Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Social Misfit Status

Where has my social barometer gone? I have rarely felt awkard in a group setting. Other than times of extreme self loathing, I can usually hold my own at a party. I know the rules of social engagement. I concur with Dale Carnegie that the being a fabulous conversationalist really means being captivated by what the other person is saying. It means talking less and smiling more. And yet...GROAN, these days I find myself leaving social gatherings wondering, "Crap. Was I just the most boring, miserable, worst guest ever?" I talked too much. I blabbed on and on about my miserable life that nobody wanted to hear about. And, I think, "They are all saying behind my back what a sad pitiful case I am - the widow with no life. The 1/2 person. The lost one.

It's enough to make me want to lock myself up in the house and never come out. Except that I am that pitiful case. I need others to let me vomit my emotion all over them. I need their patient, pitying eyes to say, "It's ok. Go ahead and talk about your dead husband. We can wait." I need people I've never met to smile and let me do all the talking and be the fabulous conversationalists that Dale Carnegie praises. How long will it be before I can talk about anything without the phrase, "Dalton and I" or just "Dalton"? Because really, in order not to technically talk about ourselves, many of us simply talk about our mate. Being one flesh, it is a convenient way to express who we are without talking about ourselves. And now, there is just me. And frankly, I am not all that interesting.

I don't know what I like outside of my life with Dalton. Sure, we are all independent beings, but when I married Dalton, he nourished the parts of who I am that most complimented who he was and vice-versa. For example, I currently love wine and baseball, and art. Of course, I loved wine, baseball and art before I met Dalton, but because Dalton also loved these things, we fed each other's interest and it grew. On the other hand, Dalton was never especially fond of cats (which I like but am not enamored with) and consequently, I have never become one of those crazy cat women with a dozen cats and 7 different Boynton cat t-shirts (one for each day of the week).
For this I am eternally grateful.

Somehow, though, I now have to figure out how to take those things that I fundamentally enjoy (like wine and baseball and art) and make them enjoyable without Dalton. And that is the rub. I don't yet know how to do that, so my conversations inevitably turn to him. And then, I am again the pitiful widow longing for her dead soulmate.

And again, I leave the party feeling like a social misfit, talking a little too loud and a little too often about things that no one else cares about.


Blogger mendacious said...

i myself enjoyed everything you had to say. what's one to do if we can't learn what each other are going thru. me with my 4 cats, you with your grief. that is just the way of things... and that is what BS is for. we're all social mis-fits. that's the point ; )

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Jeanette Newton said...

The numbers continue to grow, as we who care about you read and respond to your blog, Tricia. We read each other's comments too.
We want you to know we are best we can "soulfully"...wishing we could bring you a joyful noise, a harmonic note to ease your pain. Here's a website:

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Gloria said...

Trica, you are not a social misfit. What you are experiencing, you have every right to. Unfortuantely you are going to and probably have run into alot of insensitive people. No one can relate or feel your pain unless they have been down this road. Sometimes people will seem cold and ignore you because they cannot handle your emotions etc. My prayers are with you and your family.

4:24 PM  
Anonymous jeanette newton said...

When my baby brother died in a motorcycle accident at age 22;
that is how I reacted, I lost my baby brother, that's how I always
referred to him (I was after all, 9 years his elder), that is how I
thought of him, and that is how he was endeared to me.
We shared a room from the time he was an infant through toddler stage.
He was my responsibility a lot of the time. Through junior high and
high school, I rushed home to care for him. Missed dances, and
dating to care for him, and another younger brother. His mother, and mine, rarely functioned in the real world. Her prescription drug, self-medicating, led us down a road of yeah-PTA president,
boo-child abuser, yeah-church mother, boo-cuss-like-a-sailor,
yeah-petite woman, boo-kick like a mule, rant/rave insanely.
When she died at 45 years old, I was 22, baby brothers, Randy
then 11, Steve then 12. More care/more responsibility.
Tricia, you may be wondering about the point here...the point is
that part of the grieving for me was that I felt responsible. That
is way sad. It was not my fault, I didn't cause his death,
no one should feel responsible for someone else dieing tragically
(cancer, auto accidents). But, some of us do take on that debilitating
role when someone we dearly love dies. Underneath all of the
natural grief, there is this unnatural guilt for not protecting them.
We have to learn to forgive ourselves, release ourselves, and
understand that we never intended their life to end. It was not
our choice. We may say it, but do we mean in deep-down-in-
the pit-of-our-stomachs? It took me years to believe that I
could-not-have-saved-Randy's life (I did buy him the motor-
cycle he had always wanted). I don't want you going there
too...The only way I know to help you, is to allow you to see me
with the veil parted...transparent...vulnerable too! With sincere love.

10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

grief is horrible.. on the one hand you feel everyone says the "wrong/cheesy" thing to you, and on the other hand you feel like you are a social misfit and saying all the wrong things to other people. It 's a painful learning experience for both sides.

Those who care the most won't get "bored" by your sadness, don't even try to put on a happy face... forgive yourself for being a "social misfit" and let them love you as best they can... and maybe you can forgive them for saying the wrong things and not being fully capable of understanding.

2:56 PM  

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