Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dance, Monkey, Dance

I was talking with a man friend of mine a few weeks ago, and he made an interesting statement: as an extroverted, friendly, goofy, life-of-the-party, occasionally very loud person, he is frequently--nay, almost constantly--expected to be  friendly, goofy, life-of-the-party, loud, etc. The Entertainment.

And sometimes he doesn't want to be.

He called it the "Dance, Monkey! Dance!" expectation.

.....I was totally feeling that earlier.

I just tried to type out a generalized, non-whiney, academically-focused analysis of the whys and wherefores, but I can't get it right. I'll just speak plain. Please forgive me; I don't mean to offend anyone. I'm sure this is a common emotion. Details are different, but I'm sure the principle applies.

Sometimes, I don't want to be the life of the party. Loud and silly is fun for a few minutes, but sometimes I just want a quiet evening. Especially Sundays. I want to sing, not yell. I want to go for a walk. I want to have an intelligent conversation, not a giggly "hey all the IQs just dropped 50 points apiece because Hormones" flirt fest. I love flirting. But sometimes I want to flirt like adults instead of feeling like I'm at a high school basketball game. Sometimes I just want to build friendships and learn about people.

Sometimes, I just want to sing and play instruments. I don't want to yell or try to out-sing everyone. I don't want to jokingly become over-theatrical every time a song happens that people know. I don't to have to drum every time. I love drumming, and I'll request being able to do so often, but then I become The Drummer and if the drums stop, so does the dancing. But sometimes I don't want loud, I just want Well Executed. Or Semi-Well Executed. Not everything has to be heard over a jet engine taking off. Sometimes, a steady groove is enough.

Sometimes I need to talk about my life and the hard things that are happening. And sometimes, I just want to LEAVE IT ALONE. Sometimes, I don't want you to ask about my mother being sick. Or my father being absent. Or my health. Or my job problems. Or what I do with my life. Or what you can do to help. Sometimes, I just want a normal-person conversation.  I am in the habit of answering questions, and "letting people in." But then I use all my "telling people" points on people I don't really want to share with, and not having the emotional share power to actually talk to people I WANT to share with (read: boy. best friend. etc.).

Tonight was one of those Sometimes. I had fun, and I think I helped other people have fun, so that was good. That is why I chose to continue. But really, all I wanted to do was spend some time with much quieter boy people (and not necessarily just one I was interested in. Just quieter boy people) and appreciate intelligent conversation. I felt stuck. I wasn't sure where to go or what to do (since I was just behaving "normally" anyway), so I stayed where I was expected.

....."Wow, Sabina, that's fine that you don't want to do that all the time. In fact, it's a little annoying to everyone else, too, so why don't you just stop? When you don't want to, just don't!"
That's a good thought, Hypothetical Introverted/Mixed Energy Audience. I will work on that. I AM working on that. It's no one else's fault; I don't want it to sound like I'm mad at my friends. I'm totally not! This is a personal problem that only I can solve.
 In the meantime, I have a code word for my strange mix of emotions when this happens: 
"Dance, Monkey! Dance!"

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