and hatred (not a totally new thing).
brett and i don’t fight or argue or even bicker often. i can count on one hand the number of times we’ve had a memorable upset. if and when we do, it’s over relatively quickly. like, less than 20 minutes. once it’s out, it’s out, and it gets dealt with. we move on. it’s over. like a bandaid.
however, that doesn’t always make it easy.
i’m not one to put relationship drama on the internet. this blog goes back to 2004. i challenge you to find an entry where i dragged my dirty laundry onto the internet.
right now might be a first. disclaimer: i’m not dragging his dirty laundry… because he really has none. it’s only mine.
there are maybe 2-3 types of arguments we get into. this is one of them. i am a sucky conversationalist. wife. friend. buddy. family member. i have no patience. i am a bitch. i am not the social butterfly i once was when i was a little kid and hadn’t become self-conscious to the point where it’s crippling. whatever you want to call it. these are not his words. they are mine. i have claimed all of these things for years (except the wife part, i’ve only been able to claim that for one year now, one year on this past monday, woo! more on that later, and caylin’s 5 months).
i don’t know if it’s because i’m an only child (i personally believe it isn’t, because i was always outside with friends growing up, i just didn’t want them to touch my barbies because i had and still have stupid amounts of OCD (they don’t go over there, they go right HERE and they don’t move)).
i don’t know if it’s because i’ve been glued to a computer for almost 20 years (very possible).
don’t know if it’s because i just suck as a person.
i don’t know if it’s because i’ve been surrounded by male colleagues for 50% of my life, where i generally sit and listen and don’t contribute to the conversation. there are many reasons for THAT, which i won’t delve into. but if you’re a female in geekdom, you know that a lot of geekdom conversations can (CAN, not always, just CAN) end up relating to boobs (that term can be replaced with penises or burps or farts or motherboards or pretty much anything), so you learn to tune things out and generally keep to yourself. or at least i did. i’m not good at witty comebacks so that was (and still is) my defense mechanism. that is in no way a hit on the geekdom community. boys will be boys. girls will be girls. we are wired to do what we do. accept it. i have learned to tune certain things out. a guy at work today actually said, “you’re so quiet”. there’s a reason for that. just not sure WHICH reason it is.
for most of my life, computers have been “my thing”. meaning… it’s always been what i’m into. i was naturally drawn to them. i love it. i love what i do. always have. [hopefully] always will. it’s my release. my escape. my way of contributing to society, LOVING it, and being so lucky as to get paid to do it.
all this to say, i rarely discuss it. because that’s just it. it’s been MY thing. i have never shared it with a partner. i have only once in my life dated a fellow nerd. we were best friends beforehand. even still, it was never something we discussed (not like we couldn’t or wouldn’t, we just didn’t). granted, we were in high school, and probably didn’t know enough TO discuss it. but still. it was our hobby. it stayed that way. i think it was a mutual understanding that this had been our thing before we knew each other. we loved having it to ourselves. we had LAN parties together (that’s all i did in high school and most of college, my sweet 16 was a LAN party in my mom’s basement for 5 days). we did it to learn. to have fun. to tinker. to do things others didn’t. to build our resumes (even if unintentionally). a lot of other friends spoke at the LANs to teach others a particular skill (outside of when we were busy fragging one another). a lot of other friends were the ones who asked a million questions.
brett came into this field from the WAY opposite direction. he is very much an extrovert. he was into sports his whole life. he did football MOST of his life. he can and does talk about it for hours. i have learned (and retained) more about football in the last 4 years than i thought there even was to know about football. you know what football is? teamwork. camaraderie. social situations. being in front of a LOT OF DAMN PEOPLE. seeing other people naked in a locker room. talking a LOT. with non nerd people. almost all of these are things are things i’m not comfortable with. all of these things are where he came from. we are wildly different individuals. he was halfway through college when he decided to change directions and choose a career path that would take him somewhere else. he knew nothing about computer shit until he changed majors. when i first met him, i told him that if he wanted to go far in the computer field, get into linux. not as many people do it. it is fun. you will always learn something. it will make you money. PLUS, it got him a job out of college, down here in charleston, so we could live happily ever after. there maaay have been a bias on my part.
so… here you have non-nerd personality being mushed together with a totally nerd skill. which, amounts to a super social guy who wants to talk about this shit. with someone who knows nothing about talking about this shit.
give me a computer, on the other hand, and you have an “i will get it done. but i can’t tell you what i just did” result.
i am very much an introvert. shy in
certain most scenarios. i don’t like looking stupid or feeling stupid. i blush quickly and easily, and sweat even more. i am pretty sure that’s why a lot of geeks wear black clothing. i was the one who sat to the side, trying to figure it out as i went. if i had a question, i asked someone (in private) after i spent about 3 hours (or even a week) googling and mucking around and couldn’t take it any longer. meaning… i never talked about this shit until i absolutely had to. i don’t know why. i’m still the same way. i have no answer to this. i guess i just felt like if i didn’t exhaust every resource at my fingertips before asking for help, i would never learn.
and to my credit, *part* of that holds true. i never would’ve learned HALF of what i’ve learned without holding back from asking people questions for answers before trying to figure it out on my own. i did a lot of reading. a lot of troubleshooting on my own. but at the same time, i sacrificed a lot of conversation over the years. to the point where i’ve pretty much turned myself into a conversational geek mute.
if you ask me what i do on a daily basis? i couldn’t really tell you. if you ask me what i prefer? i might have like… one sentence answers. if anything. and then i switch the subject to unicorns or sweatpants or WHAT ARE YOU GONNA DO THIS WEEKEND? i need a hamburger. let’s watch a movie. i love this song! i want a pony!
it’s the same when i try to engage people in small talk. i got nothing. i absolutely SUCK at small talk. unless i am given an incredibly specific topic to talk about, that i know like the back of my hand, i truly SUCK at coming up with shit on my own. correction, i suck at coming up with RELEVANT shit on my own.
it’s even worse when i’m either A) not at home (read: uncomfortable), B) wearing something i’m not comfy in (read: i fidget and am not comfortable), C) in a crowded place i’m not used to (read: uncomfortable and fidgety), or D) my face is breaking out and i don’t want someone looking directly at me while we’re actually having a conversation. most people like to speak eye to eye. i prefer to speak eye to foot in this case. this has gotten HUGELY better since i got all my teeth fixed (sad, isn’t it?) …but true. i’m sorry. in this case, george costanza wins. it’s not you, it really IS me.
in either case, these are things brett has gotten upset at me for. not being able to talk nerd and not being able to converse comfortably in different environments.
i suck at talking to his family. his family is very southern. mine is very northern. i am one of less than a handful of people in my ENTIRE family born south of new jersey. want to know a secret? familial culture differs a LOT beyond the mason dixon line. people talk to each other. families stay in touch a LOT. they are CLOSE. they are in each other’s business. not to say anything bad about my family. i love my family. it is small, and close in the sense that we generally have a pretty good idea of what’s going on between us all. but not southern kind of close. i will never be that kind of close. i’ve accepted that. plus, i pretty much don’t talk on the phone. i despise it.
before my mom moved to charleston, we talked in emails more than anything, and on the phone once a week, at the most. my dad? probably even less. several emails. not for any particular reason. i love them more than anything. i mean, they’re my parents. even then, after 2 weeks, i don’t have much to say. brett’s family? MOST southern families i know? regular basis phone calls. multifaceted conversations.
all this in the same sense that i will never be able to sit and spew out paragraphs about my day. or even about what i love about linux and why that’s all i do every day, or what i hate about subject X, or why i love to use this software over this software. or even what i did yesterday and what i liked about it. i am completely incapable of articulating it. it feels like a (horrible) mental cement block. i want so badly to be able to put this shit into words because it’s such a passion of mine. but the words don’t come to me. it’s taken 2 hours to put together this entry alone.
every time brett tries to read what i’m writing on here, i close the window so he can’t read it. even if he’s not even looking at my screen. every blog i’ve written since we’ve lived together. i can’t even WRITE my thoughts if someone is looking. doesn’t matter if it’s my husband, my mom, or loki. that’s what i feel like when people listen to me try and bumble through my sentences before they are properly put together. and in normal conversation, there is no real time for that. so i FEEL like i end up looking stupid. who wants to feel that way? get me liquored up (read: uninhibited) and you can hardly get me to SHUT up. whether or not that’s good conversation is arguable, it depends (i would generally lean towards no, but it’s usually at least entertaining), but it’s still *something*. and it’s not bitchy. unless i just hate you.
in my defense somewhat, a lot of my bitchiness comes from lack of patience toward myself (my lack of patience in general is something i’m acutely aware of), because it makes me absolutely livid when i can’t get something out correctly. so instead, i try to halt the conversation immediately. and being a dick is absolutely the easiest way to do that. it has become second nature to the point where i don’t even do it on purpose anymore. not a valid excuse, but an excuse nonetheless.
you know what i CAN talk about now? caylin. for the first time in my life, it feels like a FUCKING BREAKTHROUGH. pardon my french. but for the first time in 20 years, i have something that i can talk to REAL PEOPLE about, TO THEIR FACE, where i don’t have to be inebriated to articulate something i love (besides why i love brett and how good he is to me, except i have never been one to talk about my love life with anyone, really. especially when most of my coworkers are men.), and why i love it, and have a real conversation, without being embarrassed about whatever i just tried to say, that doesn’t require me to type it and edit it 26 times first. granted, not everyone wants to know about my baby. i don’t blame you–i never wanted to hear about babies until had one either. trust me, i completely get it. but it is truly a milestone in my life where i can discuss something with my friends and family, and actually HAVE a conversation.
you don’t know how good that feels. and how bad it feels to be called on it, after recently reaching this personal goal, despite OWNING the suckiness of it for this many years.