A Secret About Dealing With People

I’m a writer by nature. I like words.

I’m not good with people.

People require talking, and the second I open my mouth, I almost invariably embarrass myself. Usually by stumbling over my words, or mispronouncing something, or commenting on a line of thought that makes sense to me, but I haven’t verbally volunteered to everyone else, thus making it appear random and unrelated to the topic.

I think faster than I can speak, which is why I like to write. Typing comes faster than speaking, and even if I don’t get everything down coherently to start with, there’s always the backspace button.

But even when I slow myself down enough to get the words out of my mouth before moving on to my next thought, my thoughts are still racing on, long after we’ve finished a topic and moved on. I find myself constantly wondering, analyzing my interactions with other people. Maybe it’s a symptom of my tendency to be a bit of a wallflower, maybe it’s just the writer in me, people watching, but I constantly find myself more or less attempting to read people’s minds. No, I don’t mean to say that I think I’m telepathic. I just spend a lot of time replaying my interactions with people, thinking about their tone of voice, word choice, and body language. Doing so has made me realize one thing about everyone I’ve ever interacted with:

Everyone hates me.

Nah, just kidding. But you would be surprised how much of unguarded human interaction can actually come across as hostile, angry, sad, upset, distant, or uninterested. And I’m sure you can see my point here–over analyzing anything is never good. We are our own worst critics, so when we remember things–unless we’re Gilderoy Lockhart–we tend to remember them with a negative spin. Add that bias to the natural relaxed tendency for people to come off as uncaring in some manner (simply because they aren’t making an expected show of positivity, affection, what not) and of course you’re going to convince yourself that the world is out to get you.

I am very guilty of having done this many, many times. After having been teased throughout childhood for being “too smiley” and then “too quirky” and then “too loud” and then “too quirky” for the second time, I developed a tendency to concern myself with whether or not I was annoying people. And then I would convince myself that I was annoying everyone, simply because a joke I made fell flat, or someone didn’t respond the way I was expecting about something I said, or I didn’t hear about something that happened when everyone else did, or I didn’t get invited to do things with certain people.

And then one day, out of the blue, someone I was totally convinced thought I was annoying invited me out with a bunch of their friends that I had never met. There was no obligation to invite me, it was a completely separate event from anything that would necessitate involving the both of us, but I was invited anyways. So I went, and it was a blast! And that got me thinking, “Why am I so hard on myself? Why did I constantly push myself away from other people?”  And the only answer I could come up with is that I was so afraid of others judging me, I was judging myself for them.

And suddenly all of the little, tiny toxic things we do–I do–to sabotage ourselves came flooding into my mind; all the put downs, and the body shaming, and the constant struggle to be absolutely perfect. And I knew it wasn’t worth it, because all of it had only brought negativity into my life, and here I was, having so much fun, feeling so positive for once, simply because someone I had assumed disliked me, actually liked me enough to want to spend their time with me.

I realized that day that trying to be telepathic (in a figurative sense) wasn’t healthy. And frankly, I wasn’t very good at it. So I decided that from that point forward, I was going to assume that everyone I meet and interact with likes me, until they let me know otherwise. And honestly? It’s actually helped me become more confident in my interactions with people. Because when you go into an interaction assuming you’ve already won the other person’s appreciation, instead of having to earn it, you start to feel a genuine kinship with that person. You want to do nice things for that person, because you realize that, more often than not, you appreciate that person without them needing to prove their worth, too.

So start believing that people like you. Because if they don’t they’ll let you know. And if they let you know, screw them. Nobody likes them, anyways.

Now let’s all go get ice cream.


Taking A Moment

So last Thursday was my last day (for now!) as a PA at Instant Mom. In the midst of coming to terms with that and looking ahead at an open schedule, I totally forgot to post a blog. It was the first Friday that I didn’t publish a post all year. Oops. There goes my perfect record. I imagine this is how kids who have perfect attendance feel when they come down with the flu.

Okay, on to actually making a point.

I use this blog a lot to talk about change and dealing with that, especially at a volatile stage in life, like post-graduation. The funny thing is, every time I think I’ve come to terms with change, I am actually faced with that change and learn something new about the difficulties in letting go, and the dangers of nostalgia. Yes, I said dangers of nostalgia, and if you don’t believe me that nostalgia can be dangerous, just look at the slate of blockbuster films lined up for the next five years. Nostalgia, folks: killing creativity one multi-million dollar franchise at a time. (Mr. Columbus, if you’re reading this, I would happily renounce everything I’ve ever said to be a part of the Goonies sequel.)

Overall, I think it’s good to be happy, even when you know change is coming, and coming shortly–I mean, that’s the point, right? Why even bother if you’re not happy with the way things are (change them!). But my newest worry is that such a nomadic lifestyle career will make longer term commitments more difficult. I don’t know why, I just find things to worry about. It’s who I am. But it’s a valid point, if you’re used to constant change, how do you learn to trust something more stagnant or stationary? How do you continue to find excitement, year after year? Will this affect my relationships and friendships?

It’s a weird idea to cross my mind, because my career trajectory at this point (even if I never work another PA gig) is not going to find me in the bowels of an office building, typing away at a computer screen all day (the hope is to do that from home, eventually!). But it’s a valid question I have to ask myself, because how do I go from here, in LA, to something smaller, quieter, and more quaint, should the need ever arise?

Well, the truth is, I don’t know. But honestly? I know I’ll be fine because this past year has taught me to have confidence in my ability to find happiness. And I know that whatever comes next, no matter how far from what I’ve imagined, I’ll make the most of it, and it will be great, because this last year has taken me far, far out of the realm of who I thought I was, and really made me exam my fears, my goals, and what I really want out of life. Do I have answers for any of those things? Good lord, no. Do I have a sense of who I am in relation to those things? I’d like to think so. I guess we’ll both just have to wait and see.

Until next week (I won’t forget again I promise).


The Journey Ahead

I’ve been sitting at my desk all day trying to figure out what it was that I needed to do. I had this horrible feeling that I’ve been forgetting something all week, and it finally dawned on me that in the midst of trying to stay on top of everything else, I’d totally spaced on writing this. Thank God I remembered at the last possible second.

It’s been a totally crazy two weeks. Along with wrapping up our last episode of season 3 production, we had our wrap party, I wrote three articles in one week for one of my other jobs, and I’m prepping for a labor day weekend road trip up to San Francisco with the roommates. Not to mention maintaining my other jobs (I have four total–one I do in person and three I work on remotely)  and trying to plan a short trip home for a mini vacation to see my wonderful nephews. Needless to say I’ve been busy.

But despite all of that, I had to stop and take a moment to really take in all that’s happened in the last year. Well, really, all that’s happened in the last 7 months. I’ve learned so much, transformed so much, and met so many great people that I am truly astounded. I look around at all that I’ve gotten to experience, and it’s hard now to think back to a year ago when I wasn’t sure if any of this was possible. It’s even harder to think back to a year ago and really believe that I had the courage to move in with complete strangers, in a city that I didn’t know, with no job prospects, working full time as an unpaid intern, half a nation away from my family. To this day, I’m not sure if it was pure insanity. But you know, through all of the struggles (believe me, this year has been tough) I’d do it all over again, because where it’s taken me, and what it’s shown me I’m capable of is beyond invaluable.

I don’t talk about this often, but when I was in middle school, I suffered from severe anxiety. At one point, it was so bad, I couldn’t make it through a day without bursting into tears and calling my dad, just to make sure he was still there. That was one of the toughest times of my life, and it took a long, long time for me to fully recover from that. It was so bad, I even worried that I wouldn’t be able to move away for college. In fact, a lot of people teasingly joked that I would never move that far away from home. (Granted, they had no idea what I’d been through, and how real of a fear that was for me). They simply saw how close I was to my parents, and how much family means to me, and assumed that I would never want to be more  than a few minutes’ drive from seeing my loved ones. And I’ll admit, being away from my family is absolutely the hardest part about living alone in this giant city.

But I am so grateful for my time out here. I’ve grown stronger, and I feel that my bond with my family is deeper because of my time away. I never want to take anything for granted, least of all them. I was blessed with an amazing job experience working with amazing coworkers on a great show–literally a dream come true. I could never have imagined everything I’ve been blessed with in the last year. I don’t know what I did to deserve everything that’s happened, but I am so happy that it has happened.

I don’t know what’s next. Now that the show that I’ve currently been working on is wrapping, I don’t know what the future holds. Perhaps this was the only show I was destined to work on. Perhaps I’ll have a job next week. I don’t know. But one thing I’m sure of, I can handle whatever comes next. And I’m excited to see what’s in store for my life, because I know, no matter what, I’ll make the most of it. And it’ll be fantastic.