This is a blog. About grief. A glog.

This is a blog. About grief. A glog.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Rambling about Change, Young Adults, and Communication

On a slightly lighter note...

I've noticed recently several of my friends independently confessing a desire to go somewhere new, somewhere fresh, where there were no friends and family to have any understanding or preconceived notions of who they were.

And today, I realized that I wanted to do a very similar thing: I stayed in Lamoni last spring, after leaving school, despite my mom desperately wanting me to come back home. (Eventually I ended up calling her, sobbing, telling her exactly why I wanted to stay in Lamoni, and that what I needed from her was unwavering support. I'm pretty sure that's the last time since I was like 16, that I either cried that much in front of her, sort of, or tried to communicate that level of emotion to her.) I wanted to stay in Lamoni, I said, because I wanted to stay committed to returning to school, and because I had a wide support system here. And, it turns out, I wanted to stay away from people who knew my life story exceedingly well. I didn't tell her, that I also didn't want to be around this pressure to get better, to fix myself, or to have to explain what depression was, while I was dealing with it. Ick.

She sent me a letter yesterday that contained a small comment wedged between information about new shoes on sale and advice that I shouldn't use too much acne medication for fear of developing an allergy, saying she was going to give me advice, despite fears I would reject it. What? When did I do that? Is she talking about me not moving home? Or some other moment of obstinacy? Because I have no idea what she's talking about. I feel terribly disconnected, but I like receiving letters from her, besides that I feel it gives me (even more) breathing room, because it's bringing up comments like this. Damn, I do not communicate well with my Mom. At all.

Not that that's a surprise. I refused to friend her on facebook for about three and a half years, and have never been good about remaining in contact with anyone per cell phone.

But I also recognize now, that my attitudes fit into a pattern in young adults around me. Besides holdovers from being a rebellious teenager who wants to do everything on their own, and thinks they're really different from everyone else. But back to the pattern: many of my friends are graduating college or have recently graduated, and are facing a lot of change and increasing responsibility in their lives. And they realize that they are growing up and changing as people. (I'd really like to know more about the stages of developing as humans, because there has got to be something about this in there!) So because it's really difficult to become someone a little different, when everyone around you expects you to behave a certain way, it's easier to just go where no one has expectations, and meet people who see you for who you are right now, an accomplished and impressive person, not as who you were that time you were a dick to your friend because she disagreed with you or expressed nervousness or whatever.

I did that in my favorite example of how I was different in high school. Back then, I was intensely shy (but outgoing--this is an important distinction, and I'm gonna pause this sentence to explain, briefly. Shy: fear of social hubbub because of your actions, particularly when they are known to be unusual either for you or for your social group. Outgoing: perfectly comfortable interacting with humans and speaking up. So you can be outgoing, but shy about doing stuff other than talking)...about going to social events and dancing, in particular. But, as I started to enjoy listening to music a bit near the end of high school, I got tired of not getting to do stuff like dancing with friends. But hell if I was going to dance in from of my high school friends. They would have known it was extremely out of the ordinary (from middle school to high school, the only dance-like event I went to was the 6th Grade Mixer, and my Mom had a girl in my carpool buy a ticket for me and forced me to go.) My friends would have said something! How mortifying! Besides, they were now all comfortable with dances, and I had no idea what the hell happens at dances. So I went to college where no one knew me (entirely good reasons for this besides the dancing thing) and went to every dance they had, had a great time, and definitely was often one of the first people on the floor.
tl;dr I danced in college after being afraid to in high school.

So my point is, I still don't communicate well with my Mom, and part of that is probably because I'm still changing as a person. And I don't like feeling the need to figure out that change at the same time that I'd need to try to explain it to someone else. Although, from my glogging point of view, that's probably crap. Explaining it to the people you care about, should you so choose, probably helps you figure out what you want, and do it. After all, that's why I glog. So I can better understand myself. That's why active listening is helpful.

But, it's hard to hold yourself back from interjecting reassurances or advice to loved ones who are turmoiling (yes, you just saw that verbed right here, right now). And that's probably equally important, because when we do that, we communicate that we are not happy with the other person's growth happening on their terms. This previous statement only applies to conversations where the other person is verbally working through thoughts with you. In other situations, be yourself. But when family/friends aren't used to you changing or are explaining things while you're figuring shit out, that is so not helpful. It makes sense to try to avoid that and just find somewhere to be your new self, sans explanation. 

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