A few years ago I made a promise to myself- it was a goal and it was important to me to meet it.
Because I was being treated for severe depression, I went through a phase where I didn’t want be be around people. I didn’t like them and hearing anyone breath or chew their food or swallow their coffee set my teeth on edge.
So anytime I had to interact with another human being and they would start to talk to me , I would lean forward a little and cock my head to the side ( I learned that from my dog, he looks friendly when he does that ) I would focus on the spot between their eyes, smile, nod and squint.
People liked that squinty eyed thing. Personally I think it’s creepy.
Pretty soon I got so tired of doing the same thing, over and over again- plus those signals actually work– they tell people you are engaged and present and totally focused on them and their concerns.
I was torn, do I go through life looking down or just over a person’s shoulder when I wanted to avoided making eye contact- or do I want to go through life acting like some warm hearted person who cared about every word that fell out of your mouth when I most certainly did not feel that way.
Still if you do something over and over again it becomes a habit.
The end result was, I felt like ” Dexter ” the serial killer from the TV show who went through his life acting human because he knew how inhuman he really was.
Then one day I was at the Dog Park with Hamish when a lady with a beautiful Chocolate Lab ( like Hamish ) walked through the gate. She let her dog off of his leash and he ran to Hamish., They sniffed noses and ran off together.
” Have fun Winston!” she called.
Then she sat right next to me.
I liked the dog’s name but of course I didn’t say that- I never initiated conversations back then.
I was writing some notes for what I wanted to post on my blog and she leaned in a bit and asked me, ” what are you writing about- ”
I looked up.
She looked at the spot between my eyes.
She smiled, she squinted, and then she rushed on- ” I’m just curious. You look so intense. But you’re smiling so- I’m such a busy body. ‘ the smile was gone and she looked down to her feet.
I wanted to get up and move. I wanted to pretend I was having a heart attack. But I couldn’t. Her dog’s named was Winston and she had told him to have fun.
That’s when I thought it would be nice to let go of my routine. It was tiring. It made me feel hallow.
I told her it was okay. I showed her what I had written. ” You can take a look. It’s going on my blog tonight anyway. ”
She read what I had down so far and then she handed it back to me. ” That’s like a Twilight Zone story- but scarier. I love it. But I wouldn’t have guessed that’s what you were writing. You look so sweet and you’re so friendly. ”
What Winston’s Mom said pricked at my conscious.I felt bad that I had been hoodwinking people into thinking I cared about them and what they thought.
I really did believe I was happy when I first started acting the part of a happy go lucky chatty person- but in truth, it was all an act keep the human race at arms length. But to be perfectly honest, since that day Winston’s mom and I actually became friends- I wanted to be that person-