Monday, October 19, 2009

Maybe you've noticed

I’m more like an onion than a parfait.

I always tell my kids “You only get one chance to make a first impression”. It's true, I think people take note the first time they meet you, they kind of decide if they want to put any effort into getting to know you, or if you’re a nut they might decide if they want to keep their distance. That’s why I try to make a positive impression; I try not to be too nutty. It gives me a little cushion. I think I’m one of those girls who needs some cushion.

We moved into our new house a couple of months ago and now we’re in a new ward, I put on my outgoing, smiley, super friendly willing to pitch right in face so I could make a good first impression. Man is that exhausting.

Then I started to feel bad, because like an ogre, I have layers.

To the untrained eye I really am that first impression person, nice and helpful, quiet and kind. Then as you get to know me and peel back the layers you find I am still a nice person (mostly) and I really am always willing to help out, but I can also be sarcastic, and opinionated, sometimes silly and other times serious and not always the height of spirituality, actually at times quite the opposite, and mostly NOT quiet. Oh, and there's that dumb saying the wrong thing at the wrong time thing, it's charming. An enigma wrapped in a riddle, that's me. I don't even know who I am, how on earth am I supposed to wrap that up and present it to the world?! Huh?

Yeah, where was I going with this? Right.

I hate being the new girl. Everyone in my new ward has been very nice, very welcoming and genuine.  The problem is not them. It's ME.

You would think an old lady like me wouldn’t get so sweaty over not having a buddy to sit next to in Relief Society, but you’d be wrong, so very wrong. I feel like I’m in Jr. High. What if no one talks to me? What if someone does talk to me and I say something stupid? (Unfortunately the odds of that happening are higher than I like to admit.) What if they think I’m weird? What if I think they’re weird?

Also, there was this time right after I moved in that I may have totally blown it. I was at a “mid-week activity”, or whatever they’re called now, at my new ward, the kind of thing I usually skip but I was trying to make a good first impression and this woman came up to me and said, “Are you Sue?” I said yes, and then she told me her name and said she recognized me because she READS MY BLOG. She wasn’t yelling, it’s just seemed like it, because for some reason, the idea of someone that I don’t know RECOGNIZING me was, I don’t know, unreal. So instead of being flattered, or even friendly, I just sort of FROZE. Then I said a few super witty things like, “Uh” and “Oh” and “Doh!” Because, yes, I am a social retard.

Of course, after she backed away slowly (I’m sure she was silently praying she had mistaken me for someone else) I thought of at least a dozen (okay, 3) other ways I could have reacted if only I weren’t my own worst enemy. That was over a month ago, and I’ve barely been able to bring my self to make eye contact with this poor woman, or anyone else, in all that time because I’m so embarrassed that a person like me, with so much to say on her blog would have so little to say in person. I did finally say hi on Sunday and she didn't run screaming from the room, but that only proves that she has better people skills than I do, which we already knew because of the whole introducing herself in the first place thing.

I’m thinking of becoming a famous recluse. I just don't have the energy, or the skills aparently, to make good first impressions anymore and since I've already admitted that it's all down hill after the first time you meet me, why bother? Right? I know I can manage the recluse part, I’m going to watch Grey Gardens this week and see if I can pick up a few pointers. If you have any ideas as to how I can become famous I’d love to hear them. Unless they involve talking to real people, like in person, using my mouth to form words. Then I’m out.


Heidi Ashworth said...

Moving into a new ward is HARD. I can totally relate to all your feelings and I think if I ran into someone I didn't formally know, I would freak out, too. Are you going to watch the original Grey Gardens or the remake? I think both are imperative.

Heidi Ashworth said...

you know, from a Grey Gardens point of view, not an eternal life point of view. :)

Cheryle said...

I'm all for you being exactly who you are! All of us who read your blog think that you are great in each of your iterations, and having several personae keeps you interesting.

Besides, if you start out being whomever you aren't and people hang with that person, then what happens when they find out you're only that person sometimes?

Be you; you're great! And I saw the Grey Gardens play and the first movie; I've recorded the newer version and hope to watch it soon. Don't take your tips from them!

James said...

Famous? You could pretend to send one of your kids into the stratosphere with a homemade weather balloon.

Might be a little too tempting to actually do it, though.

Todd said...

I agree with James, if you can't use your children in some potentially dangerous way to attract national attention, then what good are they? Of course, maybe you should try the reality television circuit first. Wait, weren't you guys on Wife Swap once?

And you should really let go of that whole first impressions hang-up of yours. Not everyone was meant to get you, their loss. I enjoy meeting easily-offended people. It can be great sport.

wesley's mom (sue) said...

Heidi-I'm hoping to watch both versions. I wasn't freaked out, exactly, just caught off guard. I do better with virtual friendships, where I can edit.

Cheryle-I'm all for being who I really am, sometimes I just like to let people ease into it, rather than springing it all at once.

James-I don't really need the fame badly enough to go to all the trouble of launching my kids into space. Even though sometimes I would like to launch them somewhere.

Todd-Don't worry, I have great plans in the works for using my children to gain international notoriety. AND, I didn't say anyone was easily offended, I said I'm a dork who has trouble making new friends, that's all together different.