Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tales of the Socially Anxious: Pt 1

Recently, I discovered I was a socially anxious person.

A contrived operation to cover up the fact that I'm a mistake making c**t just like everyone else :)

Though I do have a problem admitting this, it is tantamount to the problem itself; social anxiety is caused by a need to be publicly perfect. It is borderline impossible to be comfortably yourself and have a close meaningful intimate relationship with anyone. I really don't know how I manage to be an enduring extrovert, however. Probably because it's better than sitting around thinking of stuff I can't solve by myself. Better to talk to people about a load of crap than sit on my own mulling it over.

Anxiety and hiding.


I think that is why i write though. It's like a warning beacon to people I know and the odd few who read that i don't know;

"This is who i am... BEWARE!"

It occurs to me now why I loved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles so much when I was a kid. I could relate to them; they were teenagers, lived in the dark, wore masks and hid in their shells when threatened. (I'm not sure they ever hid in their shells but I'm using the metaphor anyway!) But I couldn't do ninjitsu... the only form I knew was the verbal sort... I'd turn my enemies' words on themselves rather than their actions so they couldn't hurt me and end up looking quite the fool indeed! The splinter aspect though.

My writing is splintered, and it is my master.

Maybe I can publish all those drafts I have lying about some day. It's all I want to do outwardly. Even if the writing's serious, funny, topical or whatever. I was stupid to ever stop because of criticism.

Damn anxiety!

It's weird. I get so caught up in not making mistakes I miss out on ever learning anything. I think that is why I am 31, uneducated on a practical level and have no qualifications to speak of. The lack of mistake making prevented me from ever actually doing anything because I didn't want to feel bad.

Boy is my face red.

Basically I listen to criticism and try to mold it into a personality. opinions and apparent observed flaws shape me if I care enough about the critic. If you want an analogy, imagine you are a rock and criticism is an old hammer and chisel. If you are strong, it cannot chip away at you. But if you are even slightly weaker, the tools start to shape you until you are moulded in a form you are stuck with. Bits are lying about the floor that are no longer a part of you. You have essentially lost part of your identity. If you were the strong rock, you would easily break those tools.

But you know, I never realised anything was ever wrong. it was just like a crazy kinda conditioning I submitted myself to. See, a lack of wanting to make mistakes meant I took less risks and lived a quite uncomfortable existence, torturing ex-girlfriends and family alike with my undiagnosed whining and irrational decision making.

Funny to think that i acquired girlfriends by trying too hard to please them. No wonder the relationships fell apart. I don't blame the girls at all though. They were great the whole time. Lovely people.

And then one day, not too long ago, the pressure mounted and the proverbial cork popped off and the pressure was released . I found myself in the most unique and challenging environment I've ever been in. It's as exciting as it is scary. I now stand face to face with my problems. I sit every day in a busy house full of strangers; ships in the night. The impermanence of it all forces me to face the one thing in it I was never comfortable with; myself. I am the one component of this situation that is consistent. I have to be myself every day with constantly changing house mates. I have to keep practicing cover ups and cementing myself as the perfect nice-guy. It's impossible. I relate to the ones I like and don't relate to the ones I don't. See, it's impossible to have a fake personality around such a diverse crowd. A real eye opener.

In truth, I have to be a bit of a tit. It would take a magician to hide one's real self from hundreds of strangers.

And magic is not real as both we know.

So now it's just me vs. my anxiety. No family in the way. No shaky relationship to distract me. Just a sense of heightened self realisation. I am forced to "find" and "be" myself and to pull off the action with no fear. I think I'd rather jump out of a plane. Naked. Over a field of cacti.

And that may well happen in the next while if I ever get the fuck out of Melbourne

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