Wednesday, April 09, 2008

That's entertainment

I believe in consistently challenging my mental hygiene. Striving toward managing bigger and more overwhelming events that otherwise tax my varied and minor psychological ailments is, I feel, a good thing. I am not a masochist. I simply think pushing the envelope can be a growth experience.

If it doesn't make me throw up.

I am anxiety-prone. Anxiety-riven, if truth be told. But I hate being bound by it, so I regularly do things that push all of my buttons. For example, I really don't like it when a person says no when I ask her/him to have lunch or get together. I immediately leap to the possibly illogical conclusion that said person despises me, finds my company onerous, and would prefer that I absent myself from Illinois for the rest of my life.

As opposed to said person simply being unavailable for lunch on that particular day. For example.

So, instead of never asking any one to do anything with me for fear of rejection, I ask people to lunch regularly, thus allowing myself to regularly practice both accepting and not assuming that the rejector is actually rejecting me rather than my lunch invitation.

Think growth experiences.

In this spirit, I am stretching myself this year by having joined a supper shuffle at church. Supper shuffles are rotating monthly meals hosted by a different couple each month. We're in a parents of teens shuffle, adding extra interest for those of us who find this parenting experience challenging.

It's been lots of fun, getting to know people better and sharing in good food and conversation. So you might wonder why I am dreading our turn at hosting. Which would bring us back to my anxiety-riven self, part two: My cooking is not good enough. My home is not good enough. My witty repartee is not good enough.

No, I do not consciously think these thoughts. I like my cooking, most of the time. I like my home, too. And witty repartee is highly overrated; listening is the key to good conversation. My mind runs more along the lines of "But they live in a freaking mansion and I have a dropped ceiling kitchen with cupboards painted an outlandish dark plum that was supposed to be whimsical and ended up looking, um, odd."

We are also missing the accouterments of entertaining. You know, all the right dishes and spoons and forks and glasses. Do you have any idea how many different kinds of beverageware options alone there are in the world? In my version of a nice home, none of those options are plastic drinking vessels scavenged from Michigan Stadium and Wrigley Field.

In a nice home, people have a dining room table. In the dining room. While we do having a dining room, it's really part of our living room and we use it as such, filled with another couch, stereo equipment, piano and 2000+ CDs.

We dine in the kitchen. Which I have a vague sense is simply not good manners. I think maybe only breakfast is to be eaten in the kitchen--in the breakfast nook, naturally. Served by a bright-eyed hostess in a retro apron. Or maybe an intimate lunch, served on the island, with slices of cucumber and crustless sandwiches.

I could go on and on. In fact, I have. The point, as you've no doubt determined, is that I am focusing on the stuff instead of the people. And I am focusing on me instead of them.
The judging is going on solely inside of my cerebellum, not from any of these lovely people.

I enjoy each and every person who will be arriving Sunday evening. If I stop looking at my purple cabinets (or, better still, remember what joy they brought me when I recklessly colored outside the lines) and consciously vanquish the worry about being or doing the right thing, then I can be free to cherish the company of interesting people saying interesting things at a very interesting time in my life.

In yoga class, we are to make an "intention" for our practice on that day. I believe I will take up the above sentence as my Sunday afternoon intention.

I'll let you know how it goes. :-)



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