside my natural skill set. (My inability to be insincere has oddly enough turned a lot of people off to me. I don't say little lies, half-truths, or just don't bring up problems to make people feel better; I'm really straightforward about what I feel and see, and observe - of the world, myself and them. They'd rather I just say the things they want to hear... and I won't do it if it's not the reality of what I've observed. So the friends I do have are all people that don't mind hearing the truth, even if it sucks.)

So yeah. XD

HA! People hangovers was the best analogy I could think of for what it feels like after you've had to do a lot of socializing, especially with people you don't know well. My first year of marriage I had to go to three huge Christmas parties in three days, and by the day after Christmas - the first day with no parties - I was literally hungover from having to see and talk to so many people, many who I had just met for the first time. So yeah. People hangovers. Totally exist and totally suck.
Hyacinth Girleustacia_vye28 on March 24th, 2012 01:58 am (UTC)
I completely get it, though I've developed a chattier side. Not just because of what I do for a living. I'm an extroverted introvert, I think. There are times when I like being social with a handful of people I know, and I can look pretty hyper. The rest of the time? Gimme my netbook or a blank notebook and I'd happily live in my own head. I can debate Serious Issues with Jay, but there are also times when we just sit and watch TV without really engaging.

You only need therapy if it's disabling or interfering with functioning in some way. Which it doesn't, so you're fine. :)
Carrie Leigh: Pretty Pansycarrie_leigh on March 24th, 2012 04:21 am (UTC)
Thank you, Medical Professional. I appreciate the validation!
Hyacinth Girleustacia_vye28 on March 24th, 2012 07:19 am (UTC)
You're very welcome! Human behavior exists on a continuum. Only the truly far extremes tend to cause distress. :)
(Anonymous) on March 24th, 2012 04:55 am (UTC)
But your snarky comments are so dead on...
And I don't mean that in a bad way. You've got a blazing fast bullshit meter and you respond when it goes off. So much of human interaction is superficial because it must be. Being open and honest with every "person" you encounter in life would be unbearably exhausting. But I think I look at "persons" a bit differently, given my own life experiences - which is what my brief majoring in Psychology taught me to call a "perceptual set". I am fascinated by people. In general and in specific instances. I am generally inclined to think the average person is so much better than I am: kinder, more spiritually aware, healthier emotionally, more gifted. I think you catch the overall tone here. I am an other-directed person who pays less attention to self than a self-directed person. In my family, everything thing was in your face... all the time... no OFF switch. I have higher tolerance, I suppose, for the foibles of humanity. What I admire most about you is the relationship you've created with your family and your life partner. You have both figured out that relationships are managed, as anything long term must be, and have found a respectful and fulfilling way to be a team. I never saw anything like that growing up. So, I echo the thoughts of others, here. You are quite, quite normal. I hope that isn't a disappointment, dear, as it makes you no less interesting or original.

Melanie
Carrie Leigh: whistle hamlet's soliloquycarrie_leigh on March 28th, 2012 12:37 pm (UTC)
Re: But your snarky comments are so dead on...
I like the term, "Blazing Fast Bullshit Meter." I think everyone should use it.

Thanks for thinking I'm normal, and thanks for weighing in. You are, as ever, one of the most interesting people I know.