I’ve always believed that people are fundamentally separate.  I envision us as tiny pilots in our own skulls, desperately slamming buttons and pulling levers to make our bodies walk and talk and touch.  I try to tell people about the fact that I live in my head.  Before I can say “and I think you do, too,” they start giving advice on how to “get out” and “live.”  I don’t know how to talk about it without someone hearing “please help me” instead.  I don’t know why it sounds like an insult to be in your head.  I love my head.  It’s where my brain is.

That’s the nature of the problem.  I can understand a thought – maybe even a complex one about the way people interact with the world – but I can’t wrap my tongue around it.  I can’t get my eyebrows to look thoughtful instead of miserable.  I can’t shrug with ambivalence instead of surrender.  My skull’s a big place, and I can’t find the right buttons.

I try to keep a smirk on one side of my face.  I just leave it out there so no one asks questions.  No one bothers me if I look just a little happy, but people always worry when I seem sad, which is apparently every expression I have other than happy.  They worry more when they ask how I am and I say I’m fine.  I worry about their worry – what are they noticing about me that I’m not?  Once someone asks if I’m OK, nothing I say seems to make them stop worrying.  I just have to look happy to stay happy, because otherwise people assume I’m sad which makes me sad.

So I try to get away from the pressure to look like I feel how I feel, or like I’m doing what I’m doing.  When I get away from people, I can watch a movie without leaning forward and thoughtfully stroking my beard.  I can listen to music without nodding along to the beat.  I can leave my brows knit in thought without anyone asking if my stomach hurts.  I can experience bliss and hate and loss and love without having to contort my face to prove I’m feeling anything at all.  I’m not forced to turn my emotions into a show.

I wish it didn’t have to be forced.  I wish I could explain myself, show myself, effortlessly.  That’s the advice I always get from well-meaning friends – to just be natural, be myself, be spontaneous, on and on and on.  But people seem to understand me better when I slather it on, when I put up thick walls of playacting and gesticulation.  I only get my point across when I stop being me, and start playing myself on TV.


Share Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s