goldkin: sketch avatar (sketch avatar)
This is sort of a last social purgation to finish my series on fear and identity. My previous postings hinted at, but did not fully discuss, how I understand relationships and belonging. This abstract sense of being intrinsically linked to other people is something I at least believe I understand, but it is not something I am fully comfortable with experiencing.

As before, this is because I'm a quietly introverted social mirror. I certainly know what I would like to experience, and I certainly gravitate towards like-minded people and people I care for as a result. But when it comes to actual socialization, I am deeply, deeply fretful that my mannerisms, apparent attitude, cognitive preconditions, and pre-existing social baggage will all get in the way. So, I try mirroring the actions of others. This process often fails. To say this makes me ineffectual would be the pinnacle of understatement: it makes me socially awkward in a caricatured, almost sitcom-meets-cartoonish kind of way.

This leads to a sort of paralyzing, self-reinforcing prison of paranoia and negativity. I am not an especially bad person, but by reinforcing these negatives through trying to resolve them, I emphasize them to others. This leads to a pattern of the people I care about and those I prospectively would like to get to know better largely socially ignoring me and starving me for interest and affection. This isn't because they especially dislike me; rather, it's because they've become apathetic towards my message and how they think I will receive theirs.

This translates into my love life, as well. I have been in two serious relationships over the span of my entire life. The first sort of imploded in a vicious fireball of negativity, while the other sort of quietly burned out into a passive, medium-distance friendship amidst personal hardships. The second is still ongoing. This is why I frequently call my current, better half "my significant other". I'd like to say "mate", but our relationship has dimmed to the point where applying that term is simply linguistically inaccurate.

In contrast, many of the people that surround me are in stable relationships or, in some cases, have the luxury of polyamory. I approach love from sort of the opposite end of the spectrum: it is something I mostly experience vicariously, as a function of not being successful in maintaining my own relationships. I am happiest when other people are happy, as both a function of my personality (I really am that genuinely supportive and warm-hearted) and as a means of quelling my inner desires for love, affection, community, and a sense of social belonging that are so very elusive for me.

I think I need to shed my masks and let people experience who I am, without regrets, on a relaxed, peaceful schedule that isn't quite so immediate and socially-oriented. I would like to believe that I may even be accepted, and love, and be treated with love, if I allow for this to happen.

Why, then, do I feel so uneasy about doing so? I hope it's simply fear of change.
goldkin: paradice avatar (paradice avatar)
I have a chronic fear of visible failure. This is especially true in the context of potential passive-aggressive and resentful behavior.

I attribute much of this to my heritage: among other social values, my family raised me to only present my best successes to the world and secretly hide all of my failures. Meanwhile, I grew up in an extremely extroverted and charisma-based society that was heavily obsessed with cataloging and preserving gossip.

This ill-equipped me to build an identity for myself, as identity construction took more of a back seat to manipulating my social image to prevent exposure. It made me paranoid: I simply couldn't let my non-Christian spirituality, my bizarre kinks, or my personal desire to be with other like-minded people, out of my head. I was quizzed for compliance regularly, and in middle and high school, openly attacked if I failed this compliance check on a semi-daily basis.

This acquired fear and manipulative tendency quickly made me a highly competent social chameleon in my then-home state. However, this failed utterly around people whom knew me better, spent longer amounts of time around me, and generally anyone with whom I tried to maintain a long-lasting and ongoing social relationship with or wanted to get to know better. They got to see someone that is extremely evasive, persnickety, and uncomfortable about people getting close to him, for the simple fear that they'll see through the facade and not like what they see. This even applies self-referentially: I'm not convinced I'm an especially good person, for the simple reason that I do not actually know the sort of person that I am.

Which is bizarre, in a way. Based upon my prior actions and early life, I am a primarily loving and caring individual. I am highly tactile; I love elegance, and I love bringing light and joy into this world. Yet this is all buried under a dour, faux-stoic veneer that makes me completely unapproachable by the people I'd like to do so.

I am trying to conquer this fear, because it's costing me dearly. I would also like the luxury of camaraderie, and of being able to develop my identity without seeming false. I certainly have some form of a current identity: I evaluate strongly between asexual and male, as otherkin, and certainly as a dragon on a very regular and healthy basis (among other recreational forms). But, there is this entire spectrum of matters I am too fearful, too evasive, or just plain too uneasy to talk about, for the simple reason it risks me exposure.

Perhaps as a result, I am deeply jealous of those I know whom have a public identity that works for them. I am more opaque; not by choice, but because I have yet to experience better.

October 2015

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