With every day that passes the need for this post becomes more apparent, so here it is…
You call it “a bad mood” – I call it “avoiding the autonomous monotony of social interaction”
I’ll keep this black and white – I am of an extremely cheerful disposition however if I even slightly step away from that, I am questioned by every Sheila, Kenny and Tom; “are you okay?” To which I respond, “yes.” It usually continues with whoever is interrogating me at the time asking “are you sure?” If I wasn’t sure I would have said “no.”
To be very clear, I do understand that their persistence to decipher what they deem to be a sudden change in my demeanour, comes from a place of caring – for that I am appreciative. I will also be explicitly clear in stating that I perceive a lot of people to be indiscriminate investigators, in search of nothing more than something new to gossip about.
My job ensures I encounter a variety of different characters on a daily basis – in their multitudes. On a day that I wish to keep myself to myself but still navigate the societally contrived errands of this world – I frequently find myself trying to prove to every fifth person I encounter that I am okay. It’s the addition of the comment “you don’t seem yourself today” that makes me think; “when I left home today, I looked like myself and right now I feel like myself. I feel lovely and will continue to – once you cease your unwarranted interrogation.”
“…most importantly allow others the space to be themselves.”
I’m thankful that (maybe) every ninth person I encounter seems to be looking for something other than an addition to their daily gossip segment. I am usually more responsive to these people regardless of how I am feeling. That should answer the question some people may have as to why I interact more with particular people, in contrast to others; although I’ve always found it ridiculous that we like to pretend we don’t possess any bias towards one another. Furthermore, if you only interact with a person within one context, you should not expect to know each and every one of their characteristics.
Why ask if I am okay if you are not going to accept my answer; only to add that “[I] don’t seem [myself].” If my demeanour “changes,” I am actually just fine and sometimes I just have a lot on my mind and most people won’t even consider the complexities of my day-to-day, let alone comprehend it and I don’t expect them to. You should just accept that if I say “I’m okay,” I’m okay; leave it at that and know I will open up to you, to some extent, if I feel your concern is genuine.
Most times I’d just prefer to talk less because most people complain about the same things all the time and ask the same questions within their never-ending game of Chinese whispers. I wish I didn’t have to respond to comments like “you seem quiet,” “you don’t seem yourself” and “I don’t like this [side of] you” every eight minutes and forty-two seconds. I attempt to avoid being sucked into idle conversation through distance.
Unfortunately circumstances don’t always allow enough space for me to create the distance I may need at the time, from what I observe to be the autonomous monotony of social interaction. I combat this by being my own source of mental stimulation; conducting mental surveys, carrying out covert conversational experiments or simply making jokes and keeping conversation so shallow depth doesn’t even detect it.
“…way over oxymoron, the personification of a paradox and the epitome of an enigma.”
On the days I decide I shouldn’t have to do this, I say nothing more than what needs to be said; perfectly happy in my forced solitude. This comes as a shock to people who are used to the vibrant side of me shining through but it’s not a reflection of my mood; on any given day my silence means “just for today, I don’t want to force conversation that isn’t absolutely necessary. Please just say what needs to be said and honestly have a nice day.”
This could be because I am preoccupied with a problem or the details of an intricate idea I am working on. In my opinion, it seems most people find silence disconcerting (that’s okay) but I don’t. Not all but alot of the people I have to interact with don’t realise that they are not really talking to me about anything until they witness me talking to somebody else about something but that’s for another post.
Please refer to Misanthrope On A Mission to understand that I am not judging people for what they choose to talk about; I am tired of feeling obligated to participate in conversation that doesn’t actually interest me. I come alive when I am around someone who is able to take interaction past small talk and if I’m not engaged my face will likely say so, whether I intend it to or not.
You could say I’m a quintessential example of the introvert who is also an extrovert, often guilty of being an exhibitionist in the hope of making someone smile. I am way over oxymoron, the personification of a paradox and the epitome of an enigma because in between trying to make almost everyone and anyone smile, I fundamentally reside in the spirit of misanthropy.
I think interaction should be one of two things; functional and therefore producing some kind of (in)tangible result or sincere and therefore adequately fulfilling a specific emotional need. Sincere interaction won’t always be the smoothest course of action either but it allows you to act based on truth.
Gossip less, question creatively and most importantly project less and allow others the space to be themselves.