The Depressed Atheist.

As I said at the outset of this blog, I’ve been posting every day because in the past, when I’ve started blogs, I’ve posted lots and lots at first and then slowly taper off until I have one of those zombie blogs. I may still have two zombie blogs here on WordPress. So I post something, anything, every day – even if it’s just a picture. Today, I’m feeling too blue even for a picture post.

The post I’m planning on putting up on Wednesday is about getting my hair cut in seventh grade. That sounds really trivial, but it fact it was a turning point in my adolescence because, quite accidentally, I stumbled on the trick to being “cool” rather than a “nerd.” You see, I suffer from mild social anxiety, although I didn’t know it for most of my life because I was able to cover it up successfully. I thought everyone was just a little bit nervous in social situations. I would have put myself in the “slightly shy and certainly introspective” category rather than the “gregarious and outgoing” category, but I believed that I still fell somewhere on the continuum of what most people would consider normal.

I handled social situations by over preparing and bracing for the worst. I’d do my makeup and my hair. I’d choose my clothes carefully. I’m not much for the consumer mentality, but I am very visual and I think I frequently succeeded in looking quite stylish, yet not unoriginal. I’d agonize about going and finally I’d force myself out of the house because I was already showing up a little bit later than was polite. I’d take a deep breath and walk into the room. It could be a classroom or a party. The dynamic was pretty much the same. I’d battle my instinct to slink along the wall like a scared cat. I’d walk into the room, moving close to the center although I usually couldn’t bring myself to actually inject myself into a conversation. Then I’d stand there with my shoulders back and my chin up as if I were defiantly facing a firing squad. What did I get as a reward for a my bravery? People would think I was stuck-up and a snob.

That’s not as bad an outcome as you might think. I learned very young that most people don’t exercise judgement very well, and it’s especially poor in groups. People value things because they see social cues telling them that something is valuable. By accidentally acting as if I thought I was too good for everyone else, other people would perceive me as having something of value. I didn’t need to approach people because they approached me. Of course, every minute of waiting for someone to approach is like dying a million little deaths in my mind. Consequently, I do not choose to go to any and all parties. I pick ones which offer a high return on investment. In some sort of virtuous circle, I appear to other people as picky.

Still, I’ve never ceased being nervous. People saw me as confident and self-possessed. Meanwhile, inside I was a basket-case.

What does this have to do with not feeling like posting? Because time doesn’t work on the internet the way it does in the flesh. In the real world, I’m not up for an argument all the time. When I am, I steal myself for it, so to speak. If I’m feeling vulnerable, or blue, or especially shy, I don’t engage. However, on the internet, you can put up a comment on a day when you’re feeling strong, or silly, or friendly and you might get a response when you’re in a totally differently state of mind.

So someone made me cry this morning. This is not the first time this has happened within the past couple of weeks. I find myself hesitating to comment on other people’s blogs. Most of the people I meet online,I like. I don’t especially want to withdraw, but I’m feeling very conflicted about my presence in certain places.

On the plus side, it’s caused me to try to be a little more sensitive to other people’s feeling when I make comments online.

Anyhow, that’s my post for today.

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4 comments
  1. Hope you felt better after writing this post 🙂

    • fojap said:

      Thanks. I actually did feel better.

  2. I think it is a wonderful post! And not just saying to cheer you up or for something to post. You can’t make up a post like this IMHO. It seems honest to me. I can’t remember how long I have been following you. But it seems long enough to feel honesty. Rereading your comment policy I see you admit you are actually rather thin skinned….besides being smart, well educated and well read. I suppose I could suggest growing a new layer of skin but won’t.

    All I can say is that I have found in blogging what I don’t have in real life. Folks here know tons more about me than those close to me.

    I do understand about making comments. I have reduced my follow list. I have made comments that have not been well received but they were just misunderstood. I sometimes get silly and make reverse or hidden meanings I suppose. I don’t argue or dispute. At least I don’t think I do. But if that is a part of who you are to question and challenge others, I would do it. There are plenty of people who do enjoy comments that say more than, “Nice Post”.

    PS: I just spent a half hour of my “READER” time writing this comment. LOL I just can’t rattle off comments fast. I work so hard to say absolutely nothing of value. 😦

    • fojap said:

      Well, a lot of people have suggested that I “toughen up”, but I’m going on fifty and it hasn’t happened yet.

      It’s funny what you say about blogging. I think I used to have it in real life. I’m tempted to blame it on moving to Baltimore, but in reality by the time I left New York most of the people I used to know were gone anyway.

      I like serious issues of the kind that sometimes makes people very aggressive, politics, religion, society, but I don’t like to argue in that manner myself. I can’t say for certain that I’ve never done it, but I try not to tell people I’m arguing with that they don’t know what they’re talking about or that they’re stupid. I’m not sure why I’m so thin skinned about some of those things. Maybe it’s because I’m something of an underachiever. It’s true that I’m smart and well read, but I don’t have any advanced degrees, I went to a pretty good college, but not Ivy League, I’m from a decidedly lower-middle-class background…. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

      What you said was very much of value to me. I’m glad you took the time.

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