And yet I’m not. My new blabbing attitude, for instance, should fit right into social media. But it doesn’t. Facebook, for example, seems to be divided into two opposing camps, neither of which I can relate to. There are the angry insulters and there are those who will only smile. (Yes, I know I’m overly generalizing). The angry ones seem to want to hurt as many people as they can, and the others don’t want to hurt anyone. I’m with the others. I don’t want to hurt anyone either. And yet I can’t stop talking and it’s become obvious that when I do, no matter what I say, if the readership is potentially large enough I will hurt someone in some way.
So, I see why sensitive people don’t say anything, even when they don’t have the fear I’ve had all my life: They’ve spent all that time learning what not to say. Which is anything, if the crowd they’re talking to is big enough. Well, I’m a fairly quick learner. I’ve been learning that attitude myself lately. The trouble is, it’s destroying all my newfound freedom.
Now I see that the larger the crowd is that I talk with, the less freedom I have. In any large group, there will be people who will take offence at something. A small group would be ideal, say four or five sitting around a table in a café somewhere, but for that I would have to find friends who are just like me in their ideas, or who are all happy to talk endlessly about only one thing, which would bore me. So then it would seem that the most freedom would come in a conversation with only one person. That might be a person who is just like me in beliefs, but more likely someone who is willing to accept me for the somewhat strange person I am, and I them, in the intense give and take that is a true two-way street.
Which brings me to my conclusion from this year of experimenting. Since I do not want to stifle myself again, after having done it all my life, and since virtually any relatively free opening-up is likely to annoy someone, the only real alternative is to try to thicken my skin as quickly as possible, to deeply realize that it doesn’t matter how people see me. Well, that sounds easier than it is, especially for a formerly shy person. Because the basis of my shyness, as with anyone’s, is a lack of confidence. And it’s impossible to gain confidence overnight. Especially when I make social blunders far more often than I ever did before (from too much talk but not enough social experience to do it properly). Those blunders reinforce the lack of confidence, instead of helping rid me of it.
It’s a process. And I’m working through it.
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