One of the things a lot of people don’t know about me is that I’m a bit of an introvert. Like my sister Summer at Elevate Everyday has also aid about about herself, we are really good at faking it. For those of you who know me personally, or listen to the Podcast I seem pretty outgoing. But here is my trick, I rarely initiate conversation. I just don’t. I don’t know what to say or even if that person even cares to chat.
Once the ice is broken (usually by the other party) I can hold my own and be very charming and entertaining. For me to approach someone, it is a very conscious decision that takes a lot of pumping myself up. But here is the funny thing, I don’t really mind. I can go through a church 3 hour block and be perfectly content to limit interpersonal conversations to a few handshakes, smiles, and a friendly nod of the head.
Then I read this article on Mormon Mommy Blogs (site is no longer active) that was shared by The Cultural Hall. It tells of the personal torment a woman goes through each Sunday as she struggles to be recognized and interacted with at church. I was heartsick; I thought, could I have caused someone this sort of pain by mere indifference. I recalled one of the most moving parts in Les Miserables of Fantine’s Arrest. “Is it true what I’ve done to an innocent soul, had I only known then”
“I was that one. The girl at the youth dance who would bop with her girlfriends and have a good, silly time until the slow song came on. Then we would strategically disperse, having been taught that boys don’t want to single out chatting girls. I would stand near the wall, displaying a friendly smile, tapping my foot or swaying slightly to show that I was ready and willing to accept an invitation to dance. An invitation that my friends, one by one, cheerfully received. An invitation that rarely, if ever, was issued to me.
My mother tried to cheer me up. ‘You’re so smart and talented that boys may find you intimidating,’ she’d say. Maybe she was right. But I thought I knew better.
I wasn’t pretty enough.
I wasn’t fun enough.
No one liked me. I’m still that one. Many things have changed. I have a loving husband and good children. I serve in a meaningful calling. But I still struggle to socialize. After church, I stand in the hall, displaying a friendly smile, hoping for a little bit of conversation before gathering my family and heading home. I observe other sisters chatting away, and wonder how they start. My visiting teacher rushes past without a glance, rounding up her own brood. Some people will smile, a few might say “Hi.” And that’s about it.
I know. We’ve all been in meetings for at least three hours. We want to go home, take off our shoes, take a nap. But don’t they understand? This is my chance. I rarely see anyone outside of church. I hitch up my slipping smile for a minute longer. And go home feeling lonely.
I’m not fashionable enough.
I’m not interesting enough.
No one likes me. I am probably a member of your ward…”
The full article was posted was posted at Mormon Mommy blogs, but their site is now closed.