“Writing that Scrapes the Heart”


In class, we read Ralph Fletcher’s Chapter 9 in A Writer’s Notebook. He encourages his reader to use sometimes use the writer’s notebook as a personal journal. “[A] place to be completely honest with yourself. But being honest with yourself isn’t easy” (p. 98).

I’ve been thinking lately about social skills – my social skills.

I don’t think I’m very good at being around other people.

I know that I get so excited around other adults that I cut people off when they are talking – hungry to share and connect.

I want to be a calm listener, not someone who never lets others get a word into the conversation.

We don’t get invited over to other family’s houses. Even when we do the inviting, we are not taken up on our offer.

We aren’t invited to parties or weddings…. anymore.

It would be easy to blame my family – we are quiet and prefer nights in.

It would make me feel less awkward to say, I don’t get to practice my social skills enough, with a family who doesn’t read cues well.

A family who doesn’t help me keep these skills honed.

But maybe that’s just an excuse. A lame one at that.

Maybe, it’s me, not them – my would be friends – who I’ve made to feel awkward in my presence.

Just maybe, I’m the one who isn’t savvy enough to sit at the cool kids’ table.

If so, have I been giving Liam awful advice for how to make friends?

Have I been leading Kieran down the wrong path in how to handle situations where he needs to know what to say or how to act?

Maybe Mea is rolling her eyes because she’s the one who “gets it” when I am clueless.

I head out each day: to work, to volunteer, to teach.

How can I be sure that I’m not missing the cues my colleagues, other parents, or my students are sending?

How can I learn what to say, what to do, how to act?

Will I forever be trapped in my world of social awkwardness?


12 thoughts on ““Writing that Scrapes the Heart”

  1. This post makes my heart ache for you. The Introverts of this world unite in the blogging world. I have been working on my social skills forever. My shyness has often been misunderstood as snobbiness. I feel it is important to accept who we are before we can move forward to change. I subscribe to an Enneathought of the day through the Enneagram Institute. It’s a spiritual based personality tool that helps you see who you are and make changes based on a spirit of love.

  2. This piece left me motionless – sucked the wind out of me. I found myself rereading it several times. First to determine who wrote it … then to feel the words as someone who has met – even gotten to know – you… then to piece the lines together from several points of view … then to appreciate the craft. Sometimes response is difficult. I choose to feel your words and the next time I see you I will share my point of view.

  3. Slices . . . a place to bare our souls and “scrape our hearts” as well as release our vulnerabilities. Just to be on your questioning quest is brave and so trusting! A little self-doubt that makes you question is good: don’t let doubt paralyze you because you are not alone! We are all at various stages of our learning journeys . . . about ourselves and others!

  4. What courage you have, exploring so deeply and being willing to share. That’s not easy and it’s to be admired. I wrote today that understanding self is so important – it’s why we write, really, to explore why we think and feel the way we do. I expect your words will strengthen others who experience the same things. I am moved by your courage and your heart.

  5. No. I do not think so. You are not trapped in a world of social awkwardness unless we all are! I can tell by your honesty and sincerity that you are a trusted friend and colleague to a few very fortunate people. I truly think everyone must feel this way on some level, but only a few brave ones like yourself are willing to admit it. Thank you for your inspiration!

  6. Aileen, knowing you and having spent time with you I must say that your post today takes me by surprise. I have not seen this in you. As a listener and not a talker myself, I totally understand the awkward feeling.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s