A month ago I shared the revelation I had concerning two opposing versions of myself. This was a significant discovery, and the hope was that by identifying this paradigm, the corresponding dissonance would fade, no longer wielding the power of being unknown, and that the small j version of myself would be evicted by the end of the month.
This has not been the case.
On the contrary, small j has thrashed about frantically this past week, as if sensing his pending departure but determined to trash the place on his way out. And this hyperactivity on his/my part has created a job opening of sorts for any interested parties; I could really use a spokesperson to manage my interpersonal communication, because I barely do an adequate job of it and, in one case specifically, this inadequacy is proving very troublesome.
When I first recognized this communicational crash-and-burn pattern, I cut back on chatting and text messaging because both methods seem to cater to the poorly filtered, hastily rendered thoughts of small j. It’s not so much the joke that falls flat that bothers me. It’s not even the misunderstanding that arises from intonation being lost in text form. No, it’s the headspace these channels seem to activate. Something about the process of channeling thoughts from my battered brain, through my fingers, and onto the screen overwhelms me. These backstage obstacles are manifested, then, in a compulsive fretting over my choice of words, potential grammatical errors, even my punctuation. Did I use too much slang? Did I come across the right way? Did I use too many of these :) ? This cognitive overload and hyperactive insecurity, in addition to leaving me relationally handicapped, send me hurtling past social proprieties in such fashion that, in the worst case, every message I emit, whether verbal or textual, simply incriminates me further and further.
If I’m feeling particularly confident, however, I’ll indulge in some Facebook repartee but, even then, very little of what I write is truly spontaneous. When I feel compelled to leave a comment regarding a friend’s photo or status, it takes a few tries until I feel confident enough to post it for public viewing. What seems like an innocuous, witty comment has been double checked for spelling, grammar, appropriate relevance to the relationship, actual funniness, inadvertent connotations, clarity, and coherence. Then I look at what motivates my participation in that particular cyber-conversation, and if I find the driving force behind it to be a damaging, habitual one, I’ll delete the post anyway. And even then I’ll miss things that may or may not prove relationally disastrous.
The troubles I have online carry over into real-life communication as well. I’ve come to the point now where I err on the silent side – as my dad used to tell me, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say it.” However, community doesn’t happen by keeping your mouth shut – interaction is required. As you can imagine, this is all quite exhausting, for even saying nothing is saying something. So, like everything else, I go about doing the best I can with the brain I’ve been dealt. With that, I will be accepting applications for the position of personal spokesperson until the position is filled. Please include references and expected compensation.