Micah August 2nd

My Dirty Little Secret

I have a dirty little secret. Probably one you wouldnt believe just by meeting me. I would hazard to guess that my best friends, and even my family dont know about it.

Its something I never saw aloud.

Today, I saw the movie 500 Days of Summer. (thats not the secret). I liked it a lot, even though it was a bit one-track and pretty over-your-head with the messaging. (still not the secret). It was a great exploration of the difference between expectations and assumptions. (going to make you wait).

It certainly got me thinking about all kinds of things. From work, to passions, and of course to relationships.

Which made me think it was time to reveal my dirty little secret.

I hate people.

Ok, so maybe thats not such a revelation. The truth is I love most people. I thrive on one-to-one interactions. I can even enjoy a small gathering. But, large groups, parties, events and anything where there is a large number of people all acting in expected ways, where it is assumed that I will quickly, easily and happily join in the fun are pure hell for me.

I know this is a surprise for some folks. After all, Ive never been nervous speaking in front of large numbers of people (from hundreds to thousands). I put my all into my speaking appearances, and frankly, really enjoy doing them. I have been in positions my entire career where my entire job is centered on being involved with people and attending large events frequently and constantly.

But, I hate it.

Here is how attendance at some event usually goes (Lets take the Twiistup party, since it was relatively recent).

Step 1: I have long hated how I look, so I tend to lean on the “I dont care” look. If I am going to be unhappy for the next several hours, I might as well be comfortable. Usually consists of changing my tshirt.

Step 2: I text, email, DM, call my friends that I know will be there, so I dont show up alone. I always assume that its easy to tell that I am a square peg in a room full of star-shaped, round, octagon and various other non-square shaped holes if I arrive with a few star-shaped, round, octagon and various other non-square shaped pegs. Usually this takes a bit of time, so I surf porn while waiting. (Well, not really, I am too afraid of the embarrassment of picking up a call and forgetting to hit mute on the laptop. So, usually, I just read blogs.)

Step 3: I get to the event. I walk around for awhile, after all its hard to hit a moving target. Most people dont notice the moving people, its usually the ones standing around that get mentioned. I avoid all photography like it will suck my soul out of my chest on the spot. Finally, I find a spot where a few friends have gathered, and proceed to squeeze into the group, nodding and responding to other’s conversation. (Another thing people dont know about me is that I have a hearing deficiency in my left ear. Basically, in loud situations–like parties–I cant understand a word that is said. So, I tend to nod. A lot.)

Step 4: As people get more and more drunk, and seemingly have a better and better time, I get more and more depressed, hoping that the time when I can make a graceful exit appears. (Usually between 1am – 3am. That way I am out long enough that people remember I was out, but not long enough for anyone to remember that I was a mess in the corner.)

Step 5: I leave. I go back to my room cursing myself for not being able to “just have a good time.” I usually turn on a movie, and fall asleep to whatever is playing. (Since I assume that everyone realizes how uncomfortable I am, I have no meaningful conversations, which means I always go back to my room alone. And by alone, I dont mean just that night, I mean without any real meaningful personal interactions having been begun.)

Often people would say that they have a tendency to push people away, and that is why most of their relationships havent gone well, or that they have had a dirth of positive relationships. I have a tendency to withdraw myself. If things are out of my control, I remove my self from the situation, feeling that its easier to bail out than be found out.

There are other things I do that I think make this harder on me than it needs to be. I assume I am not invited rather than just going. I tend to turn down invitations because I dont want to disappoint. I do the same thing in relationships. I dont accept the truth of actions and words. My first instinct is that I am being used, and that the woman doesnt like me, just likes what I can provide in connections or things. BUT…thats a blog post for another day…

Frankly, in large events, I spend too much time in my own head and withdrawn shell in a defensive maneuver to be part of it all, but not really stand out.

Standing out was my old tactic. I drank, partied, spent money, was loud, and generally brought the spot light on myself, because it was easier to hide my uneasiness behind noise. Now that I dont drink, party or spend much money, being loud and becoming a focus on the party is just way too hard and totally unfulfilling.

So there you go. My dirty little secret. If you want to spend quality time with me, please dont invite me to a party, invite me to dinner (even if its with a small number of people). And, more importantly, if you see me being quiet or mopey, its not because I am depressed or because of you.

Its because I hate people.