|Actually kind of the opposite; I'm|
most at ease in clubs; but this meme
cracks me up.
So…I’m back in BG.
And it’s just as awesome if not more awesome than I had anticipated.
Seriously, I’m home. Other than job hunting and getting ready for classes, I’ve been spending my time walking down Main Street, teaching belly dance for an upcoming show at the park, bar hopping, dancing myself to exhaustion at my beloved Ination, and spending a ridiculous amount of time with some truly amazing friends.
My social life in particular has exploded, as I had predicted it would. In Columbus, I had a core group of friends and a few others scattered about, with one weekly (totally awesome) movie night and sporadic visitations here and there. I’ve been in BG all of August and there have been maybe two days where I haven’t spent time with friends. It’s been beyond wonderful, but it’s also been, honestly, exhausting.
It’s a surprise to most people when I admit that I have pretty heavy social anxiety. Those who have met me when I’m at ease probably see me as a bubbly social butterfly. At Ination, for example, I bounce from the bar to the back to the dance floor, hugging, cuddling, and chatting the entire night. This isn’t an act. I thrive in situations like this. As I’ve mentioned countless times in previous posts, I adore people, am completely enamoured with my friends, and wilt like a flower without sunlight when I’ve been alone for too long. But I would be lying if I didn’t say that in every single social interaction , a part of me is absolutely terrified.
Ladies and gentlemen, the aesthetic paragraph break. Hold your applause.
I’ve had anxiety all my life, and in college I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. For those who don’t know, this means that I worry more than the average person, and that something mundane can become catastrophic in my mind in about .3 seconds. In an article I came across on a friend’s Facebook wall, blogger Shuan Groves put it perfectly: “People with chronic debilitating anxiety are often ruminators. They are people whose thoughts get stuck in a groove like a needle on a record, going round and round playing the same anxious thoughts again and again until it’s all they can hear.”
…Yup. I can’t even think of a good way to add to the thought. It perfectly explains my brain when I’m anxious. My anxiety blends with a single monumental flaw of mine and creates the social anxiety that I really struggle with. That flaw is the plain and simple fact that I can’t shut the fuck up.
I have a blog because I’m overly opinionated, and I tend to express those opinions very strongly. Friends reading this right now are probably thinking, “Yeah, no shit.” If you’ve had a conversation with me for five minutes, chances are, I’ve blurted out a strong opinion on something, and quite possibly gone on a rant for that full five minutes about said topic. I don’t really have a problem with the fact that I feel strongly about music, movies, social issues, and just about everything else under the sun. The problem is that I don’t have to express my goddamned opinions, especially in the often harsh and cynical manner I tend to. But I’ve never been able to stop myself. I mean, I’ve improved over the years, but get me on the right topic and words just spill out of my mouth. I’ve offended and alienated so many people by my unfiltered rants that it’s a wonder anybody likes me at all. Yet I can’t stop. I’ve even had days where I’ve physically written SHUT UP on my hand in sharpie as a not-so-subtle reminder to keep quiet, and I’ve failed.
Because of this rather crippling combination of ranting to the wind and then obsessing over the fact that I’d made an ass of myself, I’ve become far more comfortable socially interacting in loud, busy settings, where I don’t spend too much time with any one person. I prefer to flit about from friend to friend, holding brief conversations. I like to socialize in situations where there’s something else going on; at a club where discussions can be broken by a great song coming on, or in between scenes at a rehearsal for a show, or during a class; anything where the focus isn’t solely on me and one or two other people. I have better control over my tongue (ha!) in short bursts, I suppose.
Aesthetic paragraph break number two, because God damn, I am ranting roll right now.
I don’t tend to go to house parties or put myself in “let’s just hang out somewhere” situations unless I’m with friends who have known me for a very long time and are able to brush off the sometimes off colour and unintentionally offensive things that I inevitably spew. It’s pretty safe to say that when I offend someone, 99.9% of the time, it’s unintentionally. I rarely want to hurt somebody, and when I do, there’s no misinterpreting it, because I go right for the jugular. I can’t remember the last time I wanted to hurt somebody, but I remember and obsess over quite a few times I’ve accidentally offended someone.
If you’ve heard me rant about something I don’t like (or read anything to that effect on Bite Me), then you know I can be a pretty brutal critic. I am three times that brutal on myself; about my looks, my acting and dance performances, my writing, you name it. And having that kind of psycho bitch in your head makes you damned cautious. When I hang out with someone one on one, I might seem fine, but internally I am tense and constantly monitoring what I say. Again, If something slips out of my mouth that I thought was too harsh or random or crazy, I beat the hell out of myself, because now this awesome person I’m hanging out with is going to think I’m stupid/mean/insane/dull, etc. This happens to me at least three times every time I am talking to somebody in an intimate discussion.
You can actually read my comfort level from my level of chatter when I’m talking to somebody. If I’m totally comfortable with you, you might not be able to get a word in, and the subject will change from one nonsensical rant to another in a jumbled blend of insanity. Luckily, if I’m that comfortable with you, you’re already totally used to that, and some of you even find it entertaining (Hence why I’ve been dragged to bad movies more than once just so friends could hear me rip them apart). If I’m around somebody I’m uncomfortable with, normally because I admire and respect them and would be utterly devastated if I pissed them off, I’m fucking quiet. I’m being so careful not to say anything potentially annoying that I can hardly say anything, period. When I met Nero Bellum last year, I might as well have had my lips stitched together. There are plenty of non-celebrity people I’m too nervous around to talk much around, some of whom I see on a weekly or even daily basis now that I’m back up in town.
I’m downright euphoric about being in BG and being able to spend time with the people I’ve missed so much for two years, and I’m actually making a conscious effort to conquer my anxiety and hang out with people outside of the typical events during which I see them, but I still find myself hesitating about accepting an invitation to chill at someone’s house or mill about Main Street, because all of the mental jumping jacks I go through during these unstructured interactions, and the hours afterwards when I beat myself up for having said stupid things, are completely exhausting. I’m working hard on it though, so if you’re one of my loves who wants to hang out with me outside of Ination or rehearsal, bear with me!
And if I go on a rant that ends up irritating you, for the love of God, don’t take it personally, and just tell me to shut up before I piss you off.