Happy day before Halloween, Reader! My apologies for dropping off of the radar last week without telling you; that day did not at all turn out as I planned, which meant I didn’t make it to writing to you. It’s been like that more days than not, recently.
Which is why my little introverted self is SO DAMN EXCITED about tomorrow, because I have nothing planned. By this, I mean I have planned nothing; nothing is the plan. I have turned down other things so that I can have a day of nothing. I need to recharge but badly. And it’s been interesting to see other people’s reactions to that.
So tomorrow is a holiday; I’m sitting at my desk in a dress and evening gloves, so you bet I’m aware of it. But it’s not really my kind of holiday; it’s a holiday for kids to go ask for candy as though we’re not afraid of each other for this one night, it’s a holiday for parents to joke about who had the worst experience finding the right costume; it’s a holiday for college students to get super drunk in questionable clothing with each other and watch “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” It’s not really a holiday for people like me—which is not to say that I don’t like the holiday or that I couldn’t gather together some friends and go to a corn maze or have a movie marathon or something, because I realize that’s totally an option. It’s to say that that takes a bit more maneuvering now than it did when I wasn’t a Professional Adult with a bunch of Friends With Kids.
And the thing of it is, I’m not complaining at all about that because it means I get to stay home and just chill tomorrow. It’s so cool that society has taken lots of steps in the last decade or so to not only recognize but celebrate the gifts and differences introverts have to offer, but it still seems super weird to people that some of us need to just be in our own headspace. I was talking to a friend the other day (who has several kids) and she asked what my Halloween plans were. I said I was going to be home alone and she got so incredibly sad, as though it were a terrible thing that no one loved me enough to get together with me on the holiday. It took quite a while to convince her that this was my choice and that I was not only okay with it but looking forward to it—and I’m still not sure she completely believed me.
It’s funny (in the “interesting” way, not the comical one) that this should be on my mind today because Interpreter and I recently had a…disagreement about things like this. (I don’t know that we actually got into a fight, but I was pretty mad at him.) Especially as I get deeper into the process of getting into professional ministry (I’ve started my seminary applications! I’m totally terrified of this!), he keeps reminding me to establish and hold boundaries now so I don’t run into not having them when I need them. This is a good reminder and a good thing for him to do as a friend, but sometimes I feel people don’t give me credit for the boundaries I do have. So the “funny” part comes from this push-and-pull of people telling me to turn things down more often but then being concerned when I have a day of nothing that I jealously guard.
I’m making this bigger than it actually is; most people have merely been a little skeptical but totally cool with my delight in having this one day off tomorrow. I’m just very aware of the both/and of this, the human tendency to say “I know you’re busy, but…” And I’m also aware of how much I need this day; I’ve been extroverting pretty intensely for a while now, and while I really appreciate the connections that have been made and the opportunities enjoyed, I’m drained. One of the ways I can always tell when I need to recharge is where my ability to write is; NaNoWriMo starts Sunday, and I honestly couldn’t manage a poem right now.
It’s a pretty well-preached concept of Jesus needing to go away to pray and recharge and how the people would follow Him even there, such that He was sometimes forced to get into a boat or something just to have some downtime. Fortunately (for many, many, many reasons), I’m not Jesus and I don’t have quite that much difficulty separating myself from others, but I get that. I get that it is okay and even necessary to take a deep breath in a space where you don’t have to be anything to or for anyone, where the only pain or joy or secrets you have to carry are your own, where you can be fully who you are in front of God Who knows you anyway.
Even, Heaven forbid, on a holiday. Bring on the Ghostbusters marathon. We’ll rebuild the bridge to other people on Sunday.
In the morning, while it was still very dark, Jesus got up and went to a deserted place and prayed there. (Mark 1:35, ISV)