The Curse of Quiet Contentment
Are you having fun yet?
For most of my life I’ve been plagued by a single question in social settings: Are you having fun?
I used to refer to it as the porcelain doll syndrome based on the fact that I am incapable of starting a ruckus and therefore sit like a porcelain doll. Eighteen years of dance lessons and ballerina posture didn’t help, either.
But it has carried over into my adult life. Whenever there’s an outing, I will no doubt be asked a dozen times if I’m having fun. The thing is, I always am.
Some people carry on and scream when they’re happy. I don’t. I never have. My family learned long ago that my reaction to a present would never get them on America’s Funniest Home Videos. No matter what the gift is, I’ll smile, thank the giver and hold it in my lap.
I don’t know how to express “fun.” I’m easily pleased and easily content. Give me a cup of coffee and a beach and I’m the happiest girl alive. Give me a good conversation to listen to and occasionally interject and I’m in heaven. I don’t need to be the center of attention to be happy.
In the past, I’ve tried to fake happy. I’ve also failed miserably. What exactly is it that people want you to do to look happy? Sing? You don’t want me to sing. Speak loudly? I just…don’t.
This isn’t to be confused with being shy. I’m not afraid to talk to anyone. If I have something to say, I say it. If I don’t, I stay quiet. Isn’t that what everyone does?
I still remember in high school when I was working on a group project with one of the popular girls. As usual, I wasn’t contributing much to the conversation but rather taking my own notes to present my idea all at once. That's how I work. She asked me about it and I told her I didn’t have anything to add right then. She said, “Well maybe you should think faster.”
I still don’t like her.
It’s not a matter of thinking fast or being shy. Some of us just operate calmer. It takes less to make us content. I’m happy with one person on my porch just sitting and eating blackberries. I’m happy in a group of people I’m comfortable with just listening to their conversations and hearing about their lives and opinions. After all, isn’t listening more important than talking?
But this is my curse. I’ll forever be asked if I’m having fun. I suppose one day someone will believe me.