So here’s the difference between my sister and myself: my sister has never cared what anybody thought of her, because until she was in her twenties, she assumed everybody hated her. I have always worried about what everybody have thought of me. To quote Robert Frost, “that has made all the difference.”
Here’s what it’s done – I was unable to become a pick up artist. I don’t like taking risks unless I am sure the penalty for failure is low. I don’t like driving in front of people, because they might honk at me. I have only been with one girl, even though that’s what I want more than anything. I have written out my feelings in secret (like in this blog), out of fear that if people knew the real me, they wouldn’t like me. In short, this supreme self-consciousness has sentenced me to a life lived in fear, and guaranteed my mediocrity.
In the spirit of two positives for every negative, it has made me a good writer and public speaker. The reason being is because when you write, you can’t see the audience’s reaction to you right away, so you just GO. It has made me a good public speaker because in a situation where I don’t have to get anybody’s attention because I already have it, I get to be myself, and let’s be honest – my personality is pretty damn good. That’s why I’m “well-liked”, as Willy Loman put it. And being likable has saved me from being bullied, being friendless, and saved my life when my friend gave me her kidney. Unless my real personality, and watch it work.
But when you’re afraid of letting it loose, always apologizing for your own existence, it just makes you look weak.
I know how I got this way. When I was a kid, my best friend (I thought) once told me at a party to “get off [his] back.” I have been shy ever since, and as a result, have always been nervous and uncomfortable in “undefined” social situations (meaning bars or clubs or big parties). I only like meeting people I have a reason to (like if you start a new job, or you go to a small party where you know at least half of the people there), which I feel has limited my social circle significantly. Or at least, I’m not happy with it.
So now the question is how to change that, which will probably require some professional help. But it’s something I do want to swish around in my mind until I’m able to get that help, as I am stuck in this city until I finish school. Having it pinned down, though, is comforting to me at least. Now I just need to figure out how to use this new insight to my advantage…