My current inner turmoil is in the amount that I share with others. Well, buckle up kids cause I’m about to share heaps.
Someone decided to point out to me recently that I share far too much. I mean, people tell me I talk too much and talk too loud quite often, I’m actually pretty insecure about it most of the time because I know that this is what a lot of people think of me. But recently someone told me that there is nothing that I keep to myself. I highly doubt that they said this knowing the amount of thought I would put into their words after they said them.
I spent about a week trying to keep everything to myself. If anything good or bad happened to me, I was super aloof about it. People would ask me how my day was and I would say good, followed by a series of questions to distract them from asking me any more about myself. I liked the novelty of this new practice because it reminded me of characters I’ve always read about in books.
I am so fascinated by characters who are quiet. They are just as adventurous and opinionated as anyone else, but they are mysterious. I invest in these characters and long to be like them, like Elizabeth Bennett, witty and brave, but able to keep just enough from the world that people long to know her better. Unfortunately, I am not Elizabeth Bennett, I share everything, there is no mystery in my eyes, ya know?
But even in my efforts to be secretive and keep things to myself, I was losing my mind. I had to tell myself all the funny stories that happened at the end of every day because I felt like I was going to explode with stories. When you are an authentically awkward person, your life is endless amounts of stories. If you don’t tell them to someone, they can quickly turn from funny to uncomfortable.
So then I tried to find a middle ground. I decided I would share my funny stories with people who are close to me and be more aloof with acquaintances and strangers. I still couldn’t do it. Some random would look at me and say, “How’s it going, Shanna?” I would say good and they would look at me with these eyes like, “tell me a story, tell me a story!” Suddenly the stories were flowing out of me again.
To be fair, I used to keep things to myself and then I watched multiple relationships destroy themselves with lack of communication and I decided I never wanted that to happen to me. I actually wrote off relationships at all for a while because I watched so many fall apart. And in my natural subtlety, when one particular guy started flirting with me I responded with, “Shut your mouth or I’ll punch you in the face!” I realize now that this was probably harsher than necessary.
So, now as I try to meander my way around this middle ground, I find myself waiting all day to tell people stories in real life and sometimes the people who end up hearing them don’t really care all that much. Meanwhile, some of my closest friends who LOVE hearing my awkward stories are only able to see them via the interwebs because an 8 hour time difference doesn’t accommodate daily phone calls.
Anyways, all that to say, I have a lot of awkward stories that I haven’t been sharing in an effort to minimize my audience for the sake of suiting others. But I really have no desire to minimize my audience. I mean, I have a desire to keep at least one portion of myself for a special someone. Part of me likes the novelty in having one person who gets to hear every story. But until that one special person exists in my life, I might as well share with everybody. Because seriously, who needs another exclusive friendship in their lives? I think people are far too exclusive, let’s all just be friends with everyone and save the cliques (american pronunciation) for the keyboard. AmIright or amIright?
That being said, here are some awkward stories from this weekend for your enjoyment:
I drove to Chapters in Langley to return a book. I walk up and the lady at the register asks me if there was a reason for me returning it. I said, “I bought this copy because it was the only one that didn’t have a picture from the movie on the cover, but I saw a smaller paperback version in another chapters, so I know the type of copy I want exists. I mean, this copy is so big that I would only ever be able to read it in my room. Clearly I am never going to be able to fit this into my purse and take it to a coffee shop with me.” She was like, “I’ll just select, ‘not as expected’ then.”
Then she asks for my name, phone number and address. Knowing full well that I accidentally mix up the numbers in my address quite often, I said every part of the address very slowly and thoughtfully, looking to the ceiling to make sure I was remembering it right. The lady was like, “Did you just move?” And I said, “No, I’m just a little dyslexic sometimes.” She gets visibly awkward at this point, playing with the scarf around her neck and apologizing to me. I said, “Oh, No! I’m just kidding, I’m not actually dyslexic.” This was the point in our interaction that I started to feel bad for her getting me as a customer.
Then, after church yesterday, I’m standing in the aisle and this elderly woman walks into the room. There is another woman standing in the window behind her knocking on it to get her attention but she doesn’t hear it. The elderly woman is about 20 feet from me so I start pointing at the woman in the window behind her and telling her to turn around. The elderly lady can’t hear me at all. She looks at me for a while, then points to herself to ask if I’m talking to her. I nod and make a turn around motion with my finger and point at the window. The elderly woman very slowly turns around doing a whole 360 while looking at the ground then she looks up at me, smiles, and slowly walks up to me to find out what I wanted. I just laughed and pointed out the woman in the window, who surprisingly still hadn’t walked the 5 feet around the corner to talk to this elderly woman.
Although others probably think I should just calm down, sometimes I wish I could be bolder because I let hilarious moments pass me by. One time I was on the beach and there were like 30 people standing in a huddle about a half mile away from me. The thought crossed my mind that I should run over there and pretend that they are a flock or birds, I should run through them, jumping around and waving my arms frantically so that they all flew away. My friend with me was totally supportive of my idea, and if the group wasn’t a half a mile away I probably would have done it. But I didn’t and I should have.
It’s remembering moments like this that I think, who cares if the person next to me is a little embarrassed by my ridiculousness! I had a friend once tell me that they “pulled a Shanna” and they described the term as doing something embarrassing in an irreversible sort of way. I’ve also had people tell me that the things I’ve done in front of them are such a Shanna thing to do.
Sometimes I hear this and wonder if I should be offended by these comments, but then again, I guess it means that they don’t know anyone else like me which makes me feel pretty special. It’s like the whole idea that loving deeper puts you at greater risk of being hurt. The deeper your feelings, the more vulnerable you are.
In the same way, the more bold your life may be, the more open you are to the disapproval of others, or people making comments that you are “too much” or “too different.” Being bold doesn’t mean you have to be crazy, it just means you have to be genuine, confident enough to risk sharing your true self with someone else. I am crazy. Like, legitimately ridiculous. You don’t have to be me to be bold. In fact, I don’t want you to be. I just want you to be you.
Who cares if someone thinks you look weird. The week before I left for Christmas I decided to dress “christmasy” every day. One day, I wore a green dress with yellow tights and a white cardigan so I could look like elf. Did I look weird? No, I actually looked totally normal. When people found out that I was intentionally trying to look like elf, did they think I was weird? Yes, yes they did. But who cares? You have to take a risk and open yourself up, so that you can fully live. Seriously, being constantly terrified of what the world defines as normal is exhausting.
If God didn’t want me to be so ridiculous, then he probably shouldn’t have put me in so many ridiculous situations. That being said, it is safe to assume that he has a purpose in my ridiculousness. Plus, it always makes a good story and makes me laugh. I love laughing, so why would I ever want to keep something that makes me laugh to myself? It’s too difficult to be someone else (unless it’s for a costume party). Honestly, trying to neatly contain myself is exhausting.
So that settles it. Sharing = good. At least in my case.
There’s freedom in being exactly who God made you to be, as crazy and ridiculous or subtle and serious as that may be. Just be genuine, be bold. Let’s get real, we all know it’s the best roast of coffee anyway.