Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Spin Doctors

What I want to do right now is scream.  I want to destroy something beautiful.  I want to laugh like a homicidal maniac while driving a C4-and-French-Bread-loaded moped into the Eiffel Tower.  I want to rent a dozen tree mulchers and shove frozen pigs through them as fast as possible.

Alright – that last one’s just for fun.

I’m mad at myself.  Over a month later, and I’m still doing some of the same old things to myself.  I emotionally personalize everything.  The animosity in someone’s voice when talking about someone else feels like a venomous assault.  Frustrations over the house feel like a personal shortcoming I should apologize for.  Disdain for a service provider feels like a personal sleight. 

I don’t know why my brain personalizes these emotional responses.  I do know that they make me feel very uncomfortable – almost claustrophobic; as if I’m having a mild panic attack.  This is why I can’t watch movies or sitcoms that leave the audience feeling embarrassed for a character (“Arrested Development,” is a great example): I personalize the experience to such a degree that it becomes physically unbearable.  It makes my skin hurt, when these moments happen.  I feel this crawling itch from the back of my head, crawling out along my body, until it just feels like my skin is literally white hot, and tearing at the seams.

I don’t think I’ve even been able to explain it quite so well before.  Now, if I could apply that same simplicity to quantum thermodynamics, we’d be in business.

I’ve had this reaction since I was a kid.  While I was at a babysitter’s watching “Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers,” I used to react to the show.  The other kids made fun of me for it; I never thought much beyond that it wasn’t socially acceptable behavior.  When I read a book, I find myself expressing with my face whatever the character I’m reading would be emoting.  So, I learned this little trick to make it all hide away: I would just “shut down.”  When I have those moments, I approach them with a cold, sterile precision – much like whenever I reach a point with extreme emotional reactions.

For example, I don’t know how to respond to situations that I don’t agree with.  Well, politely anyway.  I always feel very strongly that I’m right, and I know when I’m wrong I’m not nearly as apologetic as I should be.  So, I stop talking, because anything I have to add to a conversation is just gilding the lily.  Usually, the issue doesn’t necessitate an argument; it’s simply one side asserting their point of view.  I had a conversation via text the other day where I just wanted to get up, jumping up and down, while screaming someone was wrong.

Along with the Mask of Shutting Down (-60 personality, +22 intelligence), I also have the Hat of Extremely Extroverted Personality (+38 personailty, -7 intelligence).  I’m not really that outgoing, it’s just easier for people to interact with me when I’m overtly conversational and good natured.  If you’ve ever met me, and thought a month or so later – after hanging out a couple of times – that I wasn’t quite the same, crazy guy, it’s not you: that’s just me relaxing around you.

Back to point, the problem is, I couldn’t figure out why I was mad at myself.  Sure, it’s well and good if I feel that way, but how do I substantiate that claim?  The guy going around like he’s got it all figured out doesn’t; he’s just got an idea of how it all works out.  I haven’t got it hammered out how, but I’m going to try and unspool this issue and see where it goes.  I was hoping by writing about it, like the others, it would just unravel enough, but this one’s in there pretty good.

Hell, it may even be a legitimate social anxiety issue that they can medicate away.  I’m sure that’s nice for some, but I’ve never met a normal person made better by cocaine, thus defeating the “better living by chemicals” mantra.  I don’t want medications to help “regulate” the nuances of my personality.  Besides, if I don’t know what’s causing it, how I can I expect to fix it?

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