[personal profile] llbbooks
(Originally posted at Facebook on July 12th, 2009.)

It's about time for another one of our Fireside Chats. Pull up a chair. This is going to be long and rambly, but I'm not going to feel better until I've posted this.

I'm an introvert now. I wasn't always, I spent 18 years not being. And I still pretend to be that for most people because that's what I was when we originally knew each other. It makes me nervous to talk to people that knew me then because I have to try to remember to be that person for them. I still don't know who the new person is. (Tonight I've been going through pictures, we were all so impossibly young. I anticipated the feeling of free-fall, of time starting to pass quicker the further I got but it still caught me flat footed and unprepared and even though I'm fully aware of how absurd of a statement this is for someone my age I do not take it back.)

I can make it look natural. For customers, for audience members, for people who only knew me in passing, I can make it look like nothing ever happened, that I'm still the same person with the highwaters and the long hair, hollering down a crowded hallway just to say hey to someone who said hey to me first.

But it isn't true. Making it look natural is one thing, having it be natural is quite another. It isn't, and it hasn't been for a long time. I live in my head these days, not my body.

Lately it seems that the universe has been working overtime to throw every single thing I don't have in my face, hardcore. And I've been thinking a hell of a lot lately about the slippery passage of time and conventional notions of propriety. What it means to be in a young woman in this society. Where friendships and relationships intersect, whether they should, and the implications. And I've been sitting and watching people and feeling more isolated and lonely and cold than I ever have in my life.

There's a fundamental disconnect there, I think, a chasm I seem to be unable to bridge, and these days I seem to torn between wanting to jump in the middle, and wondering why I ever fucking bothered.

I don't understand this society. If I live to be a million years old I will never understand this society, or the culture(s) we all share. I have no idea how to be a 22 year old female. I don't know what that is. I don't know what that means. And I don't know where the hell I was when they taught that, but apparently I'm not getting all my memos. So I people-watch, and I absorb everything I can, because there's some stuff you can't be told, you have to find out for yourself.

I did finally separate one point of differentiation out, something I think might be a sticking point in my interactions with people (especially that of my age,) though, and now is as good a time as any to clarify something.

If I know you, it's in my nature to want to ask a lot of questions and talk things to death. This is for two reasons: firstly and mostly because I want to better understand you as a person, but also because it helps me better understand the culture we live in. I learn things from you people, more than you probably realize. I don't explicitly ask because most of the time I don't know when it is appropriate to, and when it would be intrusive.

I think a lot of times people take my not explicitly asking as indifference, and I want to clarify right here and now: it isn't because I don't care that I don't ask. Instead, it's an attempt to be courteous and deferential to your boundaries.

I want to know whatever you want to tell me about yourself, but I'm usually not going to risk offending you to ask.

I'm better about this stuff than I was, and I'm getting better, bit by bit. But if I seem a little stilted or a hell of a lot awkward, that's why. I'm trying as best I can.

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llbbooks

September 2012

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