Thursday, March 26, 2015



I have been doing about as well as a cat could be.  My struggles with my academics is only a surprise because of my hubris, but it also means that like most underachievers, I just have to work harder.

This past weekend was spent flailing away at a paper that is going to be late, working, and BEING A FRIEND.  It is worth noting because I found a door mat that I shared on my Facebook that greets a would-be visitor with the command to "Go Away" that really encapsulates my desire to be alone with my struggles.  Yet, by no means is it an indicator of the kind of person, or friend, I am to people.


Anyone who has met me (I've assumed) would be surprised to know of my preference for solitude, what with my verbal nature.  I have rarely found myself out of my depth in conversations over a wide array of topics and interests, often coming up with a few choice comments or other bon mots.  So it often catches a person as of the mark to learn of my true nature.  That said, were I to really peg my character, it would be that of like that of the palm tree, standing vertical with an arch, an arch that allows it the flexibility to bend with flow of the wind no matter the direction it is blowing in. 

The past weekend not only saw me struggle with my "Concept and Reaction" paper for Psychology, but attend two celebrations, the first a function at Creighton University; the other was a private dinner at Hiro 88, a sushi restaurant.  The student that I work with on my own time doing boxing drills, a native of Hawaii, invited me to a festival that the Creighton students from that particular state throws each year.  Apparently, the school has a long-establish program that recruits Hawaiian students to come to Nebraska for school.  It is a pretty big thing, entertainment provided by the students, and a catered dinner.  It was nice, seeing the young men and women of Creighton perform various skits and dances representative of the island's native culture.  I was able a date, which in and of itself is scarcely worth mentioning.  What is worth mentioning, was the meaning that being able to share the festival with "my pupil" had for him.

Now I have not been in that large of a crowd since the Terrance Crawford - Yuorkis Gamboa fight back in June of last year.  Other than scrambling through a few airports (draining), the last time I was around that many people, it was the North Carolina - Michigan State basketball game at Ford Field back in 2008.  Though I don't lead a life that lends itself to being in large crowds of people, I feel that in crowds I go through something that I refer to as "sensory overload".  It did not take much for me to want to leave after me and my date found our seats, but I hung in, enjoyed the show, and most importantly, my pupil, happy.

Riding up the elevator after my date dropped me home, I took inventory of what I was feeling at the time.  Nothing I reflected upon was about "me", it was about being able to share a special night that meant something to a person that I have invested time and commitment in.  This was a night that he had looked forward to, an event that he thought a lot of, and he wanted to share it with me.

Sunday would find me watching Michigan State doing what Michigan State does in the NCAA basketball tournament, which is make the Sweet 16.  Resuming my scuffle with my paper, I had the birthday party of a co-worker to attend.  Fortunately, State played in the early game, leaving me enough time to struggle with homework and get ready for the dinner.

After first going to the wrong restaurant, I got oriented and joined my co-worker and his family.  His in-laws, and I think one of the families of a brother-in-law... I am not sure, was there when I arrived.  It was a few minutes before we were seated, and in the interim, the rest of the party arrived.  As soon as we were seated, the first thing that I noticed were that there were enough chairs for everyone... which meant that he had counted me as part of his party before he had asked me! (well, actually he had TOLD me I was coming... much like I was told that I would be visiting Detroit and my Father last year!)  And much like with the evening prior, my enjoyment came with seeing how fulfilling an event was for someone else.

In the "quid pro quo" view that I have for relationships, it was worth whatever discomfort or out-of-character awkwardness I had to get over to make people that I hold in high esteem happy... and it has been my experience that when you can really do something in the name of and for others, that you receive even more in return.  I feel super comfortable with my relationships with people... though I do sometimes admit that for some folks, I do want to be a better friend, especially in light of the kindnesses that they have shown me.  Even with me being who I am, I like to think that I do pretty well with what I have to work with.  Sometimes, being friends means dealing with being a little uncomfortable, and if you can deal with that, you can make special things happen.


abbiestreehouse said...

I identified with quite a few things in this post.

I'm often accused of being shy, but that's really not it. I enjoy other people, but I also enjoy quiet time alone.

And I totally get "sensory overload." I think in my head I'm always looking for a "unified narrative," and although that's a useful trait in some situations, it's a burden in others.

Ken Riches said...

Friends look after friends.

betty said...

That is neat Mark that you had the opportunity to get out at these two functions you went to and you were the invitee as opposed to the inviter (know what I mean?) It is good to have friends who do want to spend time with you!