Warning: Self-indulgent post.
Some days, you simply feel your foot lodged firmly in your throat all day.
Some people feel that way all the time. I’m one of them.
Of course, I probably AM that way. My college friend Bart used to ask me about the tooth scars around my ankles, if that gives you any idea.
The thing is, I am a really awkward person, unless you know me very, very, very well. Very few people do, probably for that reason.
Yeah, yeah, I know everyone has days where they feel like an ass, but I’m actually (believe it or not) the classical introvert – most social situations leave me drained rather than energized. And so I have a tendency to act bizarrely because I am so intensely uncomfortable.
Chances are, if you are a hominid with speech capabilities with whom I have talked or was supposed to talk, I have spent some time being scared shitless of you.
That is not your fault. It isn’t really mine either. I am simply wired that way, and always have been. I spent a good deal of my childhood hiding behind my mother’s leg, and I have never, ever felt comfortable talking to people.
The thing is, you can’t get through life that way. You either find a way to fake some level of extraversion or people decide you have a mental illness (or both).
Me, I talk a lot, but it’s mostly nervous nonsense, and afterwards, I generally feel like locking myself in a room alone for a couple of hours. I can be entertaining, but at a cost. And mostly, I feel like an ass. And I make other people uncomfortable with my awkwardness.
I hate that most of all.
It doesn’t prevent me from doing things – I’ve done professional theater, taught courses, given speeches, worked in business – but it does make interpersonal communication hard, and it makes me unreasonably self-conscious. Sometimes it means I stay home when I would probably have more fun going out. Sometimes it just means incredibly odd stuff comes out of my mouth that I will later spend quite a bit of time smacking myself over.
It’s just how I am.
And so if you find me cringing at criticism, laughing too loudly, making big gestures, twiddling my thumbs uncomfortably, or spouting utter nonsense, don’t take it too personally.
If I sit in the corner and say nothing, that’s not personal either.
None of that is who I am, it’s just how I deal with the business of being me.