…of a book by its cover.
In my last post, I talked a little about some of the things that contribute to my introverted nature. Today, I want to tie it in a little more to how that affects my ability to navigate social media. Before we get into that, you should know a couple other things about me.
One, my hyper-sensitivity isn’t limited to the emotional, it’s also physical. I’ve had weird, nonsensical physical issues forever, but only recently figured out that they’re all connected. My nerves are on the fritz constantly, in a disorder I don’t yet fully understand. For instance, there are days where a light touch can be uncomfortable or painful, and others where I don’t feel things that should hurt. Sometimes I can smell the oranges on the kitchen counter (while sitting in another room on a different floor of our apartment) so strongly that it makes me want to throw up, and other times when I can’t smell or taste anything at all.
Sounds, light, smells, touch, and taste all vary in intensity and can change on a dime. It’s tied in with migraines, of which I might have 2-15 per month, and regular headaches, which I have almost every day. Even when I’m not having migraines, I have the other symptoms I mentioned, along with Raynaud’s. My fingers and toes, and even my nose get so cold that they go numb. That’s bad, mmkay…
I don’t tell you these things for sympathy, only context. I actually dread the inevitable moment where I have to explain these things to people (when I’ve missed family gatherings or cancelled plans with someone multiple times, I eventually have to explain) because it’s always followed up by that pitying look in their eyes and an “Awww, you poor thing!” type of comment. On the one hand, I’m glad for their understanding and that they know I wasn’t being malicious, but on the other, I hate being pitied.
The bottom line is, I’m weird and I embrace it. Not only do I have physical and emotional heightened awareness and sensitivity, but I also think backwards and inside out compared to other people. Even in playing video games, if there are multiple ways to do something, I undoubtedly end up doing it the opposite of everyone else. This has some benefits, but also means I don’t experience things the way most people do.
When I was a kid, people misunderstood me often (they still do). I said odd things, or they took my meaning the wrong way. I sometimes reiterate what someone has said back to them in a different way, in order to understand their point, and they think I’m trying to be combative or contradictory. As a kid, all I could see is that they reacted negatively to me without me understanding why, causing me to close myself off from other people. Instead, I developed an inner world with depth and strangeness akin to M.C. Escher’s Relativity (Crazy Stairs).
Because of all these things, I have a deep fear of being misunderstood and either not realizing it, or not being able to explain myself. So, having to put myself out there on social media is terrifying to me. At some point, I’m going to say something that will be taken the wrong way and turned into something I never meant it to be. This time, it won’t just be one person or even a few, it will be the world.
If it’s exhausting just trying to help the people closest to me understand, what will it be like when it’s everyone?
Why is it necessary, as an author, for you to put yourself out there in the first place? Shouldn’t my book be the thing being judged? If you know my age, sex, race, political opinions, spiritual preferences, etc., it will likely cause many people to view my written words through colored spectacles.
Don’t get me wrong. I respect the creative personalities who educate themselves on history or current events and give their opinion, bringing things they deem important into the light with their popularity. However, I don’t want to be one of them. I want my words to speak to anyone who will enjoy them for what they are: entertainment. I want to fade into nothingness while my stories bring adventure and fantasy to people of all backgrounds and opinions.
So, while I have to put myself out there in order for my stories to become relevant, I intend to avoid revealing superficial truths about myself. I hope to bring attention only to those things in myself that will be understood by our common human bond.
A book, like a human, cannot be judged by it’s cover. And Literature, more than perhaps most other forms of art, is able to transcend the physical and relate to all people.