My husband and child are social creatures. They are attractive and bubbly. They are bright and energetic. They feed off the social energy of a crowd.
Me? I'm that pale, startled looking beetle under the rock. The one who takes off like a bat out of hell when you flip the rock over, trying desperately to find cover. You can practically hear the beetle screaming in a little beetle voice "AAAAAAHHHHHHH!"
Aside from the obvious question of how two such different social styles met, courted and married (Thanks, Alcohol!) this has made our "friendships" as a couple and later as a family difficult.
Recently, Terrance has acquired some friends. I mean, I guess they are my friends too, and goodness knows they are nice people. I like spending time with them. But.... Well. They like to get together much more than I can handle.
This puts Terrance in the awkward position of trying to explain his weird vaguely anti-social wife, who never shows up for anything and doesn't answer the phone...or return phone calls. This, not surprisingly, makes him mad. At me.
For people without this intrinsic discomfort, I suppose it is an impossible thing to understand. NOT like being with people? What's not to like? I mean, you sit there. You talk. You socialize. You have some wine. In fact, I announced to this very group that I needed a great deal of time to recover after each time I am with a group. However announcing this to people who have no idea what you are talking about is like me announcing that I gave birth through my nose. Impossible!
However, I have done something now - twice - that I am both vaguely ashamed of doing, and at the same time wildly defensive about needing to do.
The first time I did it, I blamed the wine. I was tired and just wanted to go home. I git up from the table, gathered Emily and left. I said goodbye to no one. I left, fleeing to the quiet dark of my house, my rock. Terrance must have been told that I did this, for he asked me and I denied it. I was sure I had said goodbye to somebody, hadn't I?
Then last week, I did it again. I am, however, sure that I said I was going home to get Emily's stuff, as she was sleeping over her friends house. Then, the group of parents and kids met me at my door and after I packed her bag and handed her off, I knew I should have gone back to the party...but I couldn't. I mean, I KNEW I should. But I didn't.
The next day Terrance was quite upset. "You snuck off again without saying goodbye Dawn! You are a grown woman! You can't do that!"
I defended myself, knowing what he said was true. I had no real excuse, except that I couldn't go back. I had used up all my social energy in the two hours I had been there. I had nothing left to offer.
I needed to crawl under my rock and recover from the hopped up adrenaline of being with other people. My new skin is still a little fragile.