A thought occurred to me tonight (too many thoughts seem to occur to me all the time). This particular thought is one that I have been pondering for quite a while and it’s the answer to the question: Why do I panic when I have to meet strangers? It’s not actually what happens before the meeting; it’s what happens afterwards: I dissect. I take every word I have spoken during the conversation with the stranger(s), then I pick at it with my scalpel and I take everything apart.
I wonder if I sounded right, if they understood me correctly, if I looked dumb while I spoke, if I had something in my face that seemed out of place, if I upset anyone, if I seemed too quiet and so on and so on. This process already begins during the ‘meeting’ or get together with someone I never met before. I start wondering what they’re thinking of me as I speak and my throat dries up. Then the awful thought: What if I lose my voice and I feel nauseated suddenly? How do I excuse myself?
Then when I am done with my scalpel, I am not left with the clarity I was so yearning for.
Instead I have this bloody mess in my head, unspoken words, things I should have said, things I could have done better, ways I could have seemed nicer and more clever. The grade is pretty much always negative and the mess equals a massive headache.
I am so, so hard on myself when I have to face a stranger. Having never met them before,
I am pretty sure to come out the loser. And why is it a competition anyway? Meeting someone is not supposed to be about comparisons – who is more clever, who is more pretty, who is more entertaining? No wonder being sociable is such a pain for me! There is absolutely no relaxation or enjoyment in it.
That’s why I keep myself pretty isolated. No scalpel needed. And like any surgeon, I do need my rest to be really good.