Friday, September 09, 2005

"Socially Awkward Since Eighteen-Something-Something"

(That's one of the slogans we've come up with for my Irish side of the family. The other one is "We put the 'fun' in 'funeral.'")

Some people are amused when I call myself shy, because I am such a talker. However, the following situations are my worst nightmares:
a.) large crowds where I don't know anyone, or I am not good friends with anyone;
b.) busy stores (just ask Meg: at Superstore, I become tired and distracted, because the crowds freak me out so much);
c.) hanging out with people that I've convinced myself are more outgoing/funnier/cooler than I am;
d.) certain young teenagers, when they're at that age where they think they're cool (horrible flashbacks to grade 8);
e.) new people, unless they seem shy.

The thing is that I'm not shy with shy people. I become overbearing with shy people. Just ask Karl. I pretty much adopted him, and talked his ear off, and made him be my friend. I veer back and forth, and I don't quite understand it.

This has all come to the forefront, starting at a new University, where I feel lost and lonely. I guess it was a bit of an issue when I started having to go in front of the class, not as a peer but as a lecturer. I veered back and forth between a desire to be accepted by the young crowd and a desire to be professional and credible (and probably to over-compensate for my less-than-credible young age). As a result, I often feltstodgy and boring with them, or like I was making silly attempts to be hip. This isn't to say that I didn't enjoy lecturing. Actually, it was really exhilerating to finally be able to deal with the students themselves, and not just through their papers. I really felt like I was helping them, and I built up a really decent rapport with my one class. (I had a much easier time with the first years than I did with subbing for an honours-level class: that class expected me to be their friend and to let them off easy, while I had work that we needed to do. I need to work on my assertiveness with people my own age. I was really nervous around them, when I wasn't a student among them, but instead had to be responsible.)

I don't know that this is making any sense. Maybe I should go back and edit this, but I'm in a bit of a ranting mood, and I'm trying to figure myself out. Why does it frustrate me so much, how stereotyped it is to be an academic and to struggle with social awkwardness? It's like academics and depression (don't get me started on that: is it the unstructured time we spend alone?).

I am wearing: my "Just Wait Til You See Me Dance" t-shirt, with jeans, which was going to be how I'd portray myself as young and fun (and therefore make myself feel more confident), when I was planning on attending orientation. And slippers on my feet, because it is stinking cold here. (Chris loves it: finally, a place that is comfortable for him.)
Plans for the evening: Watching A Mighty Wind with Chris, and finally phoning back Aimy. Tomorrow we're going out for breakfast with Rebecca and Warren! Yay, friends!
I am currently obsessing about: money and my neuroses.
I need to let go of: money and my neuroses.
I am currently amused by: the cushion on our couch that says "A home is not a home without a CAT." This makes me laugh, because it came in one of two presents that weren't supposed to be for us, but somehow got in with our wedding presents, and were for people we'd never heard of, and from "Your Secret Pal." Said presents somehow also ended up in our U-Haul, and got moved all the way out here. So, having never heard of the recipients, and never having a hope of getting their presents to them, we finally opened them! We decided that it was only fair that we put every part to good use, and so now Chris's favourite mug is the one that came in the presents, we ate all of the chocolates and other candiees (these weren't expensive presents, so don't worry) and the aforementioned cushion sits on our couch! It confuses guests, because we don't have a cat, and I'm allergic to them. It seems to imply that ours isn't a home. I love it. Thank you, Secret Pal.
I am also amused by: Chris's supper plans of a pita hotdog. Now he's feeling defensive, and is calling it a Pitadog.


Cramsey said...

I suggest becoming bitter towards undergrads. Just think back to all the grads that gave you low marks. Now, it's payback time.

But seriously folks, I don't think you need to sacrifice your professionalism to win over the crowd.

Must go...

Queen of West Procrastination said...

Well, first of all I never really had a bad TA experience in undergrad. I loved TAs, and was thrilled to become one. (I'm such a nerd.)

And I know that I don't need to sacrifice my professionalism, and I really don't, but I just feel so awkward and unaware of how to behave at times, when I get in front of a crowd. Sometimes I'm okay, and I'm really driven and excited, but then I'm also likely to say something I'll regret later. Okay, usually I regret most of what I say later. Ky and I call those panicky remembrances "Drabblations."

Anonymous said...

Remember when you included that picture of Leo DiCaprio shaking hands with Mikhail Gorbachev in your powerpoint presentation? That was classic. So good.

Also, in other Meg is a Dork news, when I read your sentence "A home is not a home without a CAT", I immediately thought of forklifts and construction vehicles. The thought of it actually being about a cat didn't even cross my mind.

In unrelated but weird news, I ran into schmuckie at Bushwakker's tonight, and we actually had a pleasant conversation. However, he was apparently drunk and high on paint fumes (from painting his girlfriend's apartment), so it's not exactly like I dazzled him with my wits. Sadly, he told me that Lyn had been in the hospital this past week because of problems with her oxygen, but she's home now. I told him to send her our regards.

Finally, in more unrelated news, I have "Paperback Writer" playing in my head. It's been there for a few days. Please make it stop. Please?

Love you! Miss you! I should have just written this in an email and not wasted so much space on your blog. Oh well. Enjoy!


Life of Turner said...

But if you had e-mailed it, I wouldn't have been amused by it. Which I was. So thank you for considering my needs, Meg.

Derek out.

Janny said...

"Remember when you included that picture of Leo DiCaprio shaking hands with Mikhail Gorbachev in your powerpoint presentation? That was classic. So good."
What why did I not know about this? Come on, who did you get the picture from? (Me of course). Was it for a presentation entitled "Are Those Hooves I Hear"?

Queen of West Procrastination said...

I DID tell you about using that picture, but that was ages ago, when I gave the lecture on "Europe Since 1945 in 45 minutes." Remember? I just flipped past it quickly, while I was introducing Gorbachev.

"And here he is in a more recent picture."