Happy 2016 ya’ll!
I am 100% Californian, a Californian that says stupid words such as “dude” and “hella” every other sentence. And now, due to living in the Midwest, the word “ya’ll” has somehow snuck into my vocabulary and I am starting to say it more than I’d like to. Sometimes, I even say “hella” and “ya’ll” in the same sentence.
Forgive me language gods, for I have hella sinned, ya’ll.
I have wanted to write this post for a while since I had this little event occur, but sometimes it’s terribly difficult to find words to explain what is going on in my mind. Sure, it all makes sense in my head, but writing something out and making it coherent enough for another to read are two different situations. So here’s to hoping this makes sense, and isn’t just good ol’ fashioned Ellie babble. Babbling. That’s a good place to start, because this entire post is about babbling. Sort of.
I am an ambivert with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and a speech impediment, which is the bullshit cherry on top of it all. These characteristics of mine, along with the fact that I’m just plain odd, make navigating social situations tricky. To clear things up, an ambivert is someone whose personality is half introverted and half extroverted. Rather than being more one than another, we have many qualities of both, and are therefore split down the middle. However, it is important to understand that we do not always act like we are perfectly balanced. Many factors contribute to how we feel.This means that some days I may be 80% extroverted and am a social butterfly,some days I am 95% introverted and desire my solitude, and throughout most days I am bouncing back and forth between both ends of the spectrum. It doesn’t mean that I am manic, either. The changes in what I want are mostly unnoticed to all but myself. I’m just a little different…unless you were to put me in a room full of ambiverts. Then I wouldn’t be different at all I suppose. But I’m getting away from myself. Get back here, Ellie. Write the damn post already.
As for GAD, it doesn’t need much explaining, because it is exactly what it sounds like. I am anxious nearly all the time. Simple tasks like going to fill my car with gas or going to the grocery store can sometimes seem as frightening as being faced with one of those absurdly large spiders from Harry Potter. And interviews? You can fucking forget interviews. Those are nothing but massive buckets of nope to me conducted by nopes in nope suits.
Now that all of that explaining is out of the way, let the story continue. A few months ago I went to a bar for a Star Wars art show, mainly because my dear friend, who is a truly talented artist, was showcasing there. He invited his friends and we all gathered around his booth to support how fantastically rad we all think he is. His booth looked like this:
And my friends look like this:
Many of those friends are nice, but I am not at as familiar with them as I’d like to be, mostly due to the fact that they’ve all known each other for years, whereas I haven’t even lived in the same state as them for a year. Especially the guy to the far left. He just kept staring at me all night…creeper.
In these kinds of situations I can most accurately be described as an excited puppy. My thoughts mostly consist of, “there are nice people around. I want to talk to them. But I’m so scared. But I love them! BUT I AM SO SCARED. HELP.” I try to fight my puppy feelings as best as I can, and talk to people, but even when I get past that part of the anxiety, the next level during a conversation goes a little something like, “can they understand me with my speech impediment? Am I speaking too fast because I am so nervous? Do I look okay? Is there a booger in my nose? Am I talking about something they even care about? Am I talking in circles and repeating myself like I usually do? OH GOD. HELP.”
Basically, a constant war between the desire to be social and fun and the constant berating my anxiety dishes out is never ending in my mind. With the people I do know well it’s fairly stressful, but with new people I generally feel as if I am completely failing at being a human being. It’s rough, you guys. It’s really rough.
For the short time we were at the bar, I spent the majority of the time talking to one person in particular, and we seemed to get along just fine, but of course, all of those thoughts were running around in my head like sugar high toddlers that refuse to go to bed. Aside from the already ridiculous clusterfuck that is my personality, I was in more physical pain than normal as well. After only two hours, my boyfriend and I hugged our friends goodbye and made our way out of the bar that was looking more and more like the cantina on Tatooine with all the costumed guests. I hugged my friend who I had been talking to, and politely said something along the lines of “it was a pleasure talking to you.” He replied back saying that he had fun talking to me, and that it worked well because since he is shy and I talk so much, it balanced out. He also called me a good conversationalist, and my heart proceeded to pop out of sheer joy.
Everyone likes getting compliments, whether it’s on their clothes, their looks, or virtually anything else, really. When people say nice statements to other people, it makes everyone feel really damn shiny. That’s not rocket science. For me personally, while I always appreciate compliments on how I look since again, I am an insecure puppy, the compliments that light me up the most are ones that compliment my personality.
My new found friend simply gave me one kind compliment. However, he doesn’t know that my entire life, I have been told by many people I love that I need to shut up because I talk too much. He doesn’t know that I am hyperaware of my speech impediment and extremely insecure about it because I have been made fun of and rejected for the way I speak over and over again. He doesn’t know that out of all the things I absolutely hate about myself, the one quality about myself that I do like is my power of empathy which cuts through my anxiety, and leads me with a guiding light into fantastic conversations with wonderful people such as himself. Amazing what a simple compliment can do to a person, right?
I constantly hear and read about people who have anxiety disorders, physical or mental disabilities, speech impediments, and other issues that lead them to become terrified of having conversations with others. I myself, have been one of those people for 25 years, and I still am. I will always be to some extent. But I urge people like me to not let those challenges stop you from conversing with others. A wonderful conversation, at least to me, is like a delicious meal injected directly into my mind and soul. Everyone deserves to feel that goodness.
In the end, it isn’t even what you talk about that matters the most; for at least ten minutes my conversation with my friend at the Star Wars show was about a video game I adore called Psychonauts. What truly great conversation comes down to is people enjoying what they are speaking about,that they are sincerely listening to one another, and are connecting on a level; any level, really. Whether it is on a level of deep, emotional value such as relationships, or level 3 of Psychonauts and why I can’t get past those fucking trapeze bars without getting motion sickness.
Usually my posts are neatly tied at the endings into some sort of lesson. I don’t actually have a neat little ending for this one, mostly because I am writing out of sheer excitement and joy about how much I adore conversations. Despite the fear, the anxiety, and all my pain and imperfections, the days that I meet people that look past all that and truly hear me are the best days of my life. And I hope that no matter what happens in my life, I will have an endless supply of these days that make me feel as if my heart and mind are aflutter with fireflies.
And if the person I wrote this about reads this (since I am considering posting this to Facebook), I truly hope you don’t find me creepy. But I do hope you take a small bit of delight in the fact that you made one of my days wonderful by only a few sentences. I hope that makes you feel awesome).
If you like amazing, incredible art made by an absolute badass, check out my friend David’s Etsy and Facebook. He has gorgeous prints, amazing jewelry, buttons, and more!
Even Da Vinci couldn’t paint you,
Stephen Hawking can’t explain you.
Rosetta Stone could not translate you,
I’m at a loss for words, I’m at a loss for words.
I couldn’t put it in a novel,
I wrote a page, but it was awful.
Now I just want to sing your gospel,
I’m at a loss for words, I’m at a loss for words.