Welcome to my 100th blog post.
Pull up a chair, grab a beverage and snack of your choice, and gather round me, readers, for you are the reason I’ve made it to 100 posts instead of abandoning this blog.
I have blogged at unpredictable intervals, giving you no idea what to expect for me in time, length of post or subject matter, but you have continued to read and comment, both on the comments form and, those of you who I know in “real life”, in person. Some of your comments have been so kind and helpful, some have made me laugh and some have made me look again at myself and my subject matter. I started this blog for myself, with my habitual introvert’s attitude that no one would read it, but I continue it for all of us.
In the years since I started this blog I have become better at social interactions, both actual and virtual. Connecting with people (on timescales shorter than a year) was not natural to me and my small-talk is still somewhat awkward, but I’m getting there. The 12-19 year-olds who I share a livery block with are my victims as I practice my stuttering social skills and in some cases, they are a mirror to me. They’re not sure who they are yet, most of them and they wear their hearts on their sleeves. One girl is perfect at putting everyone at ease, always helpful and happy to answer questions; one is constantly silly; another is unquestionably spoilt yet easy to get along with.* Another reminds me most of myself. She is socially ill at ease and sometimes makes others uncomfortable, yet she of all of them is making the most effort with me – a greater effort because it doesn’t come naturally to her. She is my closest mirror, yet with all of them their thoughts and emotions flash across their faces in a way I have reason to believe I also share. I don’t understand my feelings and emotions, yet one who watches my face can tell me what I feel, though I don’t know it myself – is it the same for these teenagers? I have stated before that I have only in the last few years started growing up – am I on a social and emotional level with these girls over a decade younger than myself? It seems likely to me that I am.
This blog is the story of many things, but one of the main plotlines is my attempting to reach adulthood. When I commenced this blog I was attempting to do so in a vacuum, but now I see that we are herd animals and social awareness and skill have a great deal more value that I have placed on them in the past. I need both role models and peers to learn to be a more integrated member of the herd. The teens are, unknowingly, helping me with that on the livery yard and you, my readers and fellow bloggers, have been helping me in the virtual herd that is the internet.
Perhaps, when you pulled up a chair in the first paragraph, you thought this bedtime story might be less intense, but over-intensity is still one of my personality traits. I’m working on the small talk, you see, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Some-when I might learn to balance, but I haven’t got there just yet. Perhaps by my two hundredth-post? Maybe we’ll get there together.
*She reminds me of Jane Austen’s description of the Bertram sisters (Mansfield Park): “Their vanity was in such good order that they seemed to be quite free from it, and gave themselves no airs.”