Who doesn't like surprises? Me!

May 12, 2011

Just the other day, it dawned on me: I don't like surprises. I was standing over the stove cooking dinner at the time, and the thought hit me like a bolt of lightning.

"What kind of person doesn't like surprises?" I thought to myself in shock. "And how could I have not known this about myself?"

What brought this realization on was that my mother had written to my husband to ask what I wanted for Mother's Day, hoping that he'd keep the request a secret so she could surprise me with a gift. The problem is, there's not much I want in the way of possessions, and I'm notoriously picky to boot. My husband knows this, so he doesn't waste time trying to read my mind. He asks for a list. And, usually, it takes me anywhere from 2 hours to 2 months to make that 4-item list (depending on the occasion). At my house, the word 'spontaneity' exists somewhere within the realm of little green men. And it's hard for me to accept that.

See, it's not popular or socially acceptable to be a giant stick-in-the-mud (or, in my case, a tire iron in concrete). Most of society loves outgoing, spontaneous people--the kind who make surprising fun. It's a personality trait that's celebrated in nearly every lighthearted Hollywood film. The stuffy librarian with the granny glasses meets Mr. Popular and suddenly transforms into Miss Life O' Da Party. That's the woman every guy wants to date, every employer promote, and everybody envy. She has the most fun and lives life to the fullest--or so everybody thinks. I thought I was her.

Several years ago, I ditched the geeky glasses, cut my hair dangerously short, and bought a more form-fitting wardrobe. I'm very happy with those changes. I feel like a mature, attractive woman now--not the gawky teen I once was. But personality has not necessarily followed. I'm probably a little more spontaneous and fun-loving now than I was back then, but not much. Parties exhaust me, peppy people wear on my nerves, and most surprises leave me mumbling blankly into space. My favorite conversation topics at dinner are religion and politics. It doesn't help that I've been deeply disappointed by past surprises, mainly because people have a tough time understanding what I like. I have a tough time understanding what I like. Sometimes, I don't even like going outside. The life of the party? That's not me. Just give me the one book I want--the thick one with all the big words I can't pronounce correctly. That's all the surprise I crave.


June Calender said...

This post has the marks of sincerity and real honesty, self-assessment is a very good thing -- it's the first step toward change. Spontaneity is a scary business. You can fall down and break a leg, or you can get your heart broken, or you can discover whole new parts of your personality that either scare or delight you. Very good luck with the changes that are in store if you continue looking inward -- it will bring you freedom.

April said...

Thanks, June. But I think the only thing that's really changing about me these days is my level of acceptance for who I am. I certainly want to have a fun and exciting life, but I realize I am quite content with my solitude and books for most of the day-to-day grind. These days, I think more and more about moving away from the city and living in an open space where people rarely drive by. The craziness of the modern world is often too much for me.

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