Now, you might suspect that a teenage girl in denial about her deepest fears who overcompensated by taking on a bunch of extracurricular activities could at times be hampered by her insecurity, and you would be right. I was always worried that people would be getting sick of me, and not want me around. Fortunately, I found another shield to use besides humor. It was busyness. Sure, I was always doing something, but also I always had something I needed to do.
This was my real armor. I had mentioned in writing about the reunion that I am not very ADD. Actually, I probably swing more towards OCD. I mean, if I mean drumming my fingers on a particular spot of wall, I don’t have to go back and do it, but I notice that I missed it.
This may be another reason that the sports management is what really stuck over the other activities. I had responsibilities. I was serving. As a people pleaser (psychological wound: shame), it was natural for me to feel a strong need to do things for other people anyway. Then, I could focus on the task at hand instead of focusing on whether I was an intrusion or not.
At one point during my junior year, the basketball team decided to start changing in the gym instead of the locker room. After all, the locker room was in the basement, so getting there required going downstairs and then coming back upstairs, which is a lot of physical effort to require of young athletes.
Part of my job was going over the practice area with a dust mop before practice, and one day when I was doing this, suddenly boys were undressing. Well, I just kept my head down and kept at it. Yes, they did try and encourage me to check out other people’s shorts, and I remember at least one person calling my name and then saying, “Look at me when I’m talking to you”, but I can’t remember who was saying it, because I never looked up.
(That’s not to say it wasn’t awkward, but the problem was resolved when Coach noticed the increasingly longer line of girls looking in the gym windows during this period, and suddenly they were heading back down to the locker room.)
This deep focus has some advantages, but it has some disadvantages too. For one thing, if you catch me when I am doing something else, I may have a hard time talking to you, because I wasn’t in talk mode, I was in reading mode or eating mode or pruning mode.
In addition, the lack of self-awareness was an issue again. I guess I sort of thought that if I was not looking at anyone, they were not looking at me, when actually I was quite visible. I think this is why I am sometimes surprised to realize people knew who I was or noticing what I was doing. Actually, you kind of stick out when you are doing needlepoint in the student center, and I have seen people do things like that as a way of getting noticed, but I swear I just wanted to finish the project. (Actually, I think the needlepoint is why I was able to hear some conversations that I did, because I looked intent, and I was, but only with my eyes.)
Anyway, it was natural for me to volunteer to be a greeter at the reunion, but in that case my focus was on socializing, so it worked well. And you have to admit, I get a lot done.
22 minutes walking outside
1st Nephi 18 – 1st Nephi 15