I walk into the office feeling fine, i’m energetic, and ready to face the challenges of the day. Suddenly someone looks up, smiles and ask how i’m doing. I freeze, realizing oh no, i guess I’m not quite ready. Despite the level of energy i feel its sometimes quickly depleted once i face my first interaction of the day.
       I”m actually a pretty social person i love to get to know people, not just who they are but I’m always curious about the reasons they are the way they are. What makes someone friendly, or timid in the face of another person being genuinely interested in their day, etc. I’ve been greeted and find myself trapped in this inner monologue.
       I have a plethora of interesting stories, and thoughts and insights into what makes a great song. What topic do i broach? the topic of syllable counts in rap is lost on most people, thinking that you’re taking a crude art and building it into some false vision of Van Gogh, when they’re really just talking about guns and thug life. It’s probably better to let these people alone cause telling them they’re listening to the wrong rappers isn’t going to make them listen.
       I’m also concerned that the things that I find interesting, body language, technical aspects of writing, or psychology or just too heavy of topics to submit, or even worse the recipient might just find them incredibly uninteresting.
       Should i bring up the fact that I met Michael Phelps on my 21st bday? That was certainly an interesting experience and he came off as a well put together humble person. Maybe that’ll come off as name dropping, even though I don’t hang out with him on a regular basis. Or as I sometimes catch myself, realizing from a delayed memory or their body language, that they’ve already heard this story.
       Then i realize they’re looking at me still, while I’m lost in this systematic search to come off as an interesting person, I have yet to say hello. I greet back and feel the urge to apologize, I could say I’m sorry its me not you, but it’s probably a little more complicated than that, and might lead to an awkward cloud I’d rather not weather.
        I ask if they’re doing well, did you have a good weekend? See any good movies? Instead of having a back and forth I find myself questioning them as if I”m putting the onus on them to be interesting. This is not my intent but the verbal diarrhea has started and I have little control over what flows out sometimes.
       It amazes me that while I have this vault of stories and musings, that I’m often stunted by the simple act of being greeted, or eye contact. Not every day is this way, some days I’m the life of the party, other days when told an interesting story from another person I find I can’t even respond with anything more lucid then “yeah” coming off as uninterested or half listening. We have our small discussion to start the day and I”m off to find my superior to find out what our goals for the day are.
       As the day lingers I’m sometimes stuck in the scene of an earlier interaction ruminating on whether or not I fucked up. To you it’s probably not that big of a deal but i can’t stop the incessant replay, what started off as maybe a small offense builds up and grows into an attack on that other being as a person. So several hours go by, and I try to muster up the courage to apologize and sometimes its just not in the reserves for the day.
       I come back about a day later and explain myself, or respond to some small critique you made previously. The other person seems taken aback sometimes there’s a visible flinch, or literal step back. What is going on, they must be thinking. Did i offend him? The truth is usually you didn’t, but for my own anxiety i need to respond, however delayed. On the other hand it goes much smoother than i expect sometimes, they explain its not a big deal and we move on. I sometimes feel silly or dumb, wishing i had the perseverance of this person to so easily shake off an interaction and no longer be bothered by it.
      I wouldn’t necessarily say that I feel bad about myself, it might be more accurate to say that I make myself feel bad about myself after the fact. A victim of my own self dialogue. I sometimes feel as thought I”m wrapped in some kind of volley ball net, it serves less the purpose of defending me from insult that might be spiked my direction, but the holes between the net itself are only big enough to let through a certain amount of comments. It seems to deflect any well intended compliment, sincere endorsement of my abilities and only lets seep through any negative statement or constructive criticism that i might fear holds true. I sometimes find myself enveloped by these tropes of negativity and self criticism finding little i can do but go to sleep and hope that i feel better upon awakening. When given a compliment I am taken back a little bit, because I probably don’t believe these things about myself. People look at me a little flustered sometimes thinking I’ve somehow been insulted by their compliment, when really its just a moment of doubt that i was unsuccessful in hiding. The mind is a beautiful thing but sometimes i find my own actively working against me, and I sometimes have trouble turning it off.
       I also seem to do a lot of this to myself through my thought process. I’ve been a manager for several years and as such you’re always trying to learn and improve to make sure you’re doing the best for yourself, your employees, and your company. In a noble attempt of self improvement you start noting the things you don’t know how to do, and things that you could do better. Maybe your an excellent mover of inventory but customer service is not your best asset. Whatever your make up, you make a list of things that you want to learn and improve upon. As the list begins to grow your mindset turns on you. The more you learn the larger the list becomes realizing there’s an abundance of situations that you were never aware of. Instead of a positive list of the things “I will learn” it turns into a seemingly unconquerable obstacle course of invoices, schmoozing, and hard work. This list no longer is something for you to improve upon, but turns on you as a list of inadequacies, and with so much to figure out, maybe unconquerable. I think I understand logically that perfection is not attainable, but maybe emotionally I’m still frustrated by the fact that I”m not perfect, despite this knowledge.
       My anxiety seems to stem not from the idea that I”m unworthy, or a bad person, but more from the idea that I”m not yet the person I want to be. A stable, well put together family man with a career that both gives me the money to support my family, and the time to spend with them. My inner monologue sometimes annoyingly ask “how many times have you said you’re going to back to school? When will you accept that this pipe dream for what it is, you make good money just suck it up and realize your dreams will never come true.” My body droops a little and I fall into myself as I don’t believe this to be true, but fear that it might be. I have a plan pretty well mapped out for how I will accomplish these goals, and must find some way to remind myself daily what I’m working towards. Maybe post it to my bedroom door. The reminder would probably help and hopefully I don’t get too frustrated by how long the wait is to get there. I suppose there’s a bit of courage to be found in following through despite your worst doubts.
        I find myself a little frustrated at times with the idea that I haven’t achieved what I want too, while others who are less responsible, and have probably not gone through all the proper steps already have a home and a family. Maybe too early, and not in the brightest of environments, but they possess the essence of what I”m really looking for, even if given in a less then perfect situation. I shouldn’t compare my lives to others, but when they have my white picket fence and smiling toddlers, it’s easy to become a little jealous of their luck.
        I find lots of ways to cope, clean the house, write some music (there’s a reason I brought up syllable counts earlier), maybe go exercise to burn off this nervous energy lest I have some random outburst, a strange noise that serves little purpose but to expel this build up of anxiety in my system.
      I find cleaning to be much more effective then i would’ve thought, I look back at my apartment having both distracted myself from some destructive thought, and feeling as though I have properly “adulted” for the day. Well it does seem a strange place to end but I’m quickly running out of thoughts and don’t want to be mistaken for being too interested in talking about myself :)