As you will probably discover (if you haven’t already), I use uncommon words, metaphors, and word pairs that aren’t usually put together in order to create a distinct meaning, and then spend the next several sentences explaining how I arrived at those specific word groupings or defending my metaphor. It should be no surprise that I’m going to try that again here.

I wish that I had social stamina, the word grouping of the hour :) And here’s the anticipated expanation.  These two words have been used in various contexts, apart from the other, to mean many things.  “Social” almost always has to do with people or groups of people interacting on various levels and media. Direct verbal communication is the most commonly used medium for social interaction. But my curious word grouping wasn’t “social interaction”, was it?

Stamina refers to strength of physical constitution; power to endure disease, fatigue, privation, etc. (From www.dictionary.com)  It could be used instead of endurance, staying power, even will power.  Most people know of my endurance in running (I could run all day long) and my staying power in biking (I can bike for days), but honestly, the longer I run the more that endurance is about will power.

For example, early this summer, I went on a 9 mile run.  It was the longest run I had ever attempted up to that point.  It was a Tuesday, and people were watching “A Knight’s Tale” at the house.  We’d started it fairly late because supper didn’t get over until later.  I had decided the morning before that I was going to go on this 9 mile run.  Instead of ripping myself away from the movie and my friends to undertake this test of my physical endurance, I could have very easily just stayed where I was and tried it another night.  Granted, I wouldn’t have been ready for the 13+ mile run I attempted later that week, but I could’ve done nothing.  partly out of my integrity and partly by will power, I strapped in and set off.

In light of these observations for clarity, I want to again draw your attention to my peculiar word pair (Social Stamina). I think, by now, you understand what this means but let me expand it a little.  Almost a year and a half ago, I found myself quite isolated in a circle of friends I’d created for myself.  Things went on where I didn’t say more than the barest of bare minimum to anyone and spent weeks on end saying nothing at all.  While some of you might think that to be rather fun, take my word for it as a longtime introvert, it wasn’t healthy or safe.  It leaves time for the mind, or at least mine which is found to be active at all times to the chagrin of its possessor sometimes, to go places it really shouldn’t and I mean that in the most upright way possible.  An alternative world is all too easy to believe in instead of the real one, if one’s not involved in the real one.

At the beginning of this year, 2008, (actually much before that but then I was too comfortable in my chains to allow for this sort of growth) I was really challenged to get out and expand my social network as it were.  I have many friends that I’ve only met this year and longtime friendships only recently actually cultivated, but I still struggle at times engaging in this thing we call verbal communication.  It gets easier when the people talking actually have something to say, but often times I’m around people so long, they run out of things to say.  The absolute hardest thing for me to do is listen to people making noise for the sake of hearing themselves or just making noise.  This is when my social stamina, which has grown considerably this year, runs out and I find myself simply exhausted, physically and mentally.

To a certain degree, this happened after this weekend’s festivities.  My birthday on Friday started what I felt to be a four day celebration and a fifth day that is always hard for me to live through.  Not necessarily because I was the center of attention, but because I often made an effort in trying to develop this social stamina to at least command someone’s attention, (really anyone’s attention), I felt like I was involved in a lot of stuff Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and to a lesser degree Monday.   

I was certainly running on fumes by Sunday evening and had to go walking to force myself away from things. (Perhaps you have my answer, Rebekah, to whether or not you were right in guessing which one of my random facts was false?!)  By Monday, I was trying to turn my attention to the week of school, (here’s one of those plays on words that I should now be famous for saying: After my crazy Tuesday, I go into autopilot before I trip into fall break), though I still had a final celebration to make an appearance at before my evening bible study.  Then came Tuesday. :P Already exhausted in virtually every way one can be exhausted, I had a day in which I had to spend 12 hours on campus doing things I don’t particularly enjoy doing at a point in my life where my mind goes all over the place when it hasn’t a definite task to perform.  I really hate being tied to a specific place without the ability to write down my thoughts.  Too often, exhaustion that I know I should feel is in conflict with my thoughts that keep coming regardless of my physical condition or even my ability to order them sufficiently or will power to keep them in check.  I end with this observation of an obversation: Apparently, I wear my mind on my sleeve, but few actually tell me they can read it.

JA Menter

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