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Monday September 21st, 2020 5:15AM

Sideline scores: The internal conversations of a socially challenged soccer mom

By Kimberly Sizemore Anchor/Reporter

Soccer. This is a whole new world for me. Oh my goodness, I’m officially a soccer mom. Soccer. Mom. But without the minivan. I’ll never drive a minivan. I know they say, “never say never” but I’m officially saying, “never.”

My kid is quiet and shy and has a tendency to get bullied. I figured soccer would be good for him. Wow, was I wrong! That kid is aggressive! Man, he knows how to run and kick and do his thing on the field. I’m so stinking proud, I’m bragging about him to everyone. I guess it’s safe to say, I was a little shocked by the fact that 1. he’s actually good and 2. he’s actually aggressive and doesn’t just stand there like some of the kids! It’s incredible to watch him come out of his shell!

Me, on the other hand, that’s a different story. Soccer makes me retreat, retreat, retreat. The kid attacks on the field whereas he normally retreats on the sidelines. I’m the opposite. I am normally a loud, vivacious and opinionated kind of person. But not so much in situations like these.

There’s nothing more terrifying than being stuck on the sidelines with a bunch of moms that you don’t know and you have to make small chitty chat with. It’s the literal worst.

The team started with no coach. In order to move forward, we had to have a coach. So, my brave friend from church who also has a kid on the team stepped up to the plate. Or the goal. Or whatever the metaphor is in this sport. She knows nothing about sports but sacrificed herself so the team could just play.

I sent her this text: “In a world where you have to choose between coaching a sport you know nothing about, or standing on the sidelines talking to moms you don’t know and having to make small talk with, be the coach.”

Maybe it’s just the fact that I’m awkward and don’t know how to have a normal conversation. People who are blunt and to the point tend to not do well in situations like this. I overthink. I try to edit. I don’t do well. I scare people away.

Even my blogs are reflective of this. I will start writing a blog and then I won’t post it. Is it too much? Is it too forceful? Is it too opinionated? Am I being too honest? Weeks go by without a blog. It isn’t usually because I haven’t written them, but that I’m more unsure if they are good, or right, or will be well received. There are different types of people in the world. There are those who overthink too much and those who don’t care. I tend to be the strangest balance of both.

I used to believe that my personality type was a good thing – open and honest to a fault. However, the older I get the more I realize that people don’t know what to do with that. It isn’t always received well. So, somewhere along the way, I started to realize I needed to edit myself. I needed to be polite and more reserved in order to be better received. But then I found that I was exhausting myself trying to constantly review everything mentally. It’s quite tiring. So I prefer to just disengage entirely.

You don’t have that option when you’re standing around with other moms. It’s rude not to engage. It’s impolite. You can seem arrogant or aloof. So, I awkwardly try to throw in a comment. Did it work? Nope, they went back to their conversations as though I didn’t even exist.

Being a grown-up is so hard. Kids just run into the circle and announce they exist and they don’t care if anyone listens to them, or not.

“HI! I’m 8! And I’m here! And I have a new jacket! And I like the rain and the sunshine.”

“Hi, new friend! I have a puppy and a little brother. I go to school!”

And then they both, making absolutely no sense to one another at all about anything, run off holding hands, seeking pirate treasure together. So easy.

Not so with the moms. Moms are hard. Women are hard.

If I could just give you a few seconds into my head. “Wow, she’s cute and sporty looking. What a trendy bag she has. My blue jeans are baggy and I didn’t put on makeup. She has it all together. Maybe if I sit here and keep my mouth shut, I’ll also look like I have it all together. I really could use a friend. I want to chat and be nice. It’s o.k. that they aren’t talking to me at all. I don’t need a friend. I’m good. I’m here for the kids and the game. They probably don’t know what to say to me. I don’t know what to say to them. Do I just bust into their conversation? Is that weird or awkward. Oops. Yep. Tried it. That was weird AND awkward. Don’t do it again. Or maybe do. Keep trying? Oh, good. Whew. Game is over.”

I wonder if I’m the only overthinking, awkward mom who doesn’t know what to say or how to make friends.

I know you’re wondering… No a twelve-year-old did not write this. I am, indeed, forty something. I’m a scattered, messy, forty-year-old who still does not know how to have a normal conversation with normal people. And I’m probably the only one there who is overthinking something that she says she doesn’t care about.

It’s not just soccer. It’s “Women’s Ministry” at church and “Small Group” and “Mom Meet-Ups.” No. UGH. Just. No.

I hate small talk. I hate it. It’s a personality problem. People like me want in-depth conversation. What’s your life history, how long have you been married, what are your deepest, darkest secrets? Tell me all of that right away. I can handle that.

“Oh, it looks like rain,” SHOULD be easier, but it is, in fact, SO much harder. It’s surface and awkward, when the truth is that I want to be all of me right away. That tends to be WAY too much ME for most people. And that’s o.k. Usually.

I just want to be my truest self so you can be your truest self so we can decide if we are going to be friends now and not waste our time.

A few close friends who really get me tend to be the norm for people with my level of weirdness. There’s probably a personality profile with some letters for that – INGF or something, I don’t know. I don’t know what those letters mean, but I’m probably a jumble of them.

I do know that I’m thankful for the few people who love me and get me. My world just got smaller when I lost my sister. That’s one less person who TRULY just GETS me.

Now on to overthinking soccer snacks. Is Kale Mom gonna think it’s not healthy enough? Can I get by with just whatever I already have in the pantry? Do I have anything organic? That would be smart. But not honest.

It’s just graham crackers, but it’s exhausting.

I love those safe spaces where I don’t have to edit. Or explain. Or overthink.

Be thankful for your people who let you be all of your weird self. That’s a beautiful and rare gift. Treasure it.

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Sideline scores: The internal conversations of a socially challenged soccer mom
Me, on the other hand, that’s a different story. Soccer makes me retreat, retreat, retreat. The kid attacks on the field whereas he normally retreats on the sidelines. I’m the opposite. I am normally a loud, vivacious and opinionated kind of person. But not so much in situations like these.
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