What People Misunderstand About Me

So, I was looking through my journaling prompts and this one really caught my eye:

 What’s the one thing that people always misunderstand about you?

JUST THE ONE? angst. But there's SO MUCH to tell.

Actually, the first thing that came to mind when I thought about that question, is how people always assume I'm friendly or social or outgoing.  I actually talked about this in another entry:

"I can't imagine you not being social!" or "You're so social!" No, I'm a faker, I hate all of you, and you're annoying, go away and leave me to the garden. But instead of expressing that, I smile and nod and say thanks....

So really let's talk about it in depth, since I never do.  What people see from me is most likely an eager hostess, who loves to talk and have meaningful conversations and probably interesting stories and more social grace than you'd expect from someone raised by wolves in Appalachia.  I don't know when this shift happened, but it was sometime in adulthood.  As a kid and teenager I was more of the quiet weirdo who wore homemade Led Zeppelin shoes and a trenchcoat.  Haha.  Truthfully I had no desire to stand out or interact, because I'd never been urged to do so by my family and foster care was not the place or time to blossom into a socially developed human.  My parents, my dad in particular, actually lectured me to keep my 'head down' and stay out of trouble.  I think this likely came from his time in prison, as I've heard others who have learned similar, say so.

Whatever the cause, I was not urged to be social or friendly under any circumstances.  My parents were borderline xenophobic, and held themselves and us in high regard; we were better than others and it was by their grace that they bestowed conversation upon people.  (I still maintain characteristics of this mentality today.)   Add to that the fact that I was abused and lived in poverty; I had all the traits you'd expect from a child who endured that environment. Yet there must exist in me some charm that I'm unaware of, because people started talking to me when I was an adult and began enjoying my company.

I'd say I started to come out of my shell my final year in high school, and when I moved to Utah at 19  I really began socializing.  Again I don't really find myself witty or interesting or fun to hang out with but others disagreed, and I had friends and went to parties--a lot of it was superficial, but a lot of it was also genuine.  Still, my introvertedness stuck out like a sore thumb.  I cried at the prospect of spending the night at a friend's house when I was around 20--I only ever slept at home and being away from home for that long was too much to bear.  I honestly thought I was insane for awhile and just suffered through these idiosyncracises, before I got older and wiser and had a better handle on who I was.

As it turns out, I much prefer written communication to verbal.  I prefer online friends to friends in person.  I hate and avoid eye contact.  The vast majority of social courtesies exhausts me and smalltalk makes me want to kill someone.  Even genuine and fun encounters are really terrible for me.  Many times I've been out with friends, either drunk or sober, and my friends are having an obvious blast and comment on the fun we're having and my inward response is basically

The good thing about being me is that I am happy to eschew every single appropriate fraternization and be a total hermit.  I guess other than my work commute I was a complete shut-in for...five, six? years.  It was glorious.  Maybe I was coping with all the shitty forced interactions that partying and having friends involved...who knows? 

I really found a happy medium in Sweden.  Swedes are notorious for being awkward, quiet shut-ins who ignore everyone.  The part that isn't so well-known is how Swedes are behind closed doors: unnaturally warm, caring, concerned, honest, loyal.  To be friends with a Swede is to be friends with a true person, instead of one of the multi-facted Americans (not that one is better than the other, I'm the latter myself.)  Somehow in this society of "it's okay to not talk to strangers" I did a lot better socially and really found myself enjoying hosting.  Hostessing? Does it matter?  I like to take care of people I love, that's it--if I could do that remotely I probably would.  

So fast forward to today.  I can socialize, I can party, I can have guests over and enjoy entertaining people.  But I hate it.  People seriously underestimate how much I hate it.  I go into a state of depersonalization every time I have to maintain eye contact with someone.  I struggle when holding the simplest of "how's the weather" dialogues.  And yet, because I am caring and warm, people automatically think I am also social and love to entertain.

I don't.  I really truly hate it.  It's a part of life that I endure rather than enjoy.  And when I say this it's always met with "oh yeah sure me too" or "I get it, I'm a quiet person too!" I'm not fucking quiet, man, I just HATE being around other humans!! It's not just smalltalk, it's not just forced interactions, it's every single social event and close friend that I have.  One of the reasons my friends are so special is because they know, understand, or appreciate that I need my space, and for some reason they keep me around despite my hermit nature.  

So! Let's clear up this misunderstanding...just leave me be, I truly hate human interaction.  And no it's not "just for strangers" and no it's not because I'm "mean" (though I am pretty mean!) and it's not just "being an introvert."  It's an actual aversion like a vampire in the sunlight and you should count yourself extremely lucky if I show up at your party--it means I do care about you very, very much.  


My Favorite Book(s)

I didn't feel like going in order so I picked one I actually feel like talking about:

What’s your favorite book/movie of all time and why did it speak to you so much?

A few things came to mind when I saw that question...namely my "big two" movies, Life of Pi and The Grey.  I've actually already written about the Grey although it was forever ago, and I'm pretty sure I wrote about the life of Pi on my now-defunct Wordpress blog (it's a great platform, but too much maintenance for someone as bored and disinterested in MAKING AN IMPACT as me....) anyway, what a bummer!  I'll give them a brief mention.

Nobody who reads has a single favorite book, right?  I have two that rank top favorite out of anything ever, even Jane Eyre, so here they are:

Something Wicked This Way Comes
Ray Bradbury was the epitome of storyteller, and the thing I love about this book is how it really feels like you're a kid when you read it as a kid, and yet it feels like you're an adult when you read it as an adult.  I read it when I lived at home and I was around 12, and these horrifying scenes of Mr. Cooger going backwards and turning into a creepy boy (why are the gingers always the creepy kids?) and the Dust Witch and her balloon really truly kept me awake at night.  It was such an eerie, wonderful tale.  But rereading it as an adult I found myself enjoying the symbolism between the two main characters (Will and Jim, light and dark, good and evil, willpower and temptation...etc) as well as being in 10000% sympathy with Will's dad.  One of the themes of the book is aging itself, and I think as an adult the scariest thing besides that Dust Witch is how real the scenes depicting the father's struggle with his age feel and sound.  When I reread it I didn't even have kids....I'm betting if I reread it when Ender's eleven I'll be super depressed.  Still......great book.  Great symbolism.  Great imagery.  Set in the perfect era.  Expressive and fantastic. Oh and Mr. Dark probably started my crush on guys in stovepipe hats.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
This book made it on my memorial painting for my mom's death; it was one of the rare books we 'bonded' over.  I say 'bonded' because after she finally let me read it at 14 years old I just kind of stared at her in abject horror and she nodded fervently, and that's pretty much how everyone reacts to this book.  (I saw the movie much later and was extremely disappointed in it) Chief is such an amazing character, and his admiration and love for McMurphy is really touching amid all the just downright horrific things that happen in the story.  The symbolism again is really strong here, but the themes are of course, establishment and mental health...really such a progressive book for its time.  And the narration! My god.  Here just read it.
I don't fight or make any noise. If you yell it's just tougher on you. I hold back the yelling. I hold back till they get to my temples. I'm not sure it's one of those substitute machines and not a shaver till it gets to my temples; then I can't hold back. It's not a will-power thing any more when they get to my temples. It's a [...] button, pushed, says Air Raid Air Raid, turns me on so loud it's like no sound, everybody yelling at me, hands over their ears from behind a glass wall, faces working around in talk circles but no sound from the mouths. My sound soaks up all other sound.

Ugh, SO MANY GOOD PASSAGES LIKE THAT.  And the humor in that book is just perfect.

Okay, I can't help but mention one third runner up:

Intensity I knew I had to read this book when it was told to me that one of my foster dad's daughters had put it in the freezer because it scared her so much.  Haha!  To be honest, the protagonist reminds me of myself, and it's just a grueling and terrible and painful book.  I like pretty much anything by Dean Koontz but this book is in a whole different realm of amazing.

 Honorable mentions: (aka my 900 other favorite books...)   Black Beauty, Great Expectations, Behind the Attic Wall, The Witch Returns, Harry Potter series of course!, Dark Matter: A Ghost Story, Jane Eyre, Brother Odd, and Frankenstein.

That's about all I have time to write; I might do a part 2 for the movies!


An Impasse

Okay, I have a lot to say here, and none of it is exciting or inspirational.  But I'm going to have a rant anyway, because it's time.  There's so much to say.  I want to talk about blogging for a bit, and how it fits into my life or who I am or whatever.

Blogs used to be so different, circa MySpace and Livejournal.  Social media was not a constant onslaught of pretty and curated, and it wasn't targeted advertising.  Ads weren't sinister, they didn't hide and track your pages, they just popped up so obnoxiously that you knew it was a crappy spam ad.  People shared their bathroom selfies and who they had crushes on, it was all so messy.  And cringy and--here's that buzzword, authentic.  Maybe a little toooooooo real.

And that era had its issues and problems, but nowhere near what I believe we have now.  Every sponsored and mommy blogger harps on about this on their own pages...how we need to be more "real" and "candid" and "raw" they say, as they layer on ten photoshop filters and only show the slightest suggestion of messiness and fussiness.  We still need to "be positive" and "love ourselves" though...of course.  Between the disingenuous and just plain shitty life advice peddled online, and the barrage of ads EVERYWHERE (I just recently uninstalled Facebook Messenger for having ads!! WHY DOES IT NEED ADS?)  it's enough to make you want to quit social media altogether.  I am on Instagram to see photos from friends, not be sold makeup and stickers.

Anyway, my rant about social media is relevant to blogging because they're so uniquely intertwined.  If I listened to the good Internet Mothers of Creativity, I would be a 'boss babe' doing my 'business hustle' (likely with an MLM of some kind or some other treachery) and 'radiating positivity' while doing yoga and attachment parenting and blogging to my 'tribe' about being a 'mama'.  No.   To all of that. No.  It took over the world a few years ago and nothing's been the same since.  You can't blog about depression unless you put a positive spin on it.  You can't just blab out your feelings like I'm doing here, you have to c u r a t e, and compile, and schedule your posts for optimal traffic flow with the right graphics and attention-grabbing headlines and shit.

There was a time where I struggled to do this in my own small (uninterested) way, and it went as well as anything else I've ever not been interested in.  I stopped, and said screw that.  So did pretty much everyone else worth reading.  But I guess I also got kind of lost...what did I want to talk about instead?  I missed the community of blogging, but everybody had dispersed to their strong wimmin businesses and their lipstick shilling and their doula classes.  There were things I wanted to say but to no one in particular.  What I love the most about blogging is going down my list of posts and reminiscing; I'll read entries from years ago or months ago and smile about the memories or even where I was emotionally or what I was working on and it's great to get to know and relive those times.  This may sound a little conceited, but I always thought that maybe one day my kids/loved ones, if they missed me, could come read through my rants and remember how I was, or sounded, and so on.

But another conundrum presents itself.  Back in the Myspace days and even well into my blogger days, I've been comfortable with sharing or even over-sharing.  I was social online you might say, and I've gotten less so the older I've gotten.  I have no idea why this is and every time I try to analyze why that might be, someone posts something STUPID on Facebook or I get another goddamned targeted ad on Instagram and I just roll my eyes and put my phone down for another hour....so I have my answer.  I even filled out a stupid Facebook survey recently and one of the 20 or so questions was "dream job?" and I said "writer"...and lo and behold I got THREE freaking "why wait? become an author NOW!" advertisements on Facebook that week...after previously having exactly zero.

I'm already hesitant to be open online, and things like this really bring out the Gargamel in me.  I've done so many workarounds to avoid the advertising, too.  Fake emails, new browsers, ad nauseum, alternate apps on my phone that aren't "official" Facebook.  It helps, and also limits my online time, which is nice, because you know, I have better shit to do I guess.

But! How does this affect my blog presence?  Advertising is pretty much all blogging is anymore--if you've got a business, you blog about it.  If you've got a product, you blog about it.  If you travel to third world countries to be a white-people-cringefest family...you blog about it.  Blogging used to be virtual scrapbooking, but see, I don't even like scrapbooking!  I have other writing projects that span tons of server space and they're all creative writing..you know..the writing that actually matters... not like thoughts and feeelllliings, which are completely and utterly inconsequential. And yet I can't bring myself to neglect this blog.  Hence the title...an impasse.  I could say that I'll "write about whatever I want, when I feel like it" and even as I say that I can see the entries failing to make it so swiftly that I lose a year of memories.

For the time being I'm going to implement a series, which I don't usually do because I find them unispiring, but I keep reminding myself that maybe Ender will want to learn more about me when I'm dead, lol.  (Parenthood is weird.) I've compiled a list of subjects and I'll try to frequently write about them, as well as anything else I find interesting.  This blog is just as disorganized as it's ever been, so if you do read here, the inconsistency will seem normal to you!  In fact you may wonder why I'm talking so much.

I just had to get that out of my head and write it down