Mmm, writer’s block. Yummy.

I’ve been in a real rut lately. The depths of which I haven’t experienced in at least a year, and the lengthening duration of which scares the pants off of me. It’s a real, genuine fear of mine that I’m getting worse, and while I’ve been riding that manic depression rollercoaster, I’ve also been struggling to find ways to talk about what I’m going through in a way that is interesting and meaningful. Typically, my inner dialogue goes like this:

Me: Hey, that would be good to write about… I could word it like this and…
Meanie Me: No one gives a flying fuck about that. What makes you so special? There are literally thousands of other bloggers writing about the same thing, and they already have the audience captivated. Why would the audience want to shift and read your regurgitated nonsense?
Me: … well, I guess you’re right. What about if I were to write something about this depression I’ve been sinking into, and the manic episodes I’ve been having? It might really help me to get some of those words out and…
Meanie me: PUH-lease! How depressing. You want every entry on your blog to make people wanna slit their wrists? C’mon! Lighten up.
Me: … ok. I guess I’ll just go lay on the sofa some more.

So, in between starting to write things and deciding not to write them, I:
— ignored significant obligations pertaining to my personal finances
— worked late
— got into internet arguments
— posted irrelevant things on Twitter
— threw my friend a baby shower
— sat on the sofa
— played with my baby
Well, that’s the round-up for this month. I think April will be the “fuck-off-Facebook-I’m-leaving-you-for-Twitter-where-people’s-negative-diatribes-are-limited-to-140-characters” month. It’ll be swell.

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Mary’s Little Star

And now, to begin the “Stuff Sarah Does” portion of my blog:

Mary’s Twinkle, Twinkle Baby Sprinkle

In honor of my good friend’s second daughter, due this Spring, we threw a shindig at my house. It’s the first time I’ve ever organized and hosted a shower or gathering that wasn’t entirely informal. I made things with my bare hands. All in all, I’m calling it a wild success.

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We had your standard games and baby-shower activities, plus one that I invented to match the theme: “Name That Constellation”.

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That bottle that you see there is one of those “patience glitter bottles” that have become so popular on Pinterest. God bless my fellow Pinners, by the way. Without their inspiration, I think this party would have been a little droll.

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One of our activities for the adults and the kiddies alike: affirmation flags for Mary to have with her during her labor and delivery.

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Hand-made nursery art and favors, care of yours truly.

I’m proud of what I was able to do for my friend, and grateful for all the help I had along the way to make her day special. I don’t think I’ll become a professional party planner any time soon, but on this occasion, it was rather fulfilling.

Friendship

After taking a personal inventory, I have made the following observations of myself as a friend. I am:
A.) fiercely loyal,
B.) very good at social networking websites, and
C.) extremely unlikely to ever speak with you on the phone

Also, if I were to be perfectly honest with potential friends upon first meeting them, I would be absolutely friendless.

It would probably go something like this:

New Person: Hi, my name is ____.
Me: Oh, hello, _____. I’m terribly high-maintenance.
New Person: (walks away quickly from the crazy lady)

Conversely, if on occasion I managed NOT to frighten people away within the first five minutes of meeting them, it would ultimately lead to:

New Person: Hi, my name is ____. Me: Oh, hello, _____. I'm extremely high-maintenance. New Person: (walks quickly in the opposite direct of the crazy lady)
This is not conducive to long-term happiness.

Truthfully, I’m not high-maintenance in the worst sense: I don’t want to be surrounded by sycophants or anything. But I am pretty sensitive, and I have a lot of baggage and a lot of hang-ups, and, well, I can be a little crazy. Crazy = inconsistent = unpredictable, and generally speaking, people don’t find relationships with unpredictable people to be particularly effortless. And it comes down to the degree of effort involved, I think, that prevents my making significant connections with many people.

First, there is the problem of defining “effort”. I don’t need, nor do I especially want, my friends to call me on the phone for idle chit-chat. Talking on the phone makes my brain seize up and misfire. People complain that texting or writing emails leads to miscommunications because you cannot tell the affect of the person with whom you are conversing, but I beg to differ: slap some emoticons on that bitch, spice it up with affect cues in asterisks ( e.g. *sarcasm*, *rolling eyes*), whatever — it’s the talking on the phone and not being able to see your face that gets me all discombobulated. For whatever reason, in the absence of face-to-face contact, it’s easier for me to discern someone’s true voice from their writing than from their disembodied voice over the phone.  So, effort, to me, is keeping in constant contact through the avenues that cause me the least anxiety. It is no surprise then that the friends with whom I am closest are those with a 50 word-per-minute minimum texting speed.

Second, there is the issue of how we will interface and spend time together. In keeping with just how much I hate to talk on the phone, I would much rather see you in person than anything else. But there’s another wrench in the works: I’m a goddamn introvert of the highest order.

I have been known to bite.
I have been known to bite when cornered.

(This guide to interacting with introverts is essentially my Rosetta stone.)

But, I am also at the mercy of my moods, which will range from “Fuck yeah, let’s go DANCING.” to “You are welcome to sit beside me in silence while I sit in my quilted cocoon and watch a movie.” The very best friends that I’ve ever had are the ones who understand this and don’t hold it against me, while continuing to venture to bring me out of shell every now and again.

This is what a real friend looks like.
This is what a real friend looks like.

And finally, there’s the emotional crap. The Baggage. Jesus Christ, the baggage. It seems endless at times, the ways in which the emotional wounds inflicted during my youth can impact my present, and by extension, my future. It’s that ol’ ACOA thing again: We don’t know normal, we’re too hard on ourselves, we think love is a commodity that must be earned and traded, we take everything too seriously, we need constant approval and affirmation, we’re highly impulsive, and we have intimacy issues that strain the boundaries of reasonable. That is what I mean when I say that I’m high-maintenance. I don’t want to be that way — it goddamn sucks — but it’s hardwired into my brain.

It is for all of the above reasons I have come to really believe this quote from someone I really like and respect: “I have friends in spite of myself.”