Hello, Everyone! I hope all is well with each of you. I’m happy to share with you and unravel a string of coherent thought that came faster than expected — go figure on the latter.
So, I was up and out at the gym early Monday morning, and I saw someone that I’d just met on a prior visit. I spoke to her and was genuinely glad to see her. She asked me some questions, and I answered, short, sweet, and with a meaningful smile across my lips. It wasn’t until she began to volunteer information about herself that I realized I hadn’t asked her a thing about her experiences since last we spoke.
I had to wonder… was I becoming apathetic in a sense? Selfish? How often was I doing this? Hmmm…
After I hit the locker room, I jumped on the treadmill, popped in my ear buds, and began thinking about how I’m all for exchanging pleasantries, but was unaware I’d stopped furthering the conversation through inquiry about another’s wellbeing. Let me just say, those types of thoughts wreak havoc with a good jazz piece. I turned up the volume in an attempt to drown out the questions, and adjusted the setting on the treadmill for “hills.” Interestingly enough, the hill started on the decline, which was where my questions lodged themselves in my brain. The drowning out by pumping up the volume didn’t work. The questions got louder, and my mind ran off and played a riveting game of tag with each of them. Great.
The first question emerged. When exactly did I stop inquiring? Then the next showed up. Why did I stop? And, last but not least, is it as obvious to others as it is to me? Seeing that the woman volunteered her info seemed a clear answer to that, but I still had to ask myself. It didn’t even dawn on me to inquire past “fine, and you?” That’s when I realized that if I were a store, I would’ve been named “Speak-N-Go.”
I wasn’t unpleasant, just ready to get on with my day.
That particular morning, it took a great deal to muster up the motivation to get up and out in the first place. I’d played tug-o-war with my workout pants, then there was something dirty on my clean shirt, my hair wanted to embody the image of “Heat Miser,” and — well, you get the point. So needless to say, I’d given myself an imaginary “you did it” badge after my feet made it through the gym doors. I was on a mission, I’d felt a fleeting burst of “go,” after my clothes and hair fiasco, and I had to catch it before procrastination plopped down on my lap, leaned back, and crossed its legs. So freakin’ typical. My thoughts continued, and the incline started.
I came to the conclusion that I genuinely care about people…
So, I ruled out being selfish, because I’m always concerned if something’s wrong with someone and do my best to help if possible. It was more like I was worn out, in every sense of the word, and was grasping onto on to every bit of energy (kinetic and potential) I could because I needed every ounce to do whatever it was I was doing at the given moment. No exaggeration, I was spent. I knew it was going to be all right though, because I asked God for a recharge.
Sometimes, I’m just tired… plain and simple.
My brain gets full. It’s not like I’ve had all that much to say anyway, at least, not lately. On the other hand, I think a lot, pray a lot, observe a lot, and stay aware of what’s going on even in my non-talkativeness. When I’m in that mode, I like to believe I’m getting that much needed recharge I asked God for, and in the process, God is keeping me from saying something that I would, most likely, have to repent for immediately after lip-lift-off because, beneath my smile, I’m often short on patience.
Hello… Ava? Girl. Nothing’s wrong!
Now, my mind led me to believe that something else was going on within myself and attempted to plaster me with guilt stickers from head to toe when, in reality, nothing was wrong. The person I felt I’d slighted was smiling from across the gym and had probably thought nothing more about the whole encounter I’d pulled apart like a bulk package of string cheese.
Why did I do that to myself, and what was I worried about?
Nine times out of ten, I was being hard on myself — again. Oddly enough, it comes with caring about people and about what people may, or might, think. I have this thing about wanting to leave people happy even when I’m not. I am a person who likes to show kindness, and when I feel I’ve been less than friendly, I pull out the personal boxing gloves and shadow-box, which is totally unnecessary and makes my arms tired.
There are times I just don’t have anything to say though, and do I have to? Last I checked I wasn’t 411, and I’m not one to talk just to hear myself talk!
So, grabbing the ole’ mind shovel and a swig of water, I investigated my lack of inquiry a bit further. Why? Because letting go seems to be an issue for me most times. While digging, I hit pay dirt. Several of my life experiences came to the surface, which spelled out (in all caps) that while people are indeed wonderful, all people take energy and life force whether they’re wonderful or not. It’s also true that while some individuals are encouraging, others are certified siphons — whether intentional or not, and this girl right here (insert my brown face in this space) has had a plethora of siphons in her life, and me thinks it’s come to a head, so naturally, my “T.M.I.” guard flies up. Decline.
I’m fresh out of woo-saaah today. Please check back on I’ll-let-you-know-day at I-don’t-know-o’clock. Thanks!
Now, just to be clear, in no way was the wonderful woman I spoke to negative or a siphon, but through her, and people like her, I’ve discovered that my pleasantry reserve is close to depleted and doesn’t play favorites. The result? No one’s exempt from my lack of how-do-you-do-ness, but I make sure I’m at least pleasant and give a smile… or two.
I smile, smile, smile, while I recharge. Umm… God, did I mention I needed a recharge?
Finally, back to the treadmill’s version of an incline, I came to the conclusion that it’s all right to be basic sometimes. It’s all part of the human experience. I’m not expected to pop into the gym in a pair of gold-glitter workout pants, and toss flower petals around from a be-dazzled, light-up, flower basket. There are times where there’s just nothing to do but arrive at a destination, say hello, nod, and smile. And, guess what? If that’s all a person has to give at the moment, that’s enough — no beating-of-self required. Besides, I don’t think there’s a single person, on this earth, who’s a walking “happy conversation box” twenty-four seven. I haven’t seen it, and… um — I really don’t want to!
Everything I’d thought about that day funneled into a realization — though sometimes I may feel less-than-sociable, I still believe it’s important to be kind. Kindness matters, it’s not selfish, and it costs nothing to be associated with and even less to give. That being said, I’m attentive and take time to listen when an individual volunteers information. If a word of encouragement is in order I give it to the best of what God has given me to give with all of my heart. So, I guess I’m not too far gone. I’ve also found that listening has little to do with the listener talking — and sometimes that’s all a person really wants, a listening ear.
Bottom line. Maybe I’m not apathetic after all. Maybe I just didn’t inquire because I was busy on a task of my own. May-haps, I did nothing wrong and needed to realize this through deep introspection… Hmmm. Ding.
After many more inclines, declines, and assorted body tortures, I left the gym with both a workout of the body and of the mind. I packed it up, smiled, nodded, and waved on the way out. I felt better overall, even though I was certain my legs were going to kick my butt gangsta style later.
Gotta love those realizations!
Thank you for reading, and be encouraged! Take care of yourself, and no shadow-boxing! Feel free to leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!