In old(er) adventurey video games (think Zelda or some versions of Mario), there were always a ton of levels or missions or whatever that you had to go through before you got to the heart of the game, the problem that the whole game’s storyline revolved around. All of the crap that you had to go through was necessary. It made the game interesting and fun (and take long enough to justify the cost of buying it). At each level or stage there was something that you had to figure out before you could make it through to the next. Things got progressively harder as you went through it, but you learned. You adapted. You got better at it.
That’s sort of what getting to know me is like.
I’m generally preloaded, conversationally. I have my little quips or comments or answers to questions I know I’ll be asked ready to go. I say a lot of the same things. I’ve gotten very good at keeping people very surface without them knowing it. And I guess it also helps that while I’m extremely private when it comes to who I really am, I don’t mind sharing details that other people would consider intimate.
It’s something I never noticed about myself until I started seeing it in contrast to how other people operate. I don’t mind talking about my past experiences or things that have happened. At all. I recently told a relatively new person in my life that I would tell them anything they wanted if they asked the right question, and I meant it.
Maybe it’s because I don’t define myself by those experiences. None of them made me any different of a person. Sure they shaped who I would become, but it’s not like you cross a line of an experience and you’re branded for life. There is so much more to a person than the sum total of all the shit they’ve done. We all get so scared of the labels we feel apply all of a sudden after we do something, and I just don’t see it like that.
But other people do. And that’s ok.
I wish I could be better at really letting people in, though. I feel like I (not intentionally, just as an observation) take advantage of the fact that most people view sharing past experiences as a barometer for trust or personal intimacy. I exploit it, knowing that doing this will make you feel closer to me, knowing that you’ll see it as evidence of my walls coming down when I could give a fuck less.
Knowing me takes a lot more than maybe it should. It takes time. A lot of it. At least enough of it for you to be around when everything goes to shit (like it does from time to time) and I can’t keep face anymore. It takes figuring out which parts of the me I’ve shown you are complete crap. It takes defeating that level’s boss and going further.
I very deeply envy people who can be open and trusting. I know I’ve rambled about something similar before. And I wouldn’t blame you for thinking this comes across as whiny. Like, if you want to cultivate close emotional relationships with people, why not just start doing it?
Because I have no clue how.
I have enough of a psych brain to be aware of the fact that it’s nothing more than one great big defense mechanism stemming from a lack of confidence that people would respond well to an unfiltered me. Obviously. But I’m beginning to see it as something I can’t control, and honestly that scares the crap out of me.
Nothing makes me more anxious or uneasy than feeling out of control. Not out of control in the typical wild and crazy sense, I just mean literally beyond control. I am a typical neurotic Type-A crazypants control freak. So, as you can imagine, this is not sitting well with me.
I didn’t mind being a little on the guarded side when it felt intentional. When I needed it, or wanted it, or both. But for the first time in a long time it doesn’t feel like a good thing anymore. It doesn’t feel like something that’s helping me. I feel like I’m trapped in the inside of my brain watching this autopilot bullshit hold me back from… well, fuck, everything.
And it’s not that I even mind being guarded. I mind the deception of it. I mind the illusion of closeness I give off when really you’re as surface as it gets, honey. Because that’s how guarded I am. Not only will I keep you out, but you won’t even know you’re there. It’s awful. What am I hiding from?
I used to tell my detoxers that the most powerful thing they can do in terms of their bullshit is to tell on themselves. Sort of like this. That even if it takes them a fuckton of time to work through their shit, at least making people aware of it helps. So then those people know, and can call you out (or not) and at least just be aware so it doesn’t all feel like it’s in your head.
So this is me telling on myself. Maybe I’ll even try it with someone in real life.