Monday, December 31, 2007

An Introvert's Quandry

Let it be known, sleep is golden. After languishing in bed yesterday afternoon, cobbling together a few moments of rest at a time, I finally drifted off somewhere around eleven in the evening. Seven hours trumps three the night before, but since I don't have much to do today, I'm going to return to bed after I finish writing and hope I can grab a few more hours. Here's hoping, anyway.

Thanks for the tea and sympathy from all the usual suspects. Know that you are loved and always appreciated for what you do and say. Our tight-knit band of like-minded kindred spirits is a major reason why I enjoy blogging as much as I do.

Though in retrospect, I probably shouldn't have risked public contact on so little sleep, I muddled through Quaker meeting yesterday morning feeling tired and spouted awkward replies to the inevitable questions and general small talk of the tiny gathering. I doubt seriously I made as horribly unforgivable an impression as my fears wanted to make me think I did, but then again, my whole life I have had to excuse the irrational paranoia that often grips me. Medication, therapy, experience, and a sense of perspective have helped but I'd be lying if I said social interaction wasn't still a constant challenge for me.

I wish I were more comfortable being immediately social with strangers. My potent combination of introversion and social phobia makes me appear detached, distant, and often standoffish. Yesterday, in between first hour and second hour, a man greeted me warmly and, being caught off guard, my already-frayed nerves created a less-than-fantastic first impression. Over the years, friends, I have learned to compensate for this by bringing light to my fears when they arise and making jokes at my own expense. One can't please everyone, nor can one be responsible for what others think of him. Part of the nature of my illness is an extreme sensitivity to criticism and nagging fear that others despise me. It has no basis in reality, and I recognize that, but I still feel caught off guard and overwhelmed among people.

And on that note, I have a warm bed calling my name.

8 comments:

FranIAm said...

Sleep, peace and rest to you dear Kevin.

Tengrain said...

CK -

My father once told me I was born to go to cocktail parties, and generally my whole life has been one, long, exercise in proving him right.

I know I make gaffes with strangers (and friends alike), but I know that it is just one way of getting people to talk -- and hopefully to me.

There would be no charm in Hugh Grant's career without the disarming awkwardness. It is a gift, my friend. You just need to know how to unwrap it.

It is all a question of perspective.

Regards,

Tengrain

chris said...

nah, you did fine. except for the bowling shoes comment.

Comrade Kevin said...

Chris,

Love me, love my strong opinions on all things. :-)

But in saying that, I do admit to occasionally putting my foot in my mouth.

I'm sorry! Eeek!

Tengrain,

You're right. I've developed ways to make my shyness work for me instead of against me, and I ought to learn more of them.

chris said...

awww, I was kidding :) besides, you'll like my bowling shoes!

happy new year Kevin!!!

Comrade Kevin said...

Happy New Year!

Distributorcap said...

ck

you would be surprised how shy almost all of us are....even an obnoxious nerd like me..

to a good new year

DC

ps -- i love to sleep....... i never get enough.

Dr. Zaius said...

You aren't missing anything. People are a pain in the ass, as a rule.