Down Memory Lane

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about my childhood and the time that I spent with my grandparents. I was pretty lucky to be able to spend a lot of time with both sets and experience a wide variety of things that most kids didn’t.

For instance, I occasionally went to church with one pair or the other. My maternal grandfather was a Methodist minister while my paternal grandparents were Primitive Baptist. (I’ll leave it to you to do some googling, if you’d like) As a child, I noticed very little difference in either church. What I remember most fondly were the lunches. It wasn’t an every Sunday thing and it was glorious! They all called it “dinner on the green” and everybody brought at least one dish. Now these were small churches but not THAT small, and being Southern, you know there was a LOT of food, huge stone tables piled with it…and a lot of dessert too.

There were a lot of little things that made impressions on me too. My dad’s mom baked a lot. She made the BEST biscuits ever, and never measured a damn thing. She was the grandmother that did the most “crafty” things: baking, sewing, preserving. And for her, it stemmed from a survival instinct. Remember, my grandparents grew up in Depression Era America and this set wasn’t exactly flush with money. After my dad’s dad died, they found some money hidden inside his mattress.

Even “smaller” memories: vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup, watching my grandfather sharpen saw blades, sitting underneath my grandmother’s quilt frame while she worked. They had a kid’s swing in the backyard that was a double seater, so that two kids would be facing each other. Do you know the kind? Well one day, my grandmother put a board across the seats, then a blanket over that, and I laid on it while she swung me gently.

My other grandparents had a garden in the backyard and blackberry bushes all around their house. The garden had beans (can’t remember what kind), yellow squash, cucumbers, as well as a fig tree, a couple of plum trees, and at least one or two peach trees. I’m sure there was more in the garden but I can’t remember any more than that. I learned how and when to pick those vegetables, but the fig tree scared me a little…not sure why.

After my mom’s mom passed, my grandfather started feeding the stray cats around his house…and acquired a LOT of kittens as well. He had a small screened in porch and the cats would come in, whenever they wanted to, to have some food or water. And I’m not kidding when I tell you that there had to be at least a dozen of them!

I do have a lot more memories of them than this, but I thought I’d share just a few. So let’s hear from yall out there. Were you able to spend time with your grandparents growing up?

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The Truth about Introverts: My Own Experience

Happy October! I know, I’m a little bit behind but hey, better late than never.

Now that that’s out of the way, last week, the topic of introverts came up between a coworker and me and I mentioned that I am one. She gave me a funny look and said that I didn’t seem like one because I always seem so friendly. I said that being an introvert doesn’t mean that not being friendly. The next comment from her, “I mean, we’ve always gotten along.”

It got me thinking, does everyone think that being introverted means that the person is unfriendly or difficult to be friends with or something similar? In my own experience, that’s totally untrue. So to help educate the masses, I thought that I would make a post about what being an introvert is like for me. Now remember, this is MY experience, which means that not only will it about being an introvert but coupling that with being insecure and dealing with an anxiety disorder.

Let’s start with friendliness. I like being around people, but, for me, there’s a limit on how long I can spend with people before I need to be alone again. To be honest, it even extends to my boyfriend. Thankfully he understands my issues and doesn’t take offense to it…that’s one of the many reasons I love that man. There’s also a limit to how many people I can be around at one time. Small groups are WAY best and I usually get a feeling close to being claustrophobic in larger groups.

I don’t talk a lot, unless I have something to say or am really interested in the topic. A lot of people translate this to being shy and I used to as well until I finally figured out what it really meant. But I don’t like being the sole focus of an audience. If there are just a few people in my group, listening to me, I’m fine, but if it’s more than three or four people…well let’s just say I’ve gotten close to fainting. Hell, I took an F on a book report because it had to be a presentation in front of the class. This is where being insecure about myself comes into play as well.

I LOVE being alone. Most of the time, I actually prefer it. Of course, my boyfriend is the exception to this rule, because I love to be around him even if we’re not directly interacting. Also he understands that there are times that I need to be left alone and will let me have that space. I have family members that don’t really “get it” and will keep pushing themselves on me. Which is not cool, because then I don’t like being around them all that much.

I don’t have a lot of friends, but mostly because I have a hard time keeping in contact and they never understand me. I’ve only really meet maybe two other people who could identify as introverted so most people think that my lack of communication is because I don’t want to be friends. That’s really not true. A lot of the time, I either get lost in being alone or just don’t have the social energy to be in contact more often than maybe once a week. I am ok with only having a handful of friends though.

As I mentioned earlier, my anxiety disorder does play a large part in my social interactions as well. Sometimes it’s hard for me to tell whether the problem is being an introvert or just anxious about the social setting. From what little I’ve read on the subject, I think that they, basically, play off each other.

Please remember, all of this is just my experience and can vary from person to person, just with anything else. If you know someone who identifies as being an introvert, ask them if they’ll explain their experiences so that you can understand them better.