The Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser

moving across the country…to discover what God has in store

Not the (second) bubble!

Okay, so this bubble, right?

I like to think that the bubble protects me.  It keeps people away.  It prevents hugs and pats and…other yucky things.

The bubble protects me from letting other people share in my burdens.  It keeps people from learning about my faults and fears.  It prevents love.

Oh, crap.  This bubble is a problem, it seems.  The very thing that I have “created” to protect me, as it turns out, is hurting me.  I have seen and felt it over and over again.  When I meet new people, I keep them out.  Sure, I’ll talk to them, joke around.  But it rarely goes beyond the surface.

Time and time again, I have been challenged to go beyond this.  College, the basic atmosphere, has forced me outside of my bubble.  Friends weren’t included with the check I turned over to the business office when I started.  They were something that I had to find on my own.  I have discovered two people that I would define as “best” friends and then there are a pile of other people.

A lot of these people have brushed up against my bubble in a Christian organization on campus.  There really are some great people in there.  And, to tell the truth, that is where I have been most challenged to get out of my bubble.  People have looked at me and told me that I must get out of my comfort zone.  They have not minced words.  They have fit into the Biblical description of a friend: Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17).

That is what I need, right now.  I need someone to take a sharp, iron sword and slice through this bubble.  Free me from myself.  Maybe, just maybe, I’m ready to do it myself.

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Not the bubble!

I have a bubble.  Yes, a bubble.  This bubble surrounds my body, extending out by approximately two feet on every side.  It protects me from unwanted physical contact with people.  When I say people, I mean “all people”.  Unfortunately, people do not always respect the bubble.

Strangers sometimes bump into me.  In crowded places, I sometimes begin to get, ummm, stressed.  Holiday shopping is torture, to say the least.  And visiting a theme park that specializes in Christmas lights a mere week before Christmas–I thought I was going to start foaming at the mouth.  That is not unusual.

And then there’s family–my parents know about my “issues” and typically respect the bubble.  We hug in greeting and in farewell…but in between, there’s not a whole lot of physical contact unless I initiate it (or, unless they decide to be ornery).  My extended family hug only in farewell, as a part of our social norm.  But my grandmother…she smothers me with physical “affection”, or as I see it physical “assault”.  Patting, rubbing, hugging, tapping…argh.  There is no other way to respond.  I have to bite my tongue to stay on my best behavior!

Finally, there are friends.  My oldest friend is one with whom I have never shared much physical interaction.  Hugging is weird for us…we just never did it very much.  So, physical affection isn’t a big deal there.  Newer friends, though (and by “newer”, I mean that we’ve been friends for two and a half years to three years), have their own ideas about physical affection.  The two girls that I have lived with over the past couple of years love giving hugs.  But, this relationship could not have survived this long if they had not been familiarized with my bubble.  Most of the time, they respect the bubble.  We hug in greeting & farewell…and when I get a little drunk.  Beyond these three close friends, there are a few people who are aware of the bubble and abuse the knowledge.  Most others, though, have never approached me for a hug…

Until last night.  I met up with a friend of mine for dinner.  He graduated last year and I hadn’t seen him in a while.  We met up, chatted, ate.  And then, we were walking out to our cars.  We got to his.  I said “bye” and he started walking towards me like he was going to give me a hug.  I started to panic and backed away.  There was an awkward pause and he approached me again saying “Yeah, let’s give this a shot.”  And, he gave me a hug.  Oh.  Man.

I don’t know where my aversion to physical contact came from.  It has been there for years.  Supposedly when I was very young, I loved snuggling and hugging and cuddling.  So, what happened?  The bubble.

Ah man…there is a lot more to say about this bubble.  But, I think that it’s too much for one post.  I’m going to end this post right now and continue my thoughts about the bubble later.  It will all come together under the idea of “Lukewarm Waters”…I promise.

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Not a “People Person”

You remember those two “new”er best friends that I talked about in my last post?  Well, I’m living with them now.  For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to them as E and M.  E, M, and I (haha, that’s kind-of funny) have been getting along pretty well in our house.  Sure, there have been a few small issues but…everything has just smoothed itself out naturally.

Then again, maybe we’ve all been trying not to rock the boat.  While we all come from two-parent, middle-class households, all of our home lives have been incredibly different.  We all have our own ideas about how to make spaghetti sauce and what type of noodles to use.  And, cleaning is kind-of hit and miss in the bathroom.  In our living room…yikes.  They leave shoes, backpacks, sunglasses…just let it land and leave it there.  That bugs me.  I like to have everything neat and tidy before I go to bed.  Why?  Too much clutter sends me into this “tidying coma”…I literally cannot function until I straighten things up.  Not fun.

But, ya know, I’m trying to let go of some of my “control freak” nature.  Not that I’m a really bad “control freak”…actually, I’ve never considered myself a “control freak” at all.  In a house, though, I just want things done the right way, i.e. my way (in my mind, at least).  This weekend, both of my roommates went home to be with their families over our three-day weekend (yay, Labor Day!).  While I did get a little creeped out going to bed with a creepy house creaking and moaning around me (not to mention some loud neighbors), I really loved the time that I had alone.  I made myself spaghetti and meat sauce…my way.  I cleaned the kitchen…my way.  I watched TV…my way.  I had a blast!

So, now…they’re back–at least E is back.  I’m not going to say that I dislike having them home.  It’s nice to have some human interaction (I guess…maybe I’m saying that just to sound normal).  But, when she rolled back in, her family rolled back in with her.  You see, she didn’t exactly go home this weekend.  Her family swung through town and picked her up on their way to their cabin.  That’s cool and all…but, they swung back through and all crashed in our living room.  Not cool!

At the moment that they walked in the door, I was looking forward to getting my last pan of cookies out of the oven and sitting down with a few and a cup of delicious French-bought coffee.  Did I get to do that?  No.  E’s brother and sister crashed on the couch (although her brother offered to move when I came through from the kitchen) and her mom crashed in this really comfy chair that is awkwardly sitting in our awkwardly large dining room.  Her dad headed to the basement to do…something.  Set up a dehumidifier?  Fix her flat bike tire?  I dunno.  But, seriously, I’m pretty sure we could have handled some of that stuff.

Mom, brother, and sister are still hunkered downstairs and dad’s running up and down the stairs doing…something.  I’ve seen E come up a few times, but for the most part I’m just hiding in my bedroom.  Why?  What would be wrong with going downstairs and having a little conversation with them?

#1: I had a little conversation with all of them when they picked E up Saturday morning.  How much could have really changed or happened since then?

#2: I need to do homework.  I was on a roll, proofreading in between pans of cookies.  But, my roll was disrupted and got tossed on the floor the minute they walked in.

#3: I do not like participating in awkward and unnecessary conversations.

#4: This is MY house too and I do not like having a bunch of unnecessary people in it!  I should be able to sit down and enjoy a cup of delicious coffee and semi-delicious (I was missing a few key ingredients) cookies without concern for the comfort of other people…who shouldn’t be on my “Concern Radar” in the first place!

I don’t like unnecessary people invading my space.  Is that really so hard to understand?

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