Sometimes I freak when I walk into a room. There are many reasons, many people, many places, many situations, many thoughts, many feelings. One is my self-image in the context of each of my personal relationships. I see my reflection in the face of another. My existence, in relationship, is a scary thing. When someone beholds me, they have a range of reactions: polite interest, positive engagement, intimidation, reluctant acknowledgement, jealousy, boredom, irritation, and you get the idea. So if my self-image were based on the apparent reactions and/or facial or bodily expressions of those I come in contact with, I would be a very confused person. Although my self-image is not solely based on the reactions and expressions of others, when it happens all the time, it does begin to wear on you. You begin to succumb to its persuasion almost despite yourself. Something deep down inside says, “Is that me?”, “Is that how I make others feel?” and finally, “Is that how I am?” But like I said, it seems to be quite a range, so part of me says, “It must be them, not me”. And in a job like mine, there are certainly all kinds of people, with all kinds of personalities, all kinds of hang-ups, and, occasionally, some very interesting, gifted, delightful people. Those last ones, they’re the ones you most want to go with, and go to, if the need arises.
There are other reasons that I freak when I walk into a room: Animals! My wife loves animals: dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, guinea pigs…and horses! The more the merrier! Only one problem: I am not an animal lover. I am really a loner, so an empty room is my friend. So, when I come home to our current menagerie: 2 dogs (1 young female chocolate lab, 1 old female Chihuahua), 2 cats (1 young male red tabby, 1 old female calico), and a male grey cockatiel with highlights of bright yellow plumage…I feel quite outnumbered, surrounded, and it’s hit the moving target with the male human.
Then there’s my wife. The sweetest, most sensitive, caring spouse one could hope for, and the first thing she wants to do is give you a great big bear hug and a smooch as soon as you walk in the door after a hard day’s work at the office that has made you want nothing but some peace and quiet and to be left alone. And she’s singing, or blaring music, or blaring the television. Just what an introvert like me looks forward to on the drive home from PRISON!
(To be continued…)