Kinda Flat

I feel like one of those Flat Stanleys today.  Do you know what I am talking about?  I don’t know if they are popular anymore but when my kids were in elementary school the whole class would make a paper doll called Flat Stanley and they would mail it all over the world and get it stamped with all kinds of stamps and sometimes, because this was a popular thing, they would get back pictures of the doll in foreign places and with all kinds of people.  Basically, it was a type of geography lesson and a lesson in how to connect with people outside of their own communities.

It was a cute lesson but I always thought that Flat Stanley must have felt weird, you know,  seeing as he was one dimensional.  I mean what sort of things could he talk about in all of those foreign places where he traveled?  He probably wasn’t very interesting. I imagine him saying, “What time is it here? This is pleasant. My name is Stanley, and how’s the weather?” That would be his entire repertoire. If he could say much more or knew facts or was a great learner he would no longer be flat.  He would have to take up more space.

That’s how I feel: flat and not very interesting, like I shouldn’t take up too much space.  I try my best to do things I think will benefit my family only to be told I am way off base.  It isn’t fun. I spend a lot of time, the majority of it, alone these days.  I am getting used to it.  But really, I am a social person.  Between Covid (yes, it’s still around!) traffic, fatigue and whatever else, being social has never been the same since March of 2019, for anyone, I think. I know from talking to others that I am not the only person who feels isolated these days.

But back to the feeling of being flat.  I have arrived at an age and position in life where due to my health I can’t work more than 15 or so hours a week.  My husband works from home and my children, although I hear from them often, are just not children anymore.  I really don’t know where I fit in.   I have been trying to discover that answer for the past year or so.

I assign myself jobs, both big and small.  I am working  very hard on making my goal to publish a book a reality.  I also work really hard to be physically fit.  I like to cook so I do that.  But I think where I get snagged is when I expect or try to lean on those around me for praise or for much of anything at all.  I realize that I need to be my own cheering section.  I was the cheerleading section for the whole family so that makes sense.  I mean, this should not come as a surprise. But it seems like it should cut both ways and it just doesn’t.  I think being stuck behind the jailer bars of Covid for so long has exascerbated all of this. Those in my family who are introverts by nature have thrived in this new enviroment.  But people like me, extroverts, especially ones with fragile immune systems, have really suffered.

I know everyone deals with some level of this.  I just always feel like I went from being a vibrant person who was neccesary to people’s lives, to some sort of Albatross hung about their necks. It seems like the dividing line was pre and post being really sick.  It’s like I have gained some equalibrium with my health but those I let down aren’t going to come back or reintegrate with me the way they did before I was sick. I may be wrong.  I don’t know.

Now that I think about it maybe being flat would be cool.  You could fit in all kinds of spaces.  Think of it!  You wouldn’t really have to wait in line for the ladies restroom.  You could just sort of slither in and no one would notice you.  Of course someone might sit on you so that is not a nice image.  But you could easily hitch a ride on a plane, train, car and go where you wanted.  You wouldn’t require much in the way of food.  Naturally you want to stay flat. Or does Flat Stanley have anorexia?  Oh dear.  That’s serious.  Maybe Flat Stanley should be moderately thick Stanley.  I am taking this way too far.

I am going to endeavor to not feel like Flat Stanley.  I don’t want to be one dimensional.  Even if no one else can see the dimensions or even cares that they are there I plan to keep flaunting them. If I get my feelings hurt because no one notices or seems to care one way or the other, I must validate myself.  After all, I have never been flat and I don’t think I ever will be. I am OK with being moderately think Katie.

Move over Flat Stanley, or I’ll step on you as I run enthusiastically towards the next thing no one but me cares about!