Friday, July 2, 2010

Being Sociable Can Be Painful

When I have lapses in motivation to stay on track with this life overhaul, I channel the immortal words of one Michael Jackson (Man In the Mirror video) : I'm gonna make a change...for once in my life.... I know MJ was talking about making a change with the world, but I am going to start with the woman in the mirror - and go from there.

At this point you all know I am trying to loose some lbs (el-beez), trying to eat better and move my ass.  Trying to get healthy.  Trying to figure out what is going to make me happy in this life.  Trying to figure out a lot of things.  One other area that I am trying to work on is my social interaction.  Being more patient and kind with people.  It is a work in process, to say the least!  I don't particularly care for small talk - unless you have something interesting to talk about (shout out to Norm for his railroad info, and Andy for his concrete canoes - to name a couple), or unless I have had a LOT of drinks. (maybe if I could have shown up drunk to work, everything would have gone better?  Just an idea I'm throwing out there.)  It usually helped when both were taking place.  I tend to just sit back, and watch.  People fascinate me - people watching is one of my favorite past-times - I enjoy watching events unfold in front of me.  Now that I am, for the most part, off booze - and in a city where I know no one - I have decided to make a conscious effort to be more outgoing.  I may even initiate eye contact, and possibly conversations (audible gasp!).

I haven't always been this closed off.  I used to be obnoxiously outgoing.  In high school, I would walk up to complete strangers (just realized how silly it is to use the word "complete" there - - like there are degrees of stranger-hood) and talk to them about anything.  I was unphased.  I never made a conscious decision to stop being that sociable - in fact I can't even remember when I started to shut down.  Now, sitting here, and forcing myself to think about it - I am fairly certain this about-face coincided with the period where I really started packing on the pounds.  I don't remember making a conscious decision to not speak to people - I don't recall the thought process of "they won't want to talk to me - I am too fat", but I am guessing that was just my brain keeping me protected.  No wonder I couldn't study in college!  My brain was too busy protecting my ever-expanding rear (and everything else)!!

So I decided to start my new extrovert lifestyle right when I got to town.  With Marilyn as my safety net, I initiated conversation with a lone gent at the bar.  We discussed the Brewers, the Packers (gross) and how his favorite bands are from Minneapolis.  He asked if we minded if he smoked (you are still able to smoke in WI bars - and I am not a huge fan) to which we replied "absolutely not... go for it" - and then I promptly borderline insulted him by telling him how much I was grossed out by the cig smell after we had gone out a couple of weeks ago.  Really Natalie?  I know it has been a while, but pull it together!!  Geesh.  This is going to be harder than I thought.

I have gone walking in a park near my new home this week.  I had a couple of very different experiences - depending on the day.  On one of the days, I was greeted with eye contact and hello's from a few passers by.  One man even wanted to talk to me about how sad he was the geese were gone, but he didn't miss their crap on the trails.  Valid point - I could not agree more.  Then this morning, it was a bit different.  I passed by 4 different people today.  One was a lady with her 5-7 year old daughter trailing behind her.  I smiled at both.  No response, short of a stare.  I even said hi to the daughter and she just looked me up and down (through her sunglasses), with no facial expression change.  The next was a man walking his 2 dogs.  He veered about 5 feet off the other side of the path while giving me a look that made me believe he thought I might try and kick his canines.  Granted - I am dead inside.  I do not have, nor do I want pets.  But I wouldn't harm them!  Then there was one old guy who actually smiled and said good morning.  The 4th guy just stared at me until I said good morning, to which he mumbled something and kept walking.  Seriously!  Do I look that different?  Did my smile appear to be less than authentic?  Was I giving off a less than friendly vibe?  Then I got back home and realized it could have been my t-shirt.    

Maybe Milwaukee just isn't ready for a girl to be wearing a shirt talking about "family fun" with 2 hands cupping her boobs?  Maybe...

Well...tomorrow is another day.  I am going to bury my family fun t-shirt in the back of my closet, put on one of my many shirts promoting heavy drinking, and see if this town is ready for that.  Wish me luck!


  1. super proud of you for getting out there, despite the discomfort! nice work, lady!

  2. I have to say that I believe the world isn't ready to be nice. I often will say "hi" to those that I pass, as well. I don't have that T-shirt, so I know it couldn't have been that. I'd say about 30% of the public smiles and is nice to see other active people...then, the others are mortified at the idea of having to just say "Hi" and smile...How did that ever get hard?
    I couldn't help but have to read back through the 2nd paragraph...does this mean you had a date? - with the smoker? -- and then you said he was stinky? Now he'll have a complex. :)
    I need the juicy details. We'll talk.

  3. Normie will appreciate the shout out :) Please crack out the many shirts promoting drinking - I really do not believe that Milwaukee can accept anything less :)

  4. Natalie,

    If the world acted like 2 year olds the world would be a better place.2 year olds walk into a room and just assume everyone likes them and they like everybody. Mean people just confuse them and they walk on. Also they like outfits that don't match and really don't care what other people wear. It's obviouse that when people mistreat a 2 year old that is a refection on them not the innocent child. I have adopted that spirit in my own life and it really frees up my anxiety level. You just keep smiling and saying hello and just concentrat on how you feel when you do these things and don't project. This will help you stay happy and sencere. There are people at my job that don't get me and don't like me they are missingout and when they even try to mistreat me my cohorts just laugh along with me it keeps us intertained but keep in mind if any one of these people would want to be on friendly terms that would be o.k. but would i invite them to my birthday party? problably not. Stay true to your self and keep up the behavior that will give you your authentic self it will feel great eventually. love lisa


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