Monday, March 21, 2005

My Village

Seen recently in this space: me whining about how introverted and isolated I can be. Ho HO, not lately. I spent today in Vancouver, B.C. for a work-related meeting/training session (ahhh, poor me, making new friends in a beautiful city on a sunshiny day, and being paid for my time...). Saturday I mostly stood and walked around in the pouring rain together with some friends from my village, whom I admire tremendously.

I also had the unexpected pleasure of seeing someone who was a good friend some time ago, but whom I hadn't even seen in almost five years. It was delightful to reconnect and exchange contact info--even the "thirty-second summary of your last few years," a ritual I usually despise, was a pleasant conversation.

I am slowly (and nobody is more surprised by or suspicious of this development than I) finding a village for myself, though it may be a bit sparsely populated by some village standards. Bit by bit, I make room for people to move into this space in my heart--some old friends rediscovered or reconciled, some new friends; some I only "see" online, some I only talk to on the phone, some I only see at Christmas or on Sundays. The hardest part is forcing myself to show my personality, rather than smile and listen quietly to them, which I would cheerfully do all the time if I could get away with it. While I usually do get away with it, I'm finding that this village of people will gently prod me to speak, to act, to unfold and reveal myself.

It's so uncomfortable. It's like a social equivalent of the ache you feel the day after a long, wonderful hike, though--it hurts, but secretly I like being reminded that I worked those muscles. I like being occasionally prodded from my hermit-crab shell and challenged to make a genuine connection.

I'm pretty sure it was frog's blog where I picked up the "village" phrasing.