XXXI: I Made A Friend


Nearly two months ago I typed up a quick thought about the struggle of exploring new grounds when it came to establishing friendships (and going to public speed sessions). The week after I wrote that piece I started to force myself to attend these three hour events; knowing that I was easily the slowest person in the whole group. A painful, painful, humbling pill to swallow.

With that said, as weeks passed by I started to notice an adjustment in my own life at these practices that I hadn’t quite anticipated.

Hey, want to cool down with us?

How are you feeling today?

Don’t push yourself if you’re not feeling well.

I know that injury is hard, but patience is worth it.

Have you thought about running a race on a trail?

These, wait for it, people were talking to me. Sure, they had their one hundred mile races logged, and they average 40-50 miles a week of running, but they were talking to me. The guy that was running alone and not quite sure why he was even in this specific situation to begin with.

The awkward sensation has been taking place for two months now…

In this timeframe I did the unthinkable; I asked one of these random runners if they could speak to my students about owning their own business (coffee shop, naturally). They agreed! Yes, this random runner who unknowingly was kind to me at a practice that was so nerve wracking that I had skipped several weeks in a row, had agreed to speak with my students on the opposite side of the city. No. Strings. Attached.

Guess what?

The day came and they showed up! They talked about business with my students, they were kind, polite, and the kids were curious about their tattoos (it’s a ultrarunner thing I’ve learned). I was in awe; I had met someone, learned about them, ran with them (or tried to), and then asked them to do something with me outside of just running.

Did I just make a friend?
I just made a friend.

You want to grab a glass of wine with us?

The question that was directed towards me after last weeks session. Due to school I declined, but I knew I was glowing when I got into my car to go home. Someone had asked me to go with them, a group of people, and just be…well…normal people. I’m invited to other running adventures outside of Wednesday nights (of which I’m sure I’ll die), and have even started the training process of running with them this October on a 25K race.

I can’t quite think of the last time, if ever, that I made a friend that wasn’t connected to work, school, or church related activities. They are people who just hold the same interest as me. They are far, far cooler and better composed compared to myself, but they still accept me. They still accept my oddities and still choose to talk to me.

Maybe I’m a creep for writing about making friends. Maybe it further fulfills the notion that I am one of the most narcissistic people on this planet. Maybe I am happy that something out of the ordinary has transpired in my life, and I simply want to share the joy with people who read this post.

I have social problems; I accept this sad reality.

I also accept the reality that I’ve made a friend.

-D-

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Mobile Minutes: Stalling


I’m stalling…
I gave into my antisocial desire to avoid people this evening. First step is to admit the issue. The second is dealing with the frustration of the letdown.

Tonight, after school, I was to join a running group to work on speed sessions. Completely voluntary, open to the public. I’d been talking on social media, asking questions about tempo runs, time improvement, etc…it was something that would go well with what I’m looking for.

At 4:30 PM a severe thunderstorm watch was issued for the area. The track for this speed session was an hour south into the city. I wasn’t sure of the weather, so…I stayed home.

Now, I’m going through the guilt. I didn’t want to go because I’m slow. I’m not a fit, attractive runner. I’m awkward when I move, and my mind easily moves faster compared to my body. I am afraid. It’s so frustrating. My mind says, “Go make new friends. Go run.” My body just freezes, my stomach starts to churn, and I talk myself out of the event.

I’m an adult right? I can make my own decisions, and I can do as I please. Yes?

No.

Maybe it’s the growing older process; I just can’t get over how much I truly struggle being around people. Not just people I know, but those I don’t. It’s embarrassing to have a complex similar to that of a teenager. Nothing makes sense. Common understanding is that it’s healthy to be around other people, it’s a cultural and societal drive.

I’m going to keep trying. I’ll get it right, it’s just going to take some time.

For now though, I think I’ll just go for a run.

-D-

But, why is it so hard to appropriately conduct in everyday life? Am I the only one that has these thoughts?

XXXI: No Apologies


Frequently I’m reminding of the adage that if you’ve been gone from your blog for a while, don’t come back as a writer…apologizing for being gone. The reality is that unless you’re a reality star, the world didn’t even realize that you were gone.

The earth keeps moving.

The earth is moving.

The earth moves.

Caught between a funeral and a deductible for a smartphone (this is a thing now); life just keeps moving in our weird, strange, and sometimes stressful household. My grandmother finally passed away, resulting in myself spending quality time with my family for four days in a town of 1000 people. My dream is to one day properly write down this event in text so that all can understand why life is sometimes as humorous as it is scary. The third quarter at school has ended and spring break begins on Friday. Overall, tranquility is a word that would be appropriate with the current trends of my own life.

At one point I was fearful of tranquility; equating it with compromising and settling. Things I feared, but sleeping with windows open, enjoying green grass, and running through our local community really has hit in stride with me the openness of seeing tranquility not as potentially just a sin, but perhaps also a blessing.

When the internal struggles of life calm down, that’s when we find our opportunity to critique, adjust, and learn about ourselves. With the quieter time that I’ve found in recent weeks I’ve started to take a closer look at the social aspect of myself…or…to be realistic; the struggle of it.

From school to church my social skills are in need of adjustment. In my head so many things make sense; I completely understand standing in the corner of a room listening to conversations without saying anything. That seems normal in my own mind, but that is a failure of understanding how it lacks of social drive of interaction with people around me. Last weekend, and this bothered Darco to no end, I found myself standing in the corner of our local running store. I had just finished my first race of the season, I was enjoying some snacks, and watching other people conversate within the building.

Turns out, as Darco stated sternly, I looked incredibly awkward acting as a grown version of a middle school wallflower. Internally, I understood that my choice was to observe not to interact. I didn’t want to interact because I wasn’t sure how, and just watching and analyzing topics of conversation was much easier. Whether that’s true or not is yet to be determined, but the potential body language that was shown toward my own teammates could have been rather poor. Even if the tendency was not meant to be negative.

School is a similar situation. I take sole responsibility for this; some instances throughout the year have shown that I struggle interacting with my peers. No worries dear reader; I interact with 12 and 13 year olds just fine. However, inside a middle schools it’s crucial that teachers work together. There is no greater sense of teamwork in elementary or high school; middle truly is where adults have to interact in order to lay the framework of success for our students.

Turns out that this is something that is a struggle for me. It doesn’t feel natural to listen, to accept, and not to work alone (I sound like some of my students in this sentence). I can say that it’s something that I’ve worked on throughout the school year; there’s some evidence of growth. However, it is still something that needs work.

Our church group is similar. Yes, I’ve gotten to the point where I’ll interact. However, most meetings are rather manic. I’m either overly bubbly, conversation driven or…like last week…I had no desire or need to communicate with the people around me. As you could imagine it always raises questions of if there’s something on my mind, if I’m in a bad mood, if I’m not feeling well, etc…

The overall point between these three recent examples is that I’ve been informed, shown, and demonstrated of an error that I have in my conduct between myself and people relative to my own age. At first that was a very hard pill to swallow. As time passed and meditation took place, I began to see that this has been a social issue that I’ve dealt with since I was a very young child. Sure, we could state that it was due to being raised as an only child, but Darco is actually really good at this social thing. I don’t know what the reason for the action, but I’m grateful that it has been brought to my attention.

Here is why:

If something like this had been shown to me five, ten years ago (it probably was); I would have brushed it off as something that was obviously wrong with everyone else. The arrogance of refusal in accepting that I’m at fault, I’m in error, or that I’m just plain wrong is something that I would have never admitted to. It pains me to type those words. With that said, I’m blessed to be surrounded by people at school, at home, and at church that have zero issues informing me that I’m ‘off’ in how I’m presenting myself to other people. To several, if not all of you, this may seem as such a small issue to have. For me, it’s almost a relief that I can internally accept the truth that I have issues to work on just like everyone else. Additionally, I like the fact that this is an example of an area to develop that doesn’t just affect life in one’s social setting, but also in their work environment.

How’s that for a random topic to type about?

This topic has been in my head and my heart for quite a while. I wanted to type about it so that I could feel secure about ensuring the ‘public’ knows that I have problems. It’s relieving for me because I’m willing to share a social development issue that I’m at fault for, and to state to the general public that it’s something I’m working on.

Consider the typing of this to be liberating if you will.

-D-

XXXI: Off Game


I can only blame Monday’s for so much…

I’m not sure if it was the class that struggled with reading the assignment in class today, whether it was the meeting with administration in the late morning hours (planned, nothing wrong here), or the sheer awkwardness of my complete lack of social skills around my peers this evening…but my day has been a wreck from the near start.

It’s hard to process the anxiety and fully write out the suppression of the individual psyche, but I can assure you that more than once this evening I felt myself taking deeper breaths than usual trying to focus on the room around me. I’m sure that it’s merely ‘all in my head’, but when you do something you love every day and one day doesn’t blend like the others…it’s enough for everything ‘in your head’ to come out in some random form of emotion.

Today was just one of those days where you subconsciously keep a check-list of all of the things that you’ve done wrong from the moment you woke up to the moment you arrived home. Why didn’t the kids understand this topic? Am I teaching to the correct standards? Did I meet with enough students one-on-one in class? Why do I struggle talking to my peers at these workshops? Why did I screw up after-school study hall? Are people starting to wonder if I’m actually a good teacher? What am I doing? The list carry’s on, and on, and on, and on…

This is my mind; I know it is. I understand that I “control” so much of it, but man…when you’ve had an off day, or your game is off, or something isn’t ticking right…especially in the beginning of the week. It’s a mess to recover from.

It’s just a day where you want to apologize to the school, to your wife, and to God for making mistakes that mainly only you know. You pray that you sleep well, eat well, and try to give the next day a better start.

-D-