On This Week's Episode of Abnormal Behavior:

Do you ever find yourself getting into completely irrational, but completely passionate arguments with imaginary people? No? Just me? Okay, before you call the guys in white coats, let me explain.

I have a certain personality traits that can be good, bad, or neutral, but when they crash into each other, can result in some very weird circumstances. First, I have self-image issues—I grew up overweight and taller than most girls, so I was different. Second, maybe connected to the first or maybe because I’m the youngest child of four, I have an elevated need for approval and to “fit in” (whatever the heck that means). However, third, I have a strong stubborn side with a healthy dose of “need to be right”—my Nana used to tell me I should be a lawyer when I grew up.

These somehow merge into a strange quirk of hefty self-justification. I don’t mean that I try to justify my immoral behavior to myself in order to keep behaving immorally and remain guilt-free (which I think all humans do to some extent, but that’s a different topic entirely). What I mean is: I’ll be doing something that does not in any way involve a moral question and I find myself defending it to imaginary strangers who would judge me. This works better in an example:

Just now, I put my iPod on all songs shuffled. Most of my music is country or Christian, but I have a hodgepodge of everything else (except rap, which I can handle occasionally, but don’t love enough to own any). So I put it on shuffle and got Michael Buble, followed by Third Day, then a 1994 song by Martina McBride, a taste of OneRepublic, Sister Hazel, Taylor Swift, and then a song off the official Broadway soundtrack of Wicked. And then I thought about someone either challenging my musical taste in general or the wisdom of listening to this odd mix of songs all at once. Then I started developing arguments against their judgment. Like, “It’s not like laundry, where you have to separate it or it bleeds on each other. Or foods that shouldn’t touch or they’ll combine to make weird, gross tastes. It’s all the music that I like and each song alone makes my ears happy, so what’s the problem if I listen to them all mixed together?” And then I caught myself arguing with an imaginary person and stopped.

Now this might not be that notable. Except that I do it several times a week. And about pretty much anything petty that no one would argue about out loud, but may silently judge me for. Or that no one anywhere has ever judged anyone for. That’s normal right?

I did a variation of this when I lived with Crazy Boss Lady and everything I said or did could cost me my job, including how I said good morning (True story. She used to give me lessons on the proper timing and phrasing of a morning greeting. Because "Good Morning" wasn't good enough. Apparently.). I spent a lot of my time arguing with her in my head, saying all the things she was stifling me about or all the things I wish I had the guts to say to her face. And then I was laid off/got fired/quit and I came home to where it’s safe and people love me. And I would be doing the dishes, staring out the window, and I would realize I was arguing with her again. Months later. About things that were over. The things that had ended my employment. But things that. were. over. But that was probably an actual mental issue, at least some kind of post-abuse-by-a-heinous-wench recovery thing.

But this other kind? It’s not like I use actual emotions or truly believe people are judging me for my choices. It’s more like a “what if they did?” or “what would I say if someone did ________.” And that’s just healthy mental rehearsing, right? Right? I’m going to take your silence as proof that I’m completely normal and you all do this, too (and I’m going to ignore the part where I may or may not have any readers besides Roommate).

In completely unrelated news, Crazy Boss Lady has been popping up in my life with increasing regularity and thinks we're good enough friends for her to call me "Sweetie" and ask me to do favors for her. I SAW YOU NAKED, CRAZY OLD WOMAN! YOU CANNOT TAKE THAT BACK!!! Believe me, I have tried.

1 comment:

  1. I love your taste in music (: sounds like what my fauxPod sounds like on shuffle.