“old soul”

I learned to knit this summer, as I said a few days ago. I love it. I’ve made two bunnies so far.

My grandmother gave me a cardboard tube full of 11 pairs of needles and a canvas bag full of yarn. I’m not very good but one doesn’t have to be very good to make a bunny. Or a scarf.

I’ve also been sewing quite a bit, and learning to embroider. I saved a bunch of doilies from a fancy dinner to craft with them later.

I like crafts. I like cleaning, too. I spent all day today organizing my jewelry and cleaning out my desk, rearranging my knick knacks.

My mother said once that I am an old soul. At first I agreed with gusto. Yes! I’m an introvert, I don’t like big parties. I’m a fan of book clubs and knitting and crafts and orchestra concerts and modest dresses. I wear shawls, I light candles, and I save glass jars and ribbons though I don’t know what for. Old soul seemed to suit me pretty well.

But, do I want to be an old soul? On one hand, it means I’m wise beyond my years, mature, understanding. I’d like to be all those things. On the other hand, it means I’m boring. Lame. I don’t want to be boring and lame.

I think I’m more self conscious than I should be. I think we all are. I recently opened up to one of my best friends. I’m a private person in real life, so telling her all that has been bothering me was a big step. It’s funny, I write this blog for all the internet to see but I don’t talk to anyone face to face about myself. I often worry that they won’t care, or that I’ll bore them. Am I an old soul in that way too?

As a kid, I thought when you got older you would know everything. It’s sad and scary now that I know that isn’t true. I feel just as intimidated by parts of the world as I did back then. I still feel young, even if my soul is old.

I think the “old soul”-ness of me is just another side effect of both my introversion and my age. People underestimate the quiet one just like people underestimate the young one. Even I tend to underestimate myself.

Regardless of what all this old soul nonsense means, I don’t mind it. I like to knit, I like to wear nice clothes, I like to go to bed at a reasonable hour. And while this stuff may not be very “young,” it’s still stuff that is very “me.” And I’m happy to be me, even if I’m old at heart. Even if it means being a bit lame.

(Besides, if someone calls me lame, I just won’t knit them anything for Christmas. Then they’ll be sorry.)

To stand out or not to stand out

When I put together an outfit I never wear more than one “weird thing.” 

Meaning, if I’m wearing a yellow shirt I can’t do something new with my hair. If I wear a big necklace I can’t wear heels, and so on. Only one weird thing at a time.

I tell myself that I do this out of a sense of fashion. After all, don’t want to wear an outfit that is too loud. However, I’m beginning to think it’s because I don’t have enough self confidence to wear something that makes me stand out. 

Like how I wrote in my “fashion tips” posts, it works best for me if I wear something that can be both fashionable and not too bold, or something that can be changed from one to the other as need be. Perhaps it’s time I change that.

I painted my nails bubble gum pink today while waiting for a train. Will this make me more confident, or will I be removing it by sundown? Only time will tell. For now, I see it as a personal challenge. Let’s see how long I can stand it!

Pat on the back

Introverts tend to learn by observation. I know that I sometimes watch people from afar like a stalker, and then copy how they do things rather than just asking them. It’s just easier to have someone to learn from, especially as a beginner.

I guess it’s never obvious when the beginner is no longer a beginner anymore. I slowly weaned myself off the learner’s manual, and now—just months later—I’m expected to train my replacement. Am I even slightly qualified for that?!

Maybe that’s my introversion showing, too. After all, there has to be a point where I accept that I’m not bad at my job, right? Even there, in the previous sentence I was going to write “good” but then deleted it. It’s hard to have confidence without it seeming pretentious or braggy. How can we be expected to succeed if we aren’t allowed to be proud of our successes?

I’m not a beginner anymore, I know that. I’m…good. I’m good at my job. Why is that so hard to say, or to believe?

It’s always like this, I guess. Even when I was doing well in class I always acted like I was scraping by to my friends. Why aren’t we allowed to love ourselves and our accomplishments?

Ah, maybe it’s because they’re not great. Everybody gets a trophy, but kids aren’t stupid. We grew up knowing that praise doesn’t mean much. I grew up with my parents said I was smart, and pretty, and funny, but I knew that they had to say that. They were my parents. That didn’t mean I was smart or pretty or funny. And I lied enough to people to know that even a sincere-sounding compliment wasn’t always true.

Maybe we all have this nagging paranoia. It’s a deep fear in all of us that everybody secretly hates us. Those people do exist, after all…how can we tell if we’re only tolerable?

I think these thoughts are bred from our culture of stifling pride. Sure, everyone can say you’re beautiful, but if you agree then you’re suddenly vain. It’s a catch 22, that.

Let’s be proud of ourselves, shall we? Let’s acknowledge our accomplishments as well as our short comings. Let’s be bold and complimentary to ourselves, let’s support the radical notion that we’re kinda cool. Self confidence isn’t self absorption…so let’s pat ourselves on the back, already!

Lying to myself

When I’m sick I often can’t tell how sick I am. I tell myself it’s not that bad, that I’m faking it, that I’m being a wimp. If I eventually cave and go home sick, however, it washes over me like a tidal wave and I realize how I was on my last leg all morning.

I lie to myself. Usually it’s in the form of “It’s not that bad” to help myself get through things. It’s surprising that it’s even possible to lie to yourself, since in lying one must by definition know the truth and purposefully evade it. Perhaps a better term would be pep talk. I give myself little pep talks. It’s not that bad. You can get through it. It’s only X more hours.

I’m also constantly telling myself that the worst is over. X is half over; just repeat what you’ve already done. You’re closer to the end than the beginning. The rain is letting up.

Or I bargain with myself. At least it isn’t a sore throat. At least it isn’t still morning. Double whammy: At least it’s almost over.

A common theme is thinking about myself in terms of “You.” I think it’s because hearing “You can do it” from a voice, even if it’s my own, gives me more confidence than an “I can do it.” It gives the impression that someone else thinks I can do it, not just me.

I wonder why I can’t give myself pep talks in my own voice, as myself. I have to use this “You” to take myself seriously.

Then again, I wonder why I need these pep talks at all. I suppose the reason for both is a lack of self confidence. Something like, I don’t trust my own judgement so I have to hear it from someone else, even if that someone else is just me pretending to me someone else.

Maybe I’m overthinking something everyone does, I don’t know. All I know is, I’m not a good liar, especially not to myself.