Scene: Sitting in church. The pastor has about 5 minutes to go in the sermon. I know this because I had been at church for the Saturday night service and had already heard the sermon, but I like to sit with my mom on Saturday and a friend on Sunday mornings, so I sometimes attend two services.
Me, turning to my friend: I have to go.
Friend: “…?” (It was evident by the look on her face)
Me: Well, give me a hug!
Friend, still confused, gives me an awkward sideways hug.
Me: Okay, bye!
I’m fairly well known for my disappearing acts. I’ll be in a group of people, and the next thing anyone knows, I’m not there. Usually it’s because I’ve had a panic attack and run to my car to go home, or run to the bathroom to cry. I do it at family functions too… find my mom to take me home, and go, without ever saying goodbye. So first and foremost, let me say that the fact that I said anything at all was a huge improvement. I didn’t just disappear.
I have the ability to say goodbye appropriately. In this situation at church, I could’ve easily whispered that I had to meet my mom at 10:30. Knowing that it was 10:10, my friend would’ve surmised that in order to get there on time, I needed to leave now. Very simple. But if I don’t rehearse, if I don’t run through things in my head sixteen times beforehand, I often can’t access that ability.
This most often happens with language, for me. I have the ability to say xyz, but in the moment, if unprepared, I don’t have access to that ability, and what comes out is… well… you never really know! Whether it’s answering how are you with you too, or whether it’s being unable to ask are you okay, it frustrates the heck out of me.
I know that I’m miles ahead of where I was some time ago… but I also know that I have miles to go before I sleep, if you will. But then, without the need to work on myself, wouldn’t life be boring?