Monday, January 30, 2012

Sometimes I still feel like I'm 14.

I have written this entry a million times in my head, failing to ever really get it down. Then something happens that brings the subject back to the forefront. Today, it's on my mind. Here's my attempt to expound.

Do you ever feel like you are your own worst enemy? Like you have a million different personalities who are all at war with one another? Well, I do. Having studied various aspects that make up our personalities and relationships in college doesn't help my obsession. It only feeds it. I WAY over analyze things...people. People are just so fascinating...figuring out who they are, why they are the way they are, etc...which usually brings an understanding and new found respect and love for any particular person. And of course, I do this to myself as much as anyone else. Lucky Shane gets to listen to me babble beyond reason. Poor guy. Good thing he likes me.

I experience an inner battle every week while teaching piano. I have RED, assertive, blatant thoughts yelling in my head just dying to make it out into the open. Blocking those thoughts from ever leaving my mouth is the desire to please everyone, & be loved. So I filter, which most of the time is a good thing, in my opinion. But my roll in these moments is one of authority and expertise rather than peer. Trying to reach a balance between the two is difficult and we see parents walking this tight rope everyday...trying to figure out how to be both. In the end, I have students that LOVE me, but who (I don't think) really respect me as a teacher. Okay...so maybe there is still some respect...but no fear. I think I need to be a little scarier. Assertiveness has always been hard for me and I've gotten better, but I still feel the battle regularly. In the case of teaching, I struggle with the teacher I wish to be and the teacher I really am. It's a big deal me. Being a perfectionist just complicates my life!!!!!!! Week after week...it's exhausting.

Okay, new situation. I've been told many times that I can come across stuck-up, snotty, cold, intimidating, unapproachable, etc. This referring to peers, not students. I HATE this, not only because I want everyone and their dog to love me, but because I don't feel like it's who I am at all. No one thinks of themselves in that way, right? But first impressions can be a big deal...lasting, deal breakers even. I know that you can't control what other people think of you but you can control yourself (how many times did I hear this from my parents?!). So this is my mission: to never come across snotty or rude or intimidating. Ha! Talk about setting yourself up for failure. Doesn't stop me from trying though. But I am who I am and my personality gets the best of me. Seems the more I try to come across, I don't know...kind and likeable (what does that mean anyway) the more standoffish and unapproachable I become. It's like when you know a certain person is really funny and you think the only way they will like you is if you say something really funny. That's the exact moment that I become beyond awkward and super un-funny. For the life of me I can't think of anything clever or witty or funny. Just...awkward-ness. When it matters the most, I freeze and end up feeling like a complete social idiot. Does it seem like the older you get, the more socially awkward you become? I found myself in this exact situation this week...trying to be cool, likeable, non-snobbish, funny...and then I just defaulted, flopped. I am who I am. and I was mad at myself for it. In the end, I felt just like my 14-year-old-Jr. High-school-going self. She's not my most favorite person in the world. Shane and I often become Zoolander and ask..."Who am I? I guess I have a lot of things to ponder."

Okay. New situation. Let's talk about book club. This where my over-bearing and super opinionated self is released. That person I want to be when teaching piano but can't seem to find her. The person who I fear people are just wishing would SHUT-UP! Ya. That person. I think of the line from the Sara Bareilles song, "You've got opinions, man. We're all entitled to 'em. But I never asked." And I even prep myself for situations like book club. Like when I'm with my family. I become that stereo-typical oldest sister. Bad. I hate it! I take on that over-bearing role. It just spills out of me uncontrollably. I tell myself to just keep quiet. But I am who I am and seem to fail miserably.

Can we really change who we are, or will we always default? At the end of the day, I feel like I know who I am and, for the most part, like who I am. Getting others to know me like I know me and like me the way I like me is a whole other ball game. I hate that I care so much. But I am who I am, and I do.

That's my story. The end.

17 comments:

julie said...

Oh Amy, we need to have a sleepover. (speaking of being 14) We could talk ALL night about this. I've always wanted to write a blog on how everyone thinks I'm the biggest snob ever. (But you seem very friendly! I don't get that about you.) But I hate that! I'm not a snob!!! But I'm even afraid to write it, because everyone will secretly be like ,"yeah you're a brat." Remind me to tell you my Welch music story.

Anyway, good luck. I understand you 100% this whole post.

Oh btw, one time your mom made me cry at piano lessons.hahah, so just ask her for advice. :)

John and Anna said...

Julie's right! You are not snobby! Ever! I never got that from you at all! And I've been told the same thing, when my shyness has come across as snobbyness.

I think you will find that many, many people have felt the exact same way you do, but just haven't been able to express it as well as you just did. Thank you for putting it into words.

Also, I'm pretty sure I have the multiple personalities disorder you sort of described. In fact I had a room mate in college who told me I needed to see a shrink because I acted differently around boys than our girl friends. Ummmm... Who doesn't? Or did I really need help? Either way, I find myself wishing I could have said this differently or done that differently in certain situations and wonder how long it will take for the awkwardness to go away. And then sometimes I feel like I'm awesome and can be every one's friend. Wow, I chalk it all up to girly hormones. :)
I love you for who you are and for posting about this! I also wish we lived much closer so I could hang out with you! :)

Katie said...

Just wait until you are called to serve in Young Women and then all your old 14-year-old angst really comes out--wowsa!

I am caught in the forever big sister must-tell-you-my-opinion-and you-really-need-to-listen-because-I- am-right-mode. Sigh. This is something I especially want to work on as I think it will improve lots of my relationships with family and non-family alike.

None of this really helps except to let you know that you are totally not alone in your feelings and for what it's worth I think of you as a very kind and generous person. You certainly helped me out during a time when I was pretty darn scared and wary of the future (twins). I'll forever be grateful to you for that.

Emily said...

Awww, Amy. I have never thought you were snobby, but I can relate to the post. Except insert "crazy" for "snobby." I'm always worried that my first impression leaves new potential friends thinking, "That girl is C-R-A-Z-Y." But I'm also like you in that I want everyone to like me. I want to be everyone's favorite, and if they think I'm crazy, I hope it's in a good way.

By the way, I really like you, and I know my dog would, too.

Justin and JoLyn said...

I can totally relate to this post. I, too, don't really like my own personality. I wish I could be that bright, yellow personality that everyone loves... I'm so not. In fact, I read a fascinating article on introvert personality types yesterday... people who like to be alone... totally me. How depressing is that? I worry--over analyze--have freakish O.C.D. tendencies--and I can't be different, no matter how hard I try. I often pray that I can feel good about being me. But just for the record, you're so not snobby. You're one of my favorite people ever. I like you. You should like you too--all of your personalities.

Tonya said...

Oh my gosh you just described my life. ESPECIALLY with the piano teacher thing, and the un-funny thing! ha ha ha! Anyway, I don't know if you're this way but with the piano thing along with feeling some ridiculous need to have my students like me, I also have this never-leaving fear that I am going to turn into my first, mean teacher. Granted she made me good, but that is like the fear that comes across and takes over every time I'm about to say they need to count . . . and then I don't. boo!

MariePhotographie said...

Oh, AMY! You just wrote what is on my mind every single day. Yes, I feel I get more socially awkward the older I get. Blah. And yes, the perfectionist side of me is completely exhausting. And I can't believe you've been told you come off snobby??? To me, you are so easily approachable and likable and FUNNY! You just keep being you and try not worry about what everyone is thinking. And I'll keep trying to get myself to do the same. Love you!

Bree said...

I so totally feel you on everything and I hate it. I always tell my hubby I feel sorry for him for marrying me cause I'm such a freak! I was talking to my sis the other day and said do you ever feel like you are such a great person on the inside and have so many great ideas and thoughts but the outside you is different like those thoughts don't come out or you are different then what you think inside... Make sense? Yeah I hate it!

Cheri said...

I laughed my way through this whole post! Not that I'm laughing with you, but how many times have I felt this same way!? I've always felt that I come off as awkward and geeky, probably because I do. I also have a shy and quiet side with new people which I think often makes them think I have no interest in being friends. Then on top of it, I'm always changing and growing, so I'm pretty sure I'll be awkward my whole life. Just know that how you feel is how everyone feels. Loved this post.
PS: Love you're hair! The short bangs are fun.

Cheri said...

I meant,"laughing at you." woops
And now I get the post on Facebook from the other day, too.

Nan and Aaron said...

You're too hard on yourself, but I hear ya. I'm real good at blurting out things to "be cool" and then beating myself up about what I said for weeks afterward. Sometimes I wish I'd just close my mouth!

Just know I love you exactly for who you are, even though I was a little scared of you when Aaron and I dated! Ha! Ha! Maybe that's why I love you so much, because I've been on both ends. I've seen both sides and I love you for all of it!!

xoxoxox

Aubrey said...

I kept thinking to my self- no Aubrey these are Amy's thoughts not yours. Our minds are very much alike. At least that's comforting, we can all be awkward and crazy together! haha!

I've always loved you and your family. You are a good woman.. just the fact that you care to be better proves that.

I've come to understand that people that understand they are crazy are secretly wiser because they can be honestly introspective, and from that point they just keep working to conquer the natural man.

*LaUrA* said...

I have been writing this post in my head for the past few years too! When I first moved into my new ward in Mississippi a string of events happened that aided in people's perception of me. And they all got it completely wrong. Not to mention the fact that a dear, sweet sister told everyone who would listen that I hated Mississippi, hated the ward, and thought they were all clique-y. Never once did those words exit my mouth...so how she came to that conclusion and then felt compelled to do everything short of announcing over the pulpit...I will never understand. I learned all this when she moved away. The saddest part...she was the one person who I actually felt like was my first real friend down here. I still don't get it. And it has been hard because first impressions are a BIG deal...and now I feel like a self-fulfilling prophecy..since they say so and treat me like they think I am...then I am.

This sounds depressing and like I should be miserable. But I actually really love my ward and am comfortable there. I have a handful of really great friends I can count on. BUT...I feel like they don't really know me. And I am stuck in this perception and can't work my way out. It is all so weird and when I think about it too much (like now) I am frustrated. It is like I can't really be me because now these people don't accept that as me...they keep pushing me back into the role they think is me...ahh. I think I need counseling. Wait...I know I need counseling. And I new ward.

I told Josh when we were getting ready to move that I was going to come into our new ward and be the bubbly, float-y, happily contagious, person that makes everyone feel comfortable and a friend. Yeah, that didn't work. I think you can make little changes to your personality...but these drastic changes just are not possible. It is just not who I am. Oh well. Get over it.

Claire said...

I feel the same way too. I've even had parents of my piano students tell me to be meaner!! I just can't bring myself to do it often! And then I get annoyed that they don't practice. I so naturally say, that was good, when really it was awful! Tomorrow's my big piano teaching day, I think I'll try to be meaner (or just honest). We'll see what happens.
I've been told that I'm a snob too, but I so don't try to be or feel like I am! I think it's because I'm shy, but I guess sometimes I come off as a snob. When I get comfortable though, sometimes I feel like I say TOO much and regret it later and ask myself, ugh why did I say that??! But really, why do we care so much?? I feel like I am more socially awkward as I get older too, but I'm hoping that I'm also caring less and less too. I'm sure I'll be like those old people that just blurt out whatever is on their mind because they are just so beyond caring anymore what people think.

Huke, Lollie, and Gracie! said...

Amy, it has been a while since I got to look at blogs and so that means i haven't been on here recently. But I just came on to this post and I know what you mean and how you feel, and look at how many other people do too. I think everyone does. That is the problem. We will only be free from being 14, when you stop caring so much what other people think of you, how they perceive your actions, words, appearance etc. And it is not like just one day you can all the sudden decide that you don't care what people think anymore and you are who you are and you are free, it is day after day of little battles where you either failed or succeeded in not caring what other people think. That is why I married my husband. He does not care one ounce EVER what people think of him. It is so crazy. He is lucky. But sometimes because of that he can come off cocky or annoying or bad social skills, because he just does what he wants to do, says what he wants to say, etc. etc. He has no second guessing and analyzing himself ever, And people LOVE him.I know you can change who you are and not be stuck in 14 mode. Because that is what we are here for. We change our actions, then our thoughts, and then finally our motives (the hardest part of ourselves. Our motives are what we came to life to learn to change so they are all in line with Christ's. And we won't ever get there completely and that is why we have Grace and Christ to make up the rest. Sorry I don't mean for this to turn into a gospel lesson. But that is what changing ourselves is all about. That is why we are here. I am so so so so much happier when I just be myself, care less about how others perceive me etc. etc. Believe me my whole life, I have been riddled with anxiety and overanalyzation, and perfectionism. I always tell my family and friends when the concept of me and my personal health/well-being comes up - that Luke is my medicine. He keeps those things in check. It can be very de-habilitating and lots of people need meds for it. I don't know how to tell you "how" to stop caring. Part of it has to do with a lot of hurts that have come from overcaring and overchanging yourself for everyone else and being hurt/disagreements with my parents. Who cares if someone doesn't like you, if you like you, and you husband likes you adn God liks you. That is all that matters. Whoever said there was a "funny" or "cool" standard to meet anyhow and "whoever" thinks they can set one, should be shot!
I am sorry this is so long, you just struck a heartstring that I know so well, so I had to share what helps me. LOVE YOU!

Emery and Megan said...

Amy, I have never once thought you have come across snotty, even when we first met 7 years ago. I admire you! You are an amazing mom to twins which is something to be very proud about and you are a great friend! Luv ya!

A.R. Krieger said...

Amy I never thought of you as a snob. Sounds like by the other responses as well, that being a snob is something you don't ever need to worry about :) Shut up Julie, your not a snob either, or Anna, Laura, Aubrey, Cheri, all of you! Now your making me wonder if I am!
Depending on the time of the month I can feel a little bit more sure of myself to completely not. Sometimes I want to climb into a hole and not come out until it is over and I feel myself again. I think I am going to start tracking monthly when I feel fine and schedule everything that week! I don't know if I am any different as a person on the outside, but for sure what is going on inside is some crazy stuff.
I honestly have no clue what people think of me, and I don't see myself clearly either. It gets really frustrating because I really have no clue if I should change anything because I want to be a nice person, but I don't want to NOT be myself either. Hopefully I am a nice person being me! My solution to cope is just accepting my imperfect, crazy, weird, hormonal, overly informative (I promise I just get excited when I learn something knew and want the whole world to know it too)...whatever else I am self and even laughing about it.
Also we are our worst critic. I think it is a form of development at this time in our lives, I read that in some psychology book (maybe its true ;). Which makes sense to me because this time is all about nurturing relationships (children, spouse, friends) to make lasting ones for the rest of our lives. So we are overly critical or just extra careful when handling relationships. We also have to cope to our bodies changing a lot... its the effects of the child baring years and not puberty's fault this time.
As a teacher too I feel like their is a fine line between being too soft and being overly critical. Somewhere in the middle is an effective teacher. But I always have to try to keep in mind that some kids do better with more or less based on personality. It is hard but I have to encourage responsibility too because the only way to improve in something is to practice and practicing requires self discipline. Yet most kids are just learning responsibility, and so I can't expect them to know something they haven't learned yet. So I just do my best to encourage, and point out when they are responsible. I also have to teach principals by pointing out ways to improve, which can be discouraging. But if I don't students don't know what needs to be improved on. I just have to read them, to see if I discouraged or encouraged and if they seem sad or quit trying I add more encouragement. Every kid is different...even their days are different and you just never know. The hardest students are the ones that come because they have to, not because they want to. It is a struggle because if they don't want to learn, I don't want to teach them ...of course I would never say that, but it makes for frustration overall in a lesson. I don't have many of those, which is good. It is just a tough job to be a teacher. Every mom is a teacher too...it is mind boggling the majority of the time.
To sum up my novel here...we are all different and that is a good thing. Looks like we are all going through some of the same stuff. Maybe we can all figure ourselves out someday.