Monday, December 16, 2013

Real Talk

As you may have noticed, I post lots of stuff on my blog that – while generally maintaining a modicum of entertainment value – is mostly a bunch of mindless drivel. Every now and then, I have to force myself to "get real" and write about things that actually matter. In particular, to write about myself (not saying that I actually matter) and what's going on in my life. This is one of those posts. Hang on!

To say that I have it all together would be a vast overstatement. I would say that I'm a slightly-better-than-decent father to Josiah (who's growing so fast I can hardly believe it – he'll be one year old next month!) and a marginally-better-than-adequate husband to Mary (whose jobs as a teacher and a mother are so all-consuming that she stays tired all the time, not to mention overwhelmed). And yet, in "accomplishing" these things, I'd have to admit that I'm a barely-scraping-by employee and a falling-far-short-of-the-mark Christian. I'm a terrible friend (more on that later) and a too-distant son/cousin/nephew/take-your-pick-of-relative. I'm okay in that I'm surviving, but not okay in the toll that it all takes.

I feel guilty for the wrong things I have done and I feel guilty for the right things I have not done. I beat myself up about everything and wonder why the bruises never go away.

Let's take a step back here. I am being dramatic. But at the same time I'm sugarcoating things. The lines blur together all too frequently.

There are times where I genuinely feel like a crazy person. I get angry for no reason, screaming at nothing and no one and everything and everyone. And just as quickly I retreat to my facade of calmness, like nothing ever happened.

I don't like talking about myself – it's embarrassing. But I'm doing it, and I'll probably regret it later.

I've been thinking about a lot of things lately, and one of them is friends. I looked back at my high school yearbook a week or so ago. I've always maintained that I had just two friends throughout high school, and that one of them betrayed and abandoned me, while the other one stuck by me and has remained a good friend even to this day. 

Well, upon reflection, I realize I actually had closer to seven people I could truly call my friends back then, and that, with only a couple of exceptions, I am still at least electronically connected to all of them now, even if we don't see or speak to each other personally.

Why does that matter? It probably doesn't, except that it got me thinking about the people I consider my friends. Which ones are actually my friends, and which are mere acquaintances? The unwelcome answer is that most are only acquaintances.

And why is that? Put simply, it's my fault. I'm selfish, withdrawn, introverted, and – I'll say it again – selfish. I don't now and have rarely ever put forth any significant effort into maintaining person-to-person relationships, namely friendships. It's not that I don't want to have friends to spend time with – I desperately do. But, like many other things in my life, I don't work at it hard enough, and friends and friendships fall by the wayside.

I'm a flake. You can't count on me, so why would you bother? And, knowing this about myself, I suppose I just try to live up to my low expectations, never getting too close to anyone, knowing full well that I'll disappoint them in the end anyway.

This emotional aloofness got me wondering recently whether or not I'm seriously messed up. I took a personality test I found online – the reliability of which I am well aware could be suspect – to see how crazy I might be. The results showed that I was well above-average in the Paranoid, Schizoid, Borderline, Histrionic, Avoidant, and Dependent categories; slightly above-average in the Schizotypal, Antisocial, and Obsessive-Compulsive categories; and well below-average in the Narcissistic category. 

I won't even pretend to know what all that means, or even give serious credence to the results. But the fact that I'm even somewhat concerned about all this has to mean something, right?

Okay, time to put a cap on what has truly been a depressing, self-revelatory post. But before I go, here's fair warning to any of you who may know me personally:  If I'm not doing so already, I'm probably going to disappoint you somehow. I don't know what your expectations of me may be, but I will probably not meet up to them, now or ever. If you consider me a friend, don't lose hope on me, but don't hold your breath either. I am somewhat unreliable; I may forget to call you for months at a time. If I put my mind to it, I can accomplish any task, great or small. But my mind is very scattered lately, and it may take some work to reassemble it properly. I'm a wreck, and not a beautiful wreck. But my chin is up. It's going to get better. Someday.

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