I'm not aloof, I'm terrified.

I live inside my head to a certain extent. As with anyone, my perspective of the world is from my own viewpoint. Everything I see and hear is filtered through my perceiver, the brain. Therefore everything is tainted with my thoughts and opinions.
Most of what I remember from my travels through my life is what I thought of each experience. That includes anything I said to anyone, as that is the only thing I have control over, and so it's the thing I give the most thought to. 
I tend to by hypercritical of myself and everything I say. I'm not so hard on myself when it comes to the things I do, as I feel that I do a decent job of things, and I seem to get it right a fair amount of the time. It's the things I say to people that really get on my nerves.
I have a bit of what they nowadays call a social anxiety disorder. To this I would like to pose the general question as it relates to human beings and the way they process things in their minds: what is order? A disorder implies that things are not lined up the way they should be. In light of the fact that each brain is a little different, develops differently, and finds its own way of doing the common things that people must do to survive (adaptability and all that), what exactly is "order"? That implies the "perfect brain" doing everything just right if "disorder" is doing things in an incorrect or inefficient way. 
Anyway, so I have this "disorder" which makes it sometimes difficult for me to talk to people, particularly ones I don't know (or don't know well). Fortunately for me, each humiliation I face from invariably saying the "wrong" thing to a stranger or new acquaintance overshadows the previous failure, so they don't build up, creating a bottomless chasm of embarrassment from which I can no longer see the light. No, each time I speak I am dominated by the foolishness I feel for this most recent encounter, which blocks out most previous flubs as all I can think about is how stupid I sounded and how badly the recipient of my remarks thought of me. Again, a lot of this might be in my head. I'm sure each of these people has their own disorder, and maybe they're obsessing about how they didn't react the way they would have liked to in response to my communication, but I never think of it that way. I just remember the way they looked at the moment I was speaking (perhaps they were just processing the information) and I think, "wow, he was looking at me like I'm a total moron. He's absolutely right." 
So I just want to say, if I've recently met you, or we've had any kind of encounter which involved me expressing anything to you, I did not intend to behave inappropriately, I just don't know what to say most of the time.
So I would like to extend the idea that, if I seem like I think I'm "too cool" to talk to you, that's not it. I'm nervous. I already have a hard time talking to people I don't know well, I clearly have some emotional scars from an unpopular youth, and my brother used to push me onto my head when we were little, so there might be some cerebral scarring as well. I wish I knew what to say. I wish I had an easy time talking to people like my wife does. But all I can think of is, "they don't care about that. Why are you telling them things? They're wondering why you think they would possibly want to know anything about you. Shut up already!"
So please recognize my awkwardness and silence for what it really is: actual awkwardness (as opposed to an effort to make it awkward) and insecurity. If I believe someone has a genuine reason to want to know me, I'll open up, and you'll likely never get me to shut up. If that's the case, just remember, rejection = "never talk to that person again." 


Popular posts from this blog

Music 104B Final Project

Old Glory, the stars and stripes

Las Vegas: another nail in the gun rights coffin?