abundance · community · fun · laughter

The X Factor




Yesterday morning, after I left you with my maudlin, mildly
self-pitying blog, I went to meet up with some folks, and I was able to
identify the word for how I was feeling: deprived.
Usually in those groups, we talk about deprivation around
things like clothing (wearing your boots even though they’re falling apart), or
entertainment (not seeing live music for months in a row), or food (not going
food shopping). I use these as examples because I’ve “used” deprivation in just
these ways. I’ve been in deprivation around all of these things, and am working
my best to walk away from those ways of being and treating myself, through
recognizing that there is enough in&of the world to get my needs met, too.
So, as I sat down with them, I was thinking about how, precisely, I was feeling about my lack of group interaction, and I identified the term
In talking with them about it, I came a little bit further
into it: I realized that what I’m missing is being “on.”
About a year ago, I walked past a restaurant where a good
friend of mine was finishing up brunch with her husband and a friend of theirs.
They waved me in to sit down, and I spent a few minutes talking with them—not
catching up, just making conversation.
The same friend later told me that she’d never seen me like
that. That, in fact, she’d never seen me with other people. That I lit up, that I was funny, and charming, and
conversant, and “on.”
I was “on,” because being with other people like that, in
that way, a small group that isn’t there to listen to music or poetry or go to
a movie, in a small group where I can turn “on” my charisma—man, that’s what I’m missing.
I took one of those Meyers-Briggs personality tests, once as
a fun, short version, and once where an actual trained woman interpreted my
zillion answers to the zillion questions.
What she came out with was pretty telling to this new awareness: I
fall so directly between being an introvert and an extrovert, that I’m neither
an “I” or an “E”—I’m an “X.” (An XNFP, if you care to know.)
I need both. I am fueled and fed by both. I need the kind of
quiet, introspective time with myself, and the quiet, one-on-one interactions
where we can get really intimate and honest. AND. I need the loud, boisterous,
active hilarity of being with other people, where I don’t know what conversation
we’ll have, and I jump from topic to topic, volleying back and forth with
I miss that. I miss that part of myself, and I think that
part of what I was recognizing yesterday was an atrophying of that side of
personality. It really only comes out in those situations, and I’m simply not in
many of those situations these days. (Although, flirting has a very similar timbre to it.)
I love feeling “on.”
I love the rush of feeling expressive and funny and bold and intelligent. I
love the rush of feeling the charm that pulses from me when I’m in that state
of being. I love feeling charming. Here meaning, engaging, self-possessed,
active, social, humorous, with
levity. Oh levity. Donde esta levity?
That’s another longed-for part of that style of interaction—the levity.
We’re not going to get deep here, those are the rules of engagement. We may not chat about Karl Lagerfeld’s new collection (necessarily) or what
mascara we’re using (though we could), but we certainly won’t talk about deep self-work
or spiritual progress. We’ll talk at that mid-level of fluff that happens when
you’re engaged with friends and acquaintances in a social setting.
I’ve had plenty of opportunity, and continue to, to talk
about the heavy. And although people say they hate small talk, I guess that’s
sort of what I’m talking about – the chit chat and conversations that happen
over a bowl of punch, as you float from one corner of a party to another, or… at a dinner party.
I’m glad that I have been able to pin-point what it is that
I feel has been missing, because it makes it much easier to invite it into my
life, and find and create opportunities for that kind of Upness to happen. More
importantly, I’ve gotten to see why
these kinds of interactions are important, and indeed critical, to my level of
contentment and happiness. And just like the other places of deprivation I’d
identified, I first had to admit that those things were important to me, that
they were “needs,” not wants, not brush-aways.
However, I am sorry we both had to read through yesterday’s navel-gazing blog to get here. 😉

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