A true Gemini

Yes, it’s true, I’m actually two people.

Looking at it from an athletic perspective, it kinda makes sense.  Growing up, my first sports were individual.  In particular, I was a competitive gymnast until junior high, at which point I shot up several inches and it became glaringly obvious that I should find other outlets.  (My feet were hitting the mats on my giants–you know, those swing-around-the-bar-things).  Luckily my parents had convinced me in fourth grade to try softball, which I immediately fell in love with and began to play religiously.  The teammates!  The comaraderie!  The dirt!

And so it was that I had two different athletic careers.  I spent the first twelve years of my life focusing on my own inner monologue; quietly pumping myself up for competition; competing, in fact, with my teammates.  And then I went another twelve years focusing on teamwork and collaboration and socializing.   (And let’s not forget the keggers in college and “bonding” with the men’s soccer team.)

It makes sense that when in social situations now, I’m an extrovert.  I love being the center of attention and making new friends.  I’m a pretty decent chameleon, easily adapting to new circumstances.  I enjoy most people, and I’d like to think that I get along with just about everyone.  I’m pretty damn loud, too.  (This is something that I get from my mother:.  I’ve actually seen the woman keep talking as someone is rolling up the car window in her face.  We are a family of talkers, no doubt about it.)

But then there are the times when I want nothing but simple, unadulterated quiet.  I don’t want anyone to talk to me.  I want to retreat into my head and hide there, indefinitely.  My husband knows to leave me alone at these times.  When I go to the gym or to yoga at the end of a long day, I enjoy it because I’m, well, anonymous.  I don’t know anyone there, and I don’t have to pretend to know them.  I don’t make small talk or introduce myself to people.  I avoid the machines at the gym that are occupied.  Even if I need that piece of equipment right now, I just change my plans.  Why would I ask that person to share with me or when they’re going to finish?  Why interrupt the blissful isolation of me, the music on my ipod, and my sweat?  When a particular yoga instructor shows herself to be a fan of “partner assisted poses,” I generally find a new class.  (Why would I want some sweaty, smelly stranger talking to me–touching me, no less–when I’m trying to do down dog?) 

Now, don’t think me a snob.  I really do like people, and it’s not that I think I’m better than anyone else.  It’s just that sometimes I need to go to my quiet place.  When I think about leaving teaching, I think, “But I’d miss the people!”  And when I think about how much I love writing, I think, “Ah, the lovely solitude of me, my coffee, and my laptop.”

At this year’s Oscars, Robert Downey Jr. and Tina Fey presented the award for best screenplay.  On the relationship between writers and actors, Downey said,  “It’s a collaboration between handsome gifted people and sickly little mole people.”  Maybe that’s me, minus the handsome/gifted part.  Perhaps inside I have a little actor and a little writer.  I’ve embraced the fact that I’m a gemini–at once social and introverted.  I’d like to think that it makes me a better writer.  Cheers to the Twins.

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