Sunday, November 16, 2008

Communal Living

"The most difficult lie I have ever contended with is this: Life is a story about me."
--Donald Miller in Blue Like Jazz

I started going to a women's group at Jasmine's church two weeks ago. I spent most of the morning before the first meeting fretting about my hair and my pants and my bag and would I need a Bible? And what about a notebook? And what if they all think I am weird? And what if they ask me to play stupid ice breaker games where you have to make up two lies about yourself and I can never think of believable yet hilarious lies? And what if I just go ahead and puke now and get it all over with? I spent at least half an hour arguing with myself over whether I should call Jasmine and tell her I couldn't go. I did go, but was just a big ball of anxiety the entire drive there.

I get nervous around new people. It's like I suddenly become very large and gangly and don't know what to do with my limbs, so I fidget and fumble around trying to find a way to get my suddenly gigantic hands into my now too small pockets. I worry that people will scrutinize my clothes and my hair and that infuriating blackhead that has been on my chin for the last 7 months. I worry that my comments will be met with the agonizing silence that often accompanies a bad joke. I worry that people will leave thinking "Dude. That Sadie girl was weird."

So I often waste an entire first meeting with people, fidgeting and distracted and very very quiet.

I very much like to stay at home or with people I already know. It's easier. It's more comfortable. I feel safer.

I like to be alone, because when I am alone I am always right. I am always the best, the prettiest, the wittiest, the smartest, the one with the best clothes, the one with the perfect-est baby. When I am alone, I can do my thing without worrying that I will upset or offend or get in the way of anyone else.

But because Jasmine is the kind of friend who refuses to let me sit at home, wrapped up in my own cool thoughts and fused to the couch, I have learned that being alone has its place. And so does being with others. I have learned that always being right leads to arrogance and inflexibility. I have learned that always being safe gets boring. I have learned that being alone lends me to self-righteousness and self-absorption. It is good to be with others. The family of God is a messed up, crazy family, but heavens, it is good to be in this family.

So I went to women's group two weeks ago. It was uncomfortable and mildly terrifying. I fidgeted alot, I think I maybe only said one word, I worried about my clothes and my hair and that stupid blackhead. And apparently, my internal and hidden feelings were clearly visible on my face (how embarrassing).

I am apprehensively excited about this week.


wendy said...

I'm the exact same way--I really just hate getting in any sort of group where I don't know everyone (or anyone).

I've just come to accept that I am that person who dresses the strangest, says the stupid things in public when anxiety takes over me, and that's just going to have to be okay. it's either staying in my bedroom or entering the world to be judged once in a while. and let me tell you, if my bedroom had a built in pizzaria, it'd be no contest.

Tony York said...

I have a sure fire way of dealing with those weird moments... I act weird... in a good way. I am an extrovert so that comes pretty easy for me.

I was once told to imagine everybody in their underwear. I don't how they thought that would make things any easier. That just creeped me out.

Anonymous said...


I just giggle... I giggle and giggle everytime I read your blog.
I am a brat!

ness said...

Hi Sadie :)

i will try not to stare at your giant hands tonight....

Why do you suppose Jasmine feels the need to drag us out of our houses when we so naturally gravitate to clutching our couches for comfort????

it's probably good she does.