Making new friends can be nerve-wracking. You go through different stages, like the "This person seems too good to be true" waiting-for-the-other-shoe-to-drop stage. Or the "I hope I don't blow it" stage. In my experience, this one can last a long time.
The internet feels like a normalizing medium for me--I don't think it shows my undesirable parts too much, like a really forgiving pair of jeans. But in person I worry about the parts of me that my old friends have acquired a taste for but my new friends might find unpalatable. Things like:
how neurotic and anxious I am
how I'm as intense as three tightly-wound people put together
how I'm freakishly productive at times
how I see a lot, more than some people are comfortable with
And I wish I could trade all these things in, along with my crazy hair, and just be normal and nondescript. I know I couldn't be liked for any of these things then, but I couldn't be disliked for them, either.
Being new friends is sometimes about breaking the bad news to each other.
I'm sorry I'm such a freak.
You probably think I should be committed.
It's okay if you don't know what to do with me. I have an un-fan page for people like you on Facebook.
You keep glancing over to see if you've lost them yet, and you're only worried because the stakes feel higher than whether you'll get unfollowed on Twitter for being an obnoxious morning person.
One friend spent her whole first visit to my apartment breaking the bad news.
You're going to like my sister more than me when you meet her.
I disappoint everyone.
I never meet expectations.
She kept looking at me to see if this new deal we were forging was broken yet. I listened to every word, and only thought with amusement, Are you done yet?
She had a whole day's worth of this material. This confirmed my suspicion that we were meant to be friends.
I spend a lot of energy trying to seem normal. I think there's something about the social stigma and stereotype of the "crazy artist" that makes me want to keep most things under wraps. Yes, I hear voices in my head and see stories more clearly than facts. But I call this creative. Not crazy. (Though there's plenty of crazy being served up on the side to explain the confusion.)
It reminds me of the statements people wear on tshirts. Maybe some things about yourself are just easier to wear emblazoned across your chest than they are to say out loud. Things like this:
I have post-event social anxiety. This leads to compulsive/obsessive event debriefing, like a really long and pointless post-game show.
I'm totally awkward in certain social situations. Like at bars. I never know what to order in a bar. What I want is an Irish coffee or a Baileys and coffee, but with decaf. But they never have decaf at a bar. And then they're mocking me for asking.
I'm always worried that my apartment looks too messy or my kids are acting too wild or that I look too disheveled, since I'm generally too lost in thought to manage such things well. And I hate taking showers.
I worry that my neuroticism will be confused with obsessiveness. There's a difference.
I think about death every day. Without exception.
I live in constant fear of being misunderstood.
I don't know why I'm telling you all of these things. Maybe because I couldn't fit them all on a tshirt. Maybe the question we're always asking is this: Can you take me just as I am?
If not, I have a Facebook link you might be interested in...