Yeah, I know I should be organizing my house. I’m really feeling run down with the cold I contracted from my daughter. So I am resting and nursing my health and blogging instead.
I’ve wasted no small amount of energy feeling sad about the lack of quality people around my parts of the big blue marble I call home.
I have invested quite a bit of money in ‘self-help’ books regarding giftedness and creativity.
I know plenty about how to “be my own friend”.
After 42 years, I realize what an outlier I am in my neck of the woods, which isn’t saying much, because I don’t think my IQ is all that high. What strikes me as different than most people who are around me is the combination of being a science geek, having a creative personality, being intensely curious and being on a quest for non-standard forms of spirituality. While I allow the influence of both Western and Eastern spirituality practices in, I generally don’t subscribe to any one religion. My philosophies revolve most around naturalism and humanism and existentialism. These three things seem to fit most right to me. But trying to find friends to talk about this stuff is difficult.
And while I have a husband and three daughters (all of us gifted), I have no close friends anymore. Those slowly drifted away. I still have some contacts with people, but no one I could invite out for a cup of coffee on a Thursday night just because.
I spend a LOT of my time at the coffee shops, hoping to make new connections. But I’m generally quiet and writing or art journaling or reading heavy tomes (on Wednesday night it was A Most Dangerous Method: The Story of Frued, Jung and Sabina Spielrein.)
It was crowded. There were a few chairs at low tables was only one normal table open, in between a young couple and two 30-something men. It didn’t take me long to realize I made a mistake. One young man was really upset that his ‘best’ friend girl (for four years) has essentially cut back considerably on their friendship, to the point of almost nonexistence except for a text here and there and a verbal invite to her baby shower. She’s 6 months pregnant with some other man’s baby who is not very good for her and she’s from an alcoholic family and blah, blah, blah and LOTS of stuff that indicates he is incredibly hurt and angry about things he has NO control over but that he wants to somehow force this friendship to remain as it was when so much has changed for her.
I listened to him go on about it for more than 30 minutes and besides being unable to read, my own agitation was growing as I listened to him whine. But don’t get me wrong. I definitely understand the pain he was feeling as his dear friendship had disintegrated. But he went on about it in such a way that made her sound like a jerk and him to be so pitifully neglected and how dare she throw away 4 years for some “dude” she got impregnated by.
And while this sounds coherent in the retelling, let me just say that he spent most of his conversation studded with incomplete sentences. The way he initially sounded, and the way he said, “I’m always going to love that girl” and the way he got so distressed about her cutting him out of his life, I thought HE was the father of the child. But, alas, no.
At one point, I just got so distressed myself and he wasn’t listening to his friend give him some pretty sage advice, I just HAD to break my silence. After I excused myself for intruding, I told him about the dissolution of a 24 year friendship due to the interfering factors of an insecure spouse (his wife) as well as the complicating factors when children come into the world. I told him how sometimes we just have to let go of otherwise really good friendships for reasons beyond our control when things in THEIR lives change, even though it really hurts sometimes. I said he ought to listen to his friend’s advice because it was pretty sound and he didn’t disparage the girl to make his friend feel better (as sometimes can happens in these social situations).
I admit, I had some ulterior motives in mind – I wanted my peace and quiet back to read and make art. At some point his friend introduced himself and shook my hand (which I thought was very nice) and then he introduced himself. I asked the upset friend what he did for a living and he said he was studying to be a journalist and he also enjoyed photography and music and so wanted to be a music journalist. I thought to myself – wonderful, a fellow writer-type and a shutterbug too.
He told me a bit about what he’s learning and told me, “oh yeah, I am beginning to learn all types of things about how the media is manipulating people by making some stories much more sensational than they ought to be while downplaying others” (I had to choke back a laugh because I think we gifted individuals have already been clued into this kind of thing because of the trait of having some independent thought at an early age and a fairly good dose of critical thinking skills when it comes to judging sources of information).
He calmed down considerably, thanked me and he and his buddy decided they needed a smoke break. I finally got some peace and quiet.
When they came back the friend went to the bathroom and he thanked me again and then said, “well, I’d best get to my studying now”. At which point he began to plug into his iPod and started to get to work.
One the one hand I was glad to get back to what I came to do as well, but I was aware…not once did either of them ask about me other than to ask me my name. It dawned on me how self-absorbed in the current problems we think we have that we miss out on potential new connections. I step out of my observer role to participate in someone else’s experience, and I am no more known than I was before I opened my mouth.
It used to really make me sad that this stuff happens time and time again.
I thought for the longest time, that it was me.
My husband sent me a couple of quotes from Stephen Fry – the British actor/writer/poet/narrator/tv host and this one I think what he states is pretty much part of the problem.
Stephen Fry on Poetry and Laziness:
“You cannot work too hard at poetry. People are bad at it not because they have tin ears, but because they simply don’t have the faintest idea how much work goes into it. It’s not as if you’re ordering a pizza or doing something that requires direct communication in a very banal way. But it seems these days the only people who spend time over things are retired people and prisoners. We bolt things, untasted. “It’s so easy to say, ‘That’ll do.’ Everyone’s in a hurry. People are intellectually lazy, morally lazy, ethically lazy…
“… When people get angry with a traffic warden they don’t stop and think what it would be like to be a traffic warden or how annoying it would be if people could park wherever they liked. People talk lazily about how hypocritical politicians are. But everyone is. On the one hand we hate that petrol is expensive and on the other we go on about global warming. We abrogate the responsibility for thought and moral decisions onto others and then have the luxury of saying it’s not good enough.“
I have to agree, this is true. And it’s true for social connecting as well. We want to be known without ever wondering what it is like to know someone else.
When I meet people, I want to know all about them. In what ways are they like me? In what ways do they differ? What can I learn from them, if anything? Do they have any opinions about _______ philosophy/theory/idea.
And then I want them to know something about me. Or more than a few somethings about me. I asked a dear internet friend of mine about it and I mentioned that I thought it might be that people didn’t want to know anything about me because I’m not worth knowing. He said, “it has little-to-nothing to do with your not being worth knowing.”
I said he’s probably right and what really I think is going on is that people truly do not know how to make room for others in their lives.
I used to think I had great social skills. I mean, after testifying in court over 25 times, talking to people off the stand just became easier. Until the last few years or so, after I left my job and stayed home with my children. I’m not introverted or shy…just finding the same kind of self-centered, shallow conversations with people who have a pitiful range of vocabulary everywhere I go. It’s not even fun anymore to talk to people.
I spend a great deal of time reading and writing in order to chase away my loneliness caused by other people’s laziness. And I still find it hard to find friendship even through my blogs, one of which I’m very pleased with but no one seems to really comment on it much. Whatever it is people want, I can’t give it to them because I just don’t have it.
That last line of Fry’s just gets to me.
“We abrogate the responsibility for thought and moral decisions onto others and then have the luxury of saying it’s not good enough”.
I don’t know how to change this.
I think that’s part of what the spirituality path I’m on is about too. I can’t change the circumstance of dumbing down in others easily, so I need to cope with this massive ignorance I face on pretty much a daily basis.
I thought this would make a great post and I have a question for you out there in the blog world. I can’t be the only gifted/highly sensitive/creative type out there that runs into this.
What do YOU do to cope with this distressing and demoralizing situation of being too smart/too creative/too sensitive/too thoughtful for the soil in which you are planted?