Ogres Are Like Onions

Last night over hot chocolate and cheesy popcorn, my sister and I laughed about where we’ve come from and where we’re headed. We came from awkward memories and late-night Odyssey adventures and morphed into more-or-less grownups with jobs and somewhat-scheduled routines and maybe some hazy dreams in the far-away “out there” known as Neverland. We laugh because we both realize that the older we get, the more “set” we become. I pride myself on being flexible. I do what needs to be done, but I don’t stress out over schedules and to-do lists because I want to leave room for the unexpecteds. Like the evening in the mid-week in which I am overcome with the insatiable urge to go buy leg warmers. Or the (rare) afternoon that puts me in an OCD clean the closet mood. Or the friend who last minute wants to stop at Panera Bread for soup and a sandwich. I want to have room for those spontaneous mood swings.

But there are areas in which I am getting stiffer in my old age. I am past the flirtatious age. No longer do I care about the new boy in class or the new boy in church. No longer do I strive to make someone notice me. I’m far too busy doing what I need to do: work out, organize other people’s schedules, eat, read, sleep, live. If someone really wants to get to know me, he can do all the work himself. I’m not playing hard to get; I’m just tired.

I can be completely honest with myself; I’m not an easy person to get to know. When I was a junior in college, my roommate told me that when she first met me, she thought I was the most arrogant person she had met. And it wasn’t because of anything I said; it was because I hadn’t said anything. I’m not good at small talk; it exhausts me. One of my guy friends told me that I intimidated him because I looked so confident. News flash: I’m the most insecure person you will ever meet. One of my past coworkers (in not so kind or socially appropriate words) told me that I should smile more often. I’m not actively trying to keep the world away, but I expect that people who truly care about me will do whatever it takes to peel off my layers and get to my core. And that’s not easy: “It is easier to perceive error than to find truth, for the former lies on the surface and is easily seen, while the latter lies in the depth, where few are willing to search for it.” – Johanne Wolfgang von Goethe

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