[“Lost in My Mind” – The Head and the Heart]
Being sick sucks y’all… Here I am saying that I need to stop laying on the couch feeling sorry for myself but this is literally what a stupid cold is forcing me to do. The weather needs to get itself together and stop being a moron so that some of us can actually breathe. Anyway, in an effort to overcome, as always, I am here with more topics for consideration since I literally can’t take the sullen introspection anymore.
So, let’s talk. It’s come to my attention recently that unless I am utterly alone, I do or say at least one embarrassing thing a day. I mean, I obviously do them alone as well, but there’s no one around to see them so I can’t really consider them all that embarrassing. It’s an honest-to-god comfort for me to know that my cat can’t verbally judge me (though he has some seriously judgy side-eyes sometimes).
Case and point, I recently found out I am an “I love you” drunk. I suppose there are worse things to be but a combination of mimosas and margaritas on a bestie’s birthday caused me to literally just start telling friends how much I love them (platonically, of course, thankfully I am not THAT much of a mess). As a terribly awkward person, already prone to excessive sentimentality, you can imagine that this was done way too emphatically. It’s not that I don’t mean it, there’s simply no reason for me to be so over-zealous about it. I already say it enough while dead sober.
Instances such as these, where, upon reflection, I was a little too free with my weird, literally keep me awake at night. In all, they are incredibly harmless but I would love, just once, to be cool.
I pretty much just have no chill. Ever. I am an absolute stranger.
Overthinking the Overthinking
That being said, if there’s one thing I am good at, it’s overthinking every last thing.
Because of this, I’ve never been very good at socializing. Between what is usually overwhelming verbal incompetence and a deeply ingrained self esteem problem, it’s no wonder that I prefer to write here rather than share any of this nonsense in person.
I am reasonably ok at “faking it” for a period of time. And I can be presentable and not appear to be too intense most of the time. I am not saying I belong in a straight jacket (not least of which because I am claustrophobic and the restriction of my arms would make me absolutely freak out). But the sad truth, friends, is that I am not simply good at “me.” Or maybe, I suppose, it could be that I am spectacular at being me, it’s just that I am inherently weird. I simply don’t know. It’s quite unfortunate that we, as individuals, don’t come with a set of instructions. Despite how much I detest them while putting together IKEA furniture, I definitely would have read them by now if they helped explain this (beautiful) mess.
Regardless, until this point, my lack of social skills didn’t matter much because I had an extroverted partner who had my back. During social situations I could quietly retire to the background and do what I do best, be an observer rather than the observed. Which means that during some of my most formative years, I didn’t have to adapt or overtly learn to socialize when most people are figuring out that skill; someone was always there to run cover or reassure me when I felt I was doing particularly poorly. I no longer have that safety net under my precarious tight rope walk through society… I’ve lucked into lovely and understanding friends and I cannot tell you how truly fortunate I am to have each and every one of them. At this point, though, the harsh truth is that I am now entirely responsible for my own well being and I have to feel confident in both my surroundings and my ability to exist within them.
Getting to Know You
As the pain of heartbreak has continued to (sort of) subside, I’ve been coming to terms with the vaguely panic inducing realities of my current situation. I was with one person for 1/4 of my life. Some of my most important years, years in which I should have been getting to know myself, I identified mostly as a “we” instead of a “me.” Before that, I was in such a nebulous space of teen angst and high school into college worries that my concept of self was, to say the least, limited and flawed. As such, I’ve never had to, overall, have the emotional or physical confidence to stand on my own two feet for an extended period of time. Now, if I don’t want to be alone forever, I have to gather the strength to find and embrace this confidence and move forward accordingly.
Unfortunately, this eventuality is not a guarantee. I’ve yet to reach the point where I fully like all of me. I am working on it but, dudes, it’s fucking hard. How do some of you do it? How do you look in a mirror, say “I look good” and “you’ve got this,” and just go out into the world and not worry? Not think, every other second, that you have said something wrong or just don’t fit in? Is this just part of what it is to be anxious? Isn’t this part of what medication is supposed to take care of? Or is that just how I imagine everyone’s lives work? Maybe it is only me and maybe it’s not. It’s not something that’s discussed, socially. How would one even bring it up? Regardless, for me, most of the conditions for living as a semi-successful human are appearing like you have your life together when various things are crumbling in and around you.
Well, dammit, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. It’s absolutely unacceptable to find yourself to be overly plain, unassuming, and incapable. I am spectacular. That is one of the hardest things I have ever typed and I don’t entirely believe it at the moment, but I hope to get to one day get to a point where I do.
Don’t Get Me Wrong
This is not my way of saying “woe to me” or “hear my pain.” Im also not trying to load you up a hefty portion of self serving twaddle. I don’t like me sometimes and I am taking active steps to change that.
Through this post, I am simply trying to share a part of the human experience and my journey through it. I am not inherently upset any more than I am overjoyed to be faced with this challenge. Despite the difficulty, I don’t think enough people are granted the opportunity to truly know and understand themselves. And, if the opportunity presents itself, they run in the other direction.
Well, I am not running, I am standing my ground, I am even leaning into it. Bring it on, me, let’s do this! It could be that being this honest is simply my mortifying thing for the day and hell, if that’s the case, I am going to embrace it as part of my ridiculousness.
Forget what other people think! Speak your truth! Embarrass yourself! Rock out!
Maybe it’s just a coping mechanism but I think there is something magical in openly being just a bit weird. I should really just go with it. It might be worth it if that’s what it takes to actually like my whole self, scars (actual and existential) and all.
Who the hell am I? It really is a good question. I intend to keep finding out, dear reader.
Anyway, thanks for listening…
You are spectacular too, I hope you know that.
And, oh by the way, I love you.
Photo: E. Campbell (2017)
Tate Modern, London