MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “idiosyncrasy”

Quirk of Character

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Introverts have a higher threshold than average for letting people in. Be it in their reading lists, their diaries, their lives, their homes, their minds, their hearts. If an introvert starts babbling away to you, you should know that they trust you and feel safe enough to confide in you. It’s not an easy feat for most to achieve.

Call it trust issues if you may, but introverts believe that the people around you need to compliment your happiness, your self-appreciation, and your confidence. Well, it’s what we should all really expect of others anyway. For if someone doesn’t add value to your life, why keep them there if they’ll only make you feel worse?

The truth is, there are certain instances in life that make you reconsider your friendships; who you consider your friends to be; who really are. Because it’s the ones who stick there through the rough times; when you have nothing to say or don’t even want to; at the times it feels like the whole world is against you and you’re raging against ‘the system’. It’s those who seek you as much as you search for them. It’s those who are willing to stay around when you fall face down and will help pick you up; those who see you at your worse are also the ones who deserve to see you at your best. Because as this excellent article says, “friendships do not have to be transactional, but they should absolutely be reciprocal”. It’s not all about having fun. It’s about being there for each other in every situation.

Each person reacts to life’s problems differently. We are not all the same. We have varying idiosyncrasies, mentalities, responses. Some seek assistance anywhere they can; others prefer to close up in their own shells and wait out the storm alone. It has to do with a person’s character and that’s not easy to affect. Introverts need to be left alone. They’ll come to you for help when they’re ready. But they want to know that you’re still there until they do.

In the end it all comes down to the fact that we virtually befriend hundreds of people on social media, but choose to have only a handful around; the best ones – those who remain no matter how far you unwillingly push them out.

“Beware of those who seek constant crowds; they are nothing alone”. – Charles Bukowski

“I restore myself when I’m alone”. – Marilyn Monroe

Ten chairs of same size but of different quirks

There were ten chairs arranged in a perfect circle right in the middle of the room, exactly twenty metres from the door and with a diameter of precisely four metres. Abigail herself measured it all every Tuesday ten minutes before the clock on the wall struck 4pm. The other seven members of the group usually began entering at five minutes to four, with only Kaitlin coming in at 4:02pm every time.

Living with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) was a drag. But going to a support group meeting in the hope of being able to alleviate the symptoms was something close to unimaginable. How could you accommodate the Obsessiveness of eight different people, especially when some of their OCDs actually conflicted?

For example, Arnold had to sit exactly in the centre of the group, something that had to change each time a group member was absent; but it would also have to accommodate Justin’s need for him to have an almost equal distribution of male and female “colleagues” on either side. And then, Mika always had to be the one to speak last, while Isaac wanted to have the word seventh in line. It was chaos for their coordinator Patrick. But what was worse was the fact that the OCD support group was not really helping anyone improve. If anything, it seemed to make things worse.

Abigail now began going in fifteen minutes earlier to measure the distances of the chairs and doors, irritated that Samuel came in a few minutes later and moved his chair ever so slightly, but enough for her to be compelled to take out her measuring tape and begin all over again.

Caleb had to tap his hand on the back of his chair three times before doing anything – literally, anything – before sitting down, before speaking, before getting up. Ray had to wait for absolute silence before he began to talk and even the slightest sneeze could get him off-course, so that he would have to restart his speech.

Patrick himself didn’t really have any obsessive traits. Well, at least not before he started the group sessions.

Now, three months later, he started noticing things he didn’t use to – the distance between chairs, the whiteness of paper, silence and noise, the order of lists, promptness of time, colours, decorations, the organization of a room; those little things that to any regular person might not seem important.

He feared that soon he too would need counselling. So he decided to follow a new method.

He took the OCD group on a field trip to the park. He laid down a brown plaid blanket and called them all to sit. There was no measuring, no time delays, no tapping, no counting whose turn it was, no total silence. It was just a group of people during a weekly gathering in the park.

Surprisingly it worked. For that one hour, everyone forgot about their OCDs and were just friends having fun in the park.

Until they left. And it all started again. The insomnia from not counting enough sheep, the measuring of the furniture, the tapping, the order of the lists.

Patrick decided to change the location of the meeting every now and again and hope something would work.

By now, he too had began looking at his phone screen more often than usual, swiping all screens back and forth twice before he would put the phone away. He used to think OCD meant something else, like Overtly Characteristic Denial or Other Central Differences or even Ominous Covert Detective. Now, he had learned exactly what it meant and what it felt like. If only he could now shake it off. Maybe even twice.

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