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Chris

October 1997

Hmmm... I'll give this a shot myself.. was interesting reading many of the other columns (it will take a while to go through the back issues, but I always have plenty of time). Going through the last three months, a lot of what I initially scribbled down sounded like a compilation of many other descriptions, so I'll try to deviate a bit (should be a lot different now)... maybe someone has some answers they'd be willing to share. Good thing e-mail/writing allows for off-line conversations with days in between, I could never come up with anything to say on the spot...

Umm, let's see.. I'm the "typical" 5'8", 130 lb, blond hair, blue eyes, wire-framed glasses, early 20's, with the only side effect of puberty being taller, skinny, and pale, and, of course, taken for two-thirds my age (I didn't think anyone actually got carded for R-rated films...). I even get harassed by skater-punks for looking like the geek they steal lunch money from at school... pretty pathetic.

I'll devote this first article to my background (which can be summarized in a few long paragraphs) and try to work it up to my current state of mind... Apologies ahead of time for being a bit incoherent. I've always had a difficult time in self-expression, and this is the most detail I've ever put into it for anyone other than myself....

(deep breath...)

From early on, I developed a rather cynical outlook on just about everything, most likely impressed upon me by my illustrious father (who still thinks everyone in the world is a complete idiot) just before leaving when I was age 10. Along with an acute inability to relate to other people, I basically worked this all into a defensive personality, which worked a bit too well, inevitably to my detriment. While I felt well outside my peer group (being the other kids at school my age), I had no sense to be part of them at the time. This did raise some concern with my mother, who had taken me to a shrink, but after just a few sessions, it suddenly stopped for reasons unknown (probably would have been the best time to "fix" everything). Meanwhile, there were the regular "urges" which were later discovered to be typical for kids my age, but which I found it to be of great annoyance and frustration and peculiar fantasies of same-sex escapades even more so, if not downright disturbing; however, I considered them quite strange and abnormal which further added to the sense of isolation. So I spent my entire adolescence withdrawn, pissed off and starting off on a long depressive cycle. Basically a mess...

I pretty much avoided all contact with people throughout junior and high school (back-left corner desk whenever possible). I kept myself busy and out of view during this time by loading up on a lot of "advanced" courses and evening college (which I had to pay for myself). I had mastered that "Responsibility" concept rather quickly (that which everyone seemed to think was so difficult to grasp for us teenagers) without needing special guidance; of course, my definition at the time was "self reliance" ("trust no one, keep your laser handy"). Helped a little; I only got my ass kicked a couple of times for no apparent reason whatsoever (looking clueless I guess). But I at least was able to be saved from hell-on-earth by graduating early as a result of all the heavy course work and was able to keep these strange tendencies at bay. In short, I was basically the "quiet-loner" type, probably the kind that would eventually snap and walk into a McD's brandishing an automatic weapon; well, I guess I still am... (enjoy your burger)

I thought I would try to loosen up more in university life. Since moving away would put me out of my "comfort zone", I ended up going to a small, local no-name place while continuing to live at home. Unfortunately, it wasn't really a "normal" school in that many students are 25+, working, and basically out of the way for anyone to accidentally meet one another; one would have to work at it. This, naturally, wasn't very easy and I usually ended up just being very awkward at trying to start or join a conversation. So I was back in the computer labs, mostly surrounded by other computer nerds (since I didn't watch Star Trek, this too, was a solitary setting). Of the few people I did see every day, I at least found a couple friends to hang out with for lunch or a concert or whatnot, but not many common interests and nothing one could consider a "best" friend. It was a start, though...

By this time, though, I had noticed that while many of my friends (all male) spoke often of females, their characteristics and desired intentions, I felt no particular attraction to them, beyond the image of what being "normal" is supposed to be like. At first I figured, from passive observations and listening to talk shows (some study, huh?), I couldn't possibly be of any girl's desire: I wasn't tan, muscular, or beat the shit out of them. How should I know? I have a sister in our dysfunctional family, but hardly a basis for a general conclusion (she was usually running away or in some sort of trouble), nor were there any girls saw on a regular basis. The fallacy of this view didn't hold for long as I noticed other "nerdy-types" with their opposite gender counterpart. But there always seemed to be some mutual critical skill required that held them together: small talk. Bzzzt! That manual is long since lost, and something I can't seem to make up on my own (probably the same reason I don't do any creative writing). Something harder still if one doesn't have enough interest. While I sometimes do see another girl with whom I might enjoy the company (usually less of the beauty queens and more of the intelligent types), the thought of such is very discomforting, and awkward at best. Feelings that are much less prevalent with other males. And I seem to notice more of them with whom I might enjoy the company, but on a different level. So where the hell does that place me? I don't know either.... Does this imply being gay or bi? I would never have even been able to ponder this issue if I hadn't seen it discussed on usenet for Christ's sake (long before it became an enormous festering spam ball); how's that for learning about the fowls and insects? I've never had an experience on either side of the fence, so it's really unclear. But at this point, I'm no still better off than I was many years ago...

The painful solitary life of a sociophobic... I did move out of home and into my own private place shortly after graduation where I could brood some more (no gain, of course, but it keeps me occupied). Worse is heading back down into yet another depressive swing on top of everything else (which will be even more interesting after being on anti-depressants last time. I vaguely recall essentially being "stoned" for a summer in a prozac/effexor haze. Some may find it to be a trip, it was just plain weird for me, and not really pleasant...). My current insurance policy still considers mental health "alternative medicine", which I used up last time. I never had much faith in psychotherapy anyway. If you have a Frequently Affected Quandry item ("I don't get along with X" or "My dog died"), there's a recipe available. Otherwise, anything like "I can't communicate with the human species", there doesn't seem like there's anything they can do. "Here's some more medication; see you next week. That'll be $110" (I think the Comedy Central show "Dr.Katz" pretty much outlines my experiences). Granted, the chemicals did nice things (a couple of months after crashing as I had long since stopped going and abruptly ran out), but without doing anything on the basic cause, it just all comes back. I've heard of "support groups", but for me that's like jumping off a building to deal with fear of heights (argh!); I wouldn't even know where to look...

Being in your own isolation does have the advantage of self-introspection to try to "figure" everything out more thoroughly. I thought I had all the answers (10 years ago); but then the question came up "What could _possibly_ make you happy ?" and it pretty much fell apart since. I still don't have this answer, but I suspect it would have to start with some sort of personality overhaul. Not as easy as merely making a list... any INTJ's work this out ?

This basically brings the summary of my "so-called life" up to present. I noticed some others are a bit shy and dealing with coming out. But what might one do on a more fundamental level ? It seems totally inappropriate for someone in their 20's to be asking such silly questions, as opposed to someone 10 years younger (the innocence of youth; "am I normal?"). In any case, it would seem I need to address the basic issue before the other, otherwise, would it be any different?

Would appreciate any positive input or comments... clim8@rocketmail.com

Oh and in closing for my personal, I like techno ambient music, among others, cats, and my favorite color is blue.....


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