Don’t make me look at you
I am often depleted energetically in new environments with unfamiliar people. Part of the reason is because I am empathic and can innately pick up on others’ emotions and state of being. The other part of the reason I am energetically depleted seems to be entirely biological, at least in the way my brain senses the stimuli around me and in the way I process the input I am receiving as a result of the stimuli.
Sometimes, quite frankly and honestly, I would be a better listener and friend, if I didn’t have to look at you.
Because I am extremely analytical, acutely self-aware, and live in a heightened state of sensory awareness, I often forget that the majority of mainstream society does not process their environment the same as me.
I forget that the majority of people are not responding to me in the same way as I am inexplicably responding to them.
The first part of my energetic depletion is spawned from the belief system that I am being sliced and diced and dissected visually by another, only because when I spot another, I generally have to take each piece of person apart and put the features back together to make sense of what I am seeing. As a result, distinct markers of a face and body are found, categorized and reorganized.
I try to take apart another perosn and piece him or her back together without being judgmental. In other words, if a “big” nose is the first thing I see, I remind myself that “big” is a judgment and based on my limited perception and biased collective experiences, while understanding that societal norms determine the essence of beauty for most folks, norms which are indoctrinated onto a sub-culture by profiteering establishments.
Thusly, as I’m beholding another’s appearance, and trying to make sense of what I am seeing, in regards to features and taking in the whole picture, I am also simultaneous reminding myself that the individual’s features are not right or wrong, good or bad, or striking or dull, they just are.
And beneath this linear thinking of releasing judgment based on the indoctrination of societal norms, in the same juxtaposition, of me being with me, I am trying to remind myself, that according to many spiritual belief systems, that self and this other person in my line of vision do not even exist.
All of these thoughts pass through me, just as I am stepping into the line of vision of another: the release of judgment, the reminder of the limitless of the illusion of universe, and the fact that I am entirely analytical when it comes to viewing another.
And the added fact that I know way too much for my own good (and would apparently make a good sitcom character).
With all of my thought-processing, I become distracted and don’t realize that the other person I am analyzing is most likely not viewing me in the same manner as I am viewing him or her.
While my mind is shooting a million miles per second, the other person’s mind has probably just thought: nice red sweater or there’s a brunette middle-age woman; or, if it’s my husband: There’s my hot wife.
But I forget this.
Somewhere between wondering if my fly is open, my teeth are flossed, my nose is big, my hair is brushed, and if I matched the right color socks, and wondering what the other person is dissecting about me, and what this makes that person think, and how he or she has categorized and judged me and has fit me into his or her comfort-level of classification, I turn into a tailspin of panic, fearing that the other person is not only doing to me what I am doing to him or her, through dissection and examination of part, but also reaching conclusions based on the data received.
Ultimately, when all is said and done, in the midst of my boggling analysis of said other person, I am fearing the conclusion the other person has reached about me, whether it be red sweater or big-breasted tart; I am wanting to huddle into a corner and make myself entirely invisible and inaccessible to onlookers.
Wherein if I lived in a world where I was masked and cloaked, and perhaps entirely invisible, I think my anxiety, and resulting depletion of energy, would be drastically reduced.
But since I live in a world where I am seen, I am also faced with the fact that I am judged and categorized based on my appearance.(It’s no wonder my son with ASD refuses to wear anything other than plain clothes—no designs, no images, no nothing.)
And in so being keenly aware that I am looked upon with deciphering eyes, whether fleeting the observer’s glance be or not, I want to then explain to the observer as much about my true self as possible, fearing that the person has reached conclusions about me that are entirely false and inaccurate, because the gathered data is based solely on my exterior.
In the meanwhile, I am having a miniature debate in my mind about how the release of fear and the release of worrying about whatever people think of me is optimal for my state of well-being and reciting the random quote that says: what people think of me is none of my business, while holding back an entire dam of dialogue longing to be thrust upon the person returning my glance, so that I might attempt to accurately describes my spirit behind this cloak of humanness.
When all is said and done, all of these processed thoughts, (including the deductions of reasonings circling around the non-beneficial and detrimental effects a fear-based outlook to the collective of spirit, mind and body), have left me wiped out, and wondering how it is that up until this point in my life I have not become dependent on the port wine I savor some evenings, or at least a stiff shot of cough syrup.
For my brain is such a grand uniform of thought that even a sergeant general, marked with the stoic stars and stripes, could not maneuver his troops inside me to find the potential threat of enemy.
And then, with the coming of more and more rushing thoughts, I begin to laugh inside, realizing again that more than likely the stranger is not analyzing my distinct features; and then the sadness settles in, or at least what seems like sadness, but of late seems more akin to the knowing I am different and likely a different species of human all together.
In the meanwhile, with all of these aforementioned thoughts, my mind is continually involved in a game of connect–the-dots, bringing all the facial features together to make a collective whole.
And quite frankly sometimes I don’t like what I see. And then there is always the lingering notion, that this is all much-to-do about nothing, because if I was ever to see this person again, I wouldn’t recognize him anyways, because I cannot retain visual images of faces in my memory banks.
By this time, when my thoughts have run full course into a state of exhaustion, the person I was looking at has either moved on and out of my view or he or she has moved on in conversation. And where the person is left waiting for me to respond to something said, that she assumed I heard, just as she assumed I was ready to listen, I am still wondering, if in fact, if I look older or younger than this person, because I have wrinkles under my right eyes in the same way, and likely the same depth; and this person is still so pretty even with the marks of age; and I wonder if the wrinkles are appearing more engraved because of the lighting and what the person would look like in an alternative setting, with say a red scarf instead of green; and if her hair is naturally blonde, or now with her aging, recently dyed; and when I should stop dying my hair; and if I remembered to mark my hair appointment on the calendar, and why at times I seem so forgetful.
Through all the analysis piled upon rhetoric and philosophical jargon, added to the process of scaffolding current information with past information and connecting other to self, and the tangent of strings my mind travels to, I am left literally spent, my pockets of reserve penniless, and my wallet flung open for the taking.
And so it is I wonder, when the others, perhaps less aware of this process, say: “Look at me, while I’m talking to you.”
I wonder if a person realizes what one glance, what one look, what one simple demand, demands of me.
Pass me the port, please.
(dang if I ain’t one prolific goofball and a half)