Saturday, August 10, 2013

Stories from the Self-Aware

Being self-aware means you live your life as both an active and inactive participant. Like, you could be sitting with a group of people trying to engage or connect in any way you can, while there’s another part of you sitting at another table alone, watching how uncomfortable you look--cringing at how many times you shift awkwardly in your seat just so you have something to do other than vacantly staring off into space.
It’s weird.
And as a result, most self-aware people are pretty weird, too.
Sometimes I like being self-aware because I’m the first one to admit when I’m being awkward. Listen, I know it. But another part of me wishes I could just relax and embrace my awkwardness and make it endearing like in rom-coms starring Reese Witherspoon.
But then I remember my life is not a romantic comedy and scripted awkwardness is way cuter than my reality. So I'm back to fidgeting with my hair and scanning the room for the 100th time as though I'm conducting a thorough inventory of every wall ornament in the place.
This is mostly why I refrain from social situations that don’t involve people I’ve known for a minimum of 10 years. I feel like my entire tone is somewhat apologetic while I’m out. Like, “Sorry guys, I don’t know how to behave when I’m around people! Sorry I can’t participate in this conversation because I’m sheltered and have no idea what you’re talking about! Sorry I keep bringing up how awkward I seem because I need everyone to know that I’m aware of it, too! Sorry I just did that weird thing with my arms that was supposed to be dancing!”
See, to most people, none of this ever even crosses their minds. At all. And if it did, they’d likely not admit it for fear of seeming neurotic or socially inept. But, I’m a writer. While all this is happening, I’m thinking of ways to translate it to paper so I can in some way transform my social tragedies into something productive.
And in that, is the good thing about being self-aware; you're also hyper aware of those around you. I feel like I have a really good sense of people that developed from years of being the wallflower. It’s probably why I’ve been writing stories since I learned how to write my name—my characterizations are based on what I observe from people around me.
So, I pretty much know when someone else feels awkward, too. Or when they’re trying too hard. Or when they’re bullshitting me.
The thing is, I never call them out on it. (I mean, why would I? That would be awful.) So, I write about myself. And I take these attributions I observe in others and assign them to various characters in various novels I write at various times of the night when I can’t sleep.
I’m sure I'm probably way too candid about these things on my blog, but it’s all in hopes that maybe someone, somewhere can silently relate in some way.
And if not, well, then I guess this is all really embarrassing and a complete waste of time and made everyone who I know in real life kind of uncomfortable.
At least I’m aware enough to realize it though, right?

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