At the beginning of this year or even three months ago I couldn’t have imagined that I’d be writing this. Yet here we are.
Two weeks ago, I met somebody on a dating app (what else is new?). I would write about the guy, but let’s focus on me as we always do so nobody is scared off by this article.
He called himself a conversationalist and over a first-call asked me a bunch of questions.
I knew the questions. I knew he was trying to figure me out before he told me that, because a 25-year old me had tried it and then stopped. It’s a fairly straightforward exercise where you ask somebody a simple question, and listen.
Except really, while it is story-telling, it’s still a conversation between two people. You are on the other side ensuring they like talking through it while respecting boundaries, but most importantly retaining genuine interest in what they have to say.
Narcissists usually indulge since your interest is construed as recognition of their brilliance. But unless their jobs depended on it, the worst has to be a person who asks you that stuff only to get in your good faith, or to fit you into a familiar box. They neither want nor deserve your story, they’d probably be happy with the lukewarm one-liner you reserve for a coffee-shop greeting. Which is why bless the introverts who don’t play that game.
Well, unless our jobs depended on it.
So I love listening, but it’s my turn to speak. And then I realized my mind was a mess.
Before I could finish one half-formed thought I was reaching for another. This was new to me because behavioral interviews have been my thing, because I’d spend too much time in my head, and I usually have some idea as to what lies in there or atleast always trusted myself to follow a train of thought to arrive somewhere intelligible.
Without it, I’ve been
trying struggling to define what I might be.*
So I say, I’d usually enjoy this, but this is just a bad time. And I briefly mention anxiety.
Sometimes I drive so I don’t have to listen to my thoughts. And that seems like a bad reason to do anything, especially if pushing down on the accelerator makes you feel better about drowning out the mess.
I think the irony is that mental health was my priority for half a decade, staying attentive to when I need to sleep in or go out or meet people or be compulsively active. I hear people say it can be horrible to spend time inside your head. You know what? That was today, it will be better tomorrow, and the day after I would be gushing about how wonderful my life is, just like Sunday and the whole week before that.
The mind is a scary place, you’d think you know exactly what’s going on and have no idea what’s been brewing up in there or for how long.
PS: I’ll be fucked if this is some transitory phase from being an introvert to extroversion. Please tell me it isn’t.
PPS: I know we’re all adults here but to be safe, this isn’t about talking but about talking talking.
* that was a train of thought. Phew. I’m proud.