Wit

There’s this boy in my drawing class.

I mean, there are lots of boys in my drawing class. But I’m talking about one particular boy. He’s younger than me, a sophomore with long floppy George-McFly bangs and a black trench coat. I know him from our bus-route, mostly because he’s incredibly loud in the mornings, when everyone else is being quiet.

He’s dramatic, frantic, kinetic, profane—all knees and elbows and shoulder blades. He drops F-bombs like they are a type of exotic punctuation mark. He talks in class constantly, blurting out wild, impossible proclamations and then clapping his hands over his mouth like that will force the words back in where they belong.

Every day in drawing, our teacher stands over his desk, sighing, looking down at his various projects. She says things like:

“Wit, this is unacceptable. I thought we agreed that if I let you take it home, you’d have it done by today. What happened?”

“My stepbrother poured milk all over it.”

“Maybe you shouldn’t leave your projects out where accidents can happen.”

“Did I say he knocked something over? I said, he poured milk on it. Why does no one ever believe me? God!”

Right now, I’m going to just skip the narrative mess and tell you the last part first, because sometimes it’s the endpoint that matters most. So I’ll come right out and say it: in the months that follow, Wit will become the best friend I’ve ever had. He will be the person I didn’t know I needed—funnier than Jane, more outspoken than Catherine, more honest than almost anyone. He will be the first person I actually enjoy talking to on the phone. He will be that friend you have no idea how you ever got along without.

On the afternoon I actually meet him, Catherine and I are sitting in the cafeteria, reading her copy of Julius Caesar to each other. It’s my off-hour, and she’s skipped her social studies class to hang out with me, so I’m helping her with her English homework.

On the other side of the cafeteria,Wit is flapping around in his trench coat. He’s alone, climbing up onto one of the chairs and jumping off again.

Catherine grins. “Hey, let’s go talk to him. You want to?”

“But we don’t know him.”

“So? It’s not like he’s scary. I mean yeah, he’s weird, but it’s cute.”

“Cute?”

“No, not like that. I just mean, you know, cute. Come on.”

I’ll be honest—I kind of expect that Catherine will do most of the talking. But Wit seems to have a weirdly silencing effect on her. He immediately makes it his business to entertain us, pacing in a circle, periodically raking a hand through his hair. He’s erratic, floppy like a puppet, jerking to life suddenly, waving his arms and tripping over his own feet. He tells us a very bizarre story involving Marilyn Manson, a gas station attendant, and an electric train.

Apart from the Marilyn Manson story, the first thing I learn about him is that his dad is very religious, which sort of explains the Manson and the trench coat and the expletives, but only sort of.

The second thing I learn is that Wit has this magical ability to make time pass so fast I don’t even know it’s happening. We spend the whole rest of the period sitting on the floor, sketching blueprints of heaven on the linoleum with our fingers, trying to formulate a floor-plan for a beautiful and comprehensive afterlife.

When I squint down at our imaginary drawing, I can even almost see it. “But what about Buddhists? What if you had a really good friend who was a Buddhist?”

“Oh, yeah,” he says. “They’d go there too.”

“But the fundamentalists, though. It seems like they’d just be very upset, and then it wouldn’t be like heaven.”

He looks at me like I’ve lost my mind. “Well, they wouldn’t have to live nextdoor to the Buddhists. Everyone could all have their own little towns.”

“Would they have to stay there, though? I mean, I wouldn’t want to stay in one place and only ever be with the same people all the time for eternity. And what if you had friends who lived somewhere else?”

“No, that would suck. But how would everyone go back and forth?”

“A bus!” we say in unison, looking at each other across the imaginary drawing and bursting into the kind of laughter that only really happens when oh-thank-god-someone-understands!

“You guys are so weird,” says Catherine, kindly.

It’s strange to have become part of you guys just like that, when Catherine and I have known each other for a year and a half, and I only met Wit less than an hour ago. On the wall, the clock says 1:29—one minute to the bell—and I can’t believe that the period has gone by so fast, like no time at all.

We’re still sitting on the floor, just starting to gather up our things, when Brody comes into the cafeteria, looking how he always looks, bored and insolent and totally unselfconscious.

He ambles over and nudges me with the toe of his boot. “Hey, sexy. What’s shaking, Cat?”

“Pervert,” says Catherine. “Hey, I’m going to go put this in my locker, okay?”

She holds up her notebook and I nod, because what she means is, she wants to be in the hall when a certain brown-eyed sophomore gets out of class so that she can accidentally cross his path and possibly make eye-contact.

As soon as the bell rings, Brody crouches down behind me. “Here, let me give you a hand.”

He slips his arms around my waist and pulls me to my feet, which is inappropriately familiar, and only becomes more so when he slides his palms along my ribcage. He stops at a scant millimeter from feeling me up.

Brenna: !

Wit: O_o

Brody: *Is complacent and self-satisfied*

It’s weird, because all I can think about is that time last year when Pugsly grabbed my butt. This isn’t like that, though. It isn’t even like last semester in history when Charles was handing back the homework one afternoon and he looked down my shirt. It’s not offensive or scary, or even very embarrassing. What it is, is stupid.

I take Brody’s wrists and peel his hands off my ribcage. “Quit it.”

Babe,” he says, turning me around to face him, raising my chin with his hand. “You’re killing me.”

Then he strolls off, looking very tall, wallet-chain clanking.

Wit watches him go with a sharp, thoughtful expression. “That guy just almost grabbed your boobs.”

And I wind up saying something half-hearted and totally obvious. I think I say, “I know.”

Wit doesn’t seem overly perturbed, just stares at me like he’s trying to solve a puzzle.

“What?” I say, twisting away uncomfortably. More uncomfortably than I disengaged from Brody, if you want to know the truth. Wit’s gaze suddenly seems so much more invasive. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

He shrugs. “Just, you. And him. You don’t look like the type, is all.” Then he leans closer, giving me a sly, shrewd look. “But he’s not your boyfriend, is he.”

I shake my head.

And Wit just stares down at me, eyes narrowed like he’s trying to read my mind. “Well, do you want him to be?”

“I can’t really tell.”

“If you didn’t get all freaked out about him touching you like that, why aren’t you already going out with him?”

I take a deep breath, feeling brave and reckless. “Because I don’t think he actually likes me in a real way.”

I’m immediately stricken. Shocked at my boldness, my honesty. Shocked to realize that I never understood the way I felt until I said it aloud.

We stand facing each other, while all around us, students and teachers and janitors pour into the cafeteria, filling it up with bodies and chaos and noise. Wit is squinting down at me, leaning close. I keep waiting for him to ask what I mean by real, and when he doesn’t, it’s relieving.

“Well, anyway,” he says at last. “I’m sure someone does. I mean, you look like a goddamn fairy tale. Just like $%&@ing Sleeping Beauty.”

I don’t know what to say to that, so I laugh and shake my head. It’s uncomfortable to have a stranger look so closely at my face, uncomfortable to have him imply that I might even be beautiful.

“Fine,” he says, shrugging another hard, twitchy shrug. “Don’t take a compliment. But don’t act like you don’t already know it. You’d have to be a $%&@ing idiot not to.”

He walks away abruptly, leaving me standing there with a rushing feeling in my blood that has nothing to do with Brody’s hands on my waist and everything to do with Wit’s businesslike glare an inch from my face.

I go to meet Catherine at her locker, thinking how this is all too foreign, too unsettling. That I don’t know whose type I am, or if there is such a thing as a type.

Catherine is in a rapturous, expansive mood. She neutralizes my new sense of helplessness by telling me all about her sophomore boy—his soulful eyes, his tentative smile.

“And he looked right at me,” she says. “It was like he was looking for me, like he was waiting for me to be there.”

“Then maybe he was.”

In her locker mirror, my face is precise and suddenly unfamiliar. I touch my jaw, my cheekbones, trying to figure out the architecture of my skull. I don’t like not knowing myself. I feel like Wit has seen right down to the core of who I was before I started school, and instead of making me feel recognized or known, it just underlines all the ways that I’ve spent the last year and a half making myself into a stranger.

*****

As is probably glaringly obvious by now, almost all of teenage-Brenna’s existential angst had to do with vacillating wildly between a very firm sense of who she was, and having not the faintest clue how to show it.

Which is to say, I was very comfortable with interior, mind-based Brenna, but had no idea how to perform that person in the real world. I didn’t even know what she looked like, honestly. All made worse by other people having opinions about me.

Do you have an existential angst? A shifting sense of self? Inside versus Outside was my biggest, trickiest balancing act (sometimes still is). Do you have a thing you try to reconcile with something else? Understand, this does not have to be as complicated as I’m making it. I am very good at overcomplicating things.

12 thoughts on “Wit

  1. Existential angst? God yes.

    I am a confident person. I talk to strangers at parties, I joke with my bosses as though they aren’t my bosses, I sing in public and laugh to cover silences and drink raucously while bantering at the pub: in fact, it is very hard to shut me up indeed. I don’t actively try to be the center of attention, but I’m often loud enough that things end up that way, and to make things worse, I have a disconcerting tendency to talk over the end of other people’s sentences – and I notice myself doing it, and I hate that I do it, and yet no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to STOP doing it, because as soon as it’s occurred to me that I want to say something, the words just roll out whenever as a gap in the conversation that’s halfway big enough, such as a pause, presents itself.

    All of which might lead the average bystander to suspect that my confidence comes from a sort of oblivious egotism, or at very least a fun-loving lack of introspection. But the thing is, I am deeply self-conscious about my confidence. I don’t know if I always was, though I suspect it’s something that’s heightened with age. Even as I’m talking, there’s more often than not a part of me yelling SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP, and another part whispering that I’ve told this story already, I ALWAYS tell this story, I am boring the nice people, stop hogging the goddamn conversation and let someone else talk – but the thing is, I haven’t worked out how to bow out gracefully or naturally, so the end result is me being confident and (mostly) interesting right up until I suddenly drop the thread and get embarrassed for talking at all, which inevitably kills the conversation, and then there’s an awkward silence while people flounder in the aftermath of my having switched gears so quickly, only I hate awkward silences, and so I start talking again to cover for it. And on, and on, and on.

    This has now gotten to a point where any ability I might once have had to tell the difference between ‘acceptable talking’ and ‘spotlight hogging’ has ceased to exist. Socially, it leaves me in a permanent state of anxiety. I worry that I’m boring my friends and offending new people just by dint of talking too much, to the extent that, when I meet someone interesting, I am almost pathologically incapable of befriending them on my own. By which I mean: all my socialising is restricted to group activities, because I am terrified of what someone might think if I asked them to hang out alone. I get so hung up on what people think of me that for all my ease in crowds, I don’t know how to be around individuals who don’t already know me. Which is fine in the sense that I still have friends I can see alone, provided I’ve met them enough times in company, but really, really bad in the sense that, if I take a shine to someone I don’t often see socially, then in my head, trying to befriend them and wanting to impress them – wanting them to take an interest in me, rather than me in them – takes on an almost the agony of a high school crush, because my self-consciousness poisons my confidence, and everything I do comes out awkward.

    Which has, I strongly suspect, the utterly contrary effect of making me seem aloof, or unapprochable, or distant, or some combination thereof that puts people off of befriending me outside of groups. And that makes me needy around the people I like when I do see them at parties, which exacerbates everything else. Cue an endless spiral of self-consciousness and general internal loathing, set to the soundtrack of inane personal anecdotes and too-loud laughter.

    Also: I appear to be using your blog as a form of confessional. Which hopefully works for both of us? But thanks for asking these questions: I’ve really been needing to get that off my chest.

    • I am deeply self-conscious about my confidence.

      all my socialising is restricted to group activities, because I am terrified of what someone might think if I asked them to hang out alone.

      This is really interesting to me, because it’s so in keeping with things that a lot of my more extroverted friends have said—that being in a group kind of forces this safe distance from other people, but that being face to face with one person involves too much scrutiny. (Totally the opposite of how I am—I’ll cherry-pick people at parties and drag them away from the group to have an actual conversation. Introversion at work, I guess.)

      Even as I’m talking, there’s more often than not a part of me yelling SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT

      Trust me, this is not particular to you, or particular to extroverts, or anything else I can think of. Just … no, it is not.

      to make things worse, I have a disconcerting tendency to talk over the end of other people’s sentences

      Oh! I have something to say about this, because even though I tend to be the reserved one in a big group, in smaller groups or private conversations, I do this too, and as rude as it seems, it’s also (weirdly) something that demonstrates more than anything else that I’m actively engaged in the conversation. I don’t know if this is scientific at all, but in the US, it seems to be more of an East Coast thing. (Also, it seems to show up in big families of Italian and Eastern European origin?)

      I first noticed it with a friend whose family is from Poland. We’d be having these amazing, fascinating conversations where both of us were talking the entire time, but it was very interactive, and I realized that it’s the same way my family talks when we all get together, and it has nothing to do with not listening, but they were always wanting to know how come my husband never said anything. So I asked him, and he told me it was because there’s never an opening and he felt rude just jumping in. To which I replied, “Well, but there’s not really any other way.”

      I appear to be using your blog as a form of confessional.

      This is not in any way a problem. The amount that I find people interesting is … quite a lot. So thanks for responding :)

  2. One of my most baffling moments was when I was hanging out with a friend, and she started describing me as bubbly and cheerful and nice. Those words are probably the last thing I would describe inner me as, but to her and a lot of my friends that’s who I am. Half the time that feels natural and half the time it’s completely forced, it’s not like I’m not bubbly or nice it’s just that I hardly ever show the parts of me that aren’t.

    It really bothered me to hear myself described like that for some reason which is funny because I’m thinking half the time about how people are perceiving me. It’s a habit born from being paranoid about being rejected, and while it goes away in some situations, I really have no clue how I’d act around people who I’m completely me around. My best friend and my sisters come close to that but I don’t really see how I can be completely me when I’m not alone. (I hope I figure it out.) And Existential Angst could probably be the title of my life.

    Other than that, I love these Highschool posts! This is the first time I’ve commented but I’ve been reading them for a while now, they’re fascinating. I’m very envious of your ability to remember moments with such clarity. Every one of these scenes sounds like something out of a book or a movie.

    • it’s not like I’m not bubbly or nice it’s just that I hardly ever show the parts of me that aren’t.

      I think this was one of the things I had the absolute hardest time with in high school—it wasn’t that the parts of me other people saw or noticed weren’t me. They absolutely were, but the problem was, they weren’t nearly all of me, and I didn’t feel like the other parts really had a place out in the world. Or at least, I didn’t see where they fit.

      (An interesting aside: since becoming a writer, I’ve been privy to a lot of industry talk about having a Brand, which I find scientifically fascinating and existentially terrifying. The idea is, you distill your most dominant/obvious qualities into a persona, which is still you—just not all of you—and that’s the face you use to interact with the world. So, kind of like high school, I guess.)

      My best friend and my sisters come close to that but I don’t really see how I can be completely me when I’m not alone.

      My sister and I were like this too. It was always so easy to be around her, but that’s not the same as being totally open. I think we were both very private about our interior lives. Like, she would never lie to me if I asked a direct question, but she also never volunteered information, and I mostly just didn’t ask, not because I wasn’t interested, but because it seemed too personal.

      I’m glad you like the posts (I really like writing them)! I’ll be honest—a lot of times the reason I remember things so vividly is only because I was very careful to write down the details at the time. Then when I go back and read through my old notes, the memory becomes much clearer than if I just tried to remember it on my own. Journal-keeping isn’t for everyone, or even for anyone all the time, but if you’ve got the impulse, I highly recommend it!

  3. I’ve been a lurker of your blog for quite some time. I’m still in high school, and I just wanted to say that I can relate to you on so many levels.
    I’m introverted too, and I definitely see the Outside vs. Inside thing. Like, I’m pretty sure I know exactly the way I am inside, and I have ideas constantly–like you, I have this weird interest in people–but I’m never entirely sure how to show them or get them out. It’s like I’m on this totally different wavelength than my other classmates, who all seem to be able to communicate with each other so easily. And then I look at my face, and I don’t ever feel like my thoughts really connect to the rest of me, if that makes sense.
    Same with the perverted jokes, I don’t have any kind of reaction or any interest at all, I just think it’s so stupid. Which makes me a perfect victim for, “That’s what he/she said!”
    Recently there was this guy, I was pretty sure he liked me, and a friend confirmed it. He’s older, and we sit in the same room during our free period every day. He’s tried talking to me a few times, and I’ve blamed it on my shyness, but I’m just not sure what to say or how to express that I’d like to get t know him better. I’m fairly sure he gave up on me because he assumed I wanted him to go away, and I feel bad because I just don’t know him very well yet.
    But then he asked another one of my friends for her number and she blatantly turned him down, and I’ve seen him show interest in another girl. So I’m not even sure if he liked me in a real way, or if I was just another potential candidate. I get so confused about these things and over analyze them, as oppose to my friend who just said he was creepy for showing interest in her.
    Sorry this was so long, it wasn’t supposed to be. It’s just every time I read your blog I think, wait…I’m not the only one?! So thanks :)

    • “I’m not the only one?!”

      Ha ha, no. I’ve been thinking the exact same thing since starting high school…

      Okay, so let me preface this by saying that I’m not trying to be an introvert, I’m just not naturally assertive in most situations, and find it easier to stick to the fringes of things. I could sugget a million reasons why, but I think the main one is that so many people around me have such ‘loud’ personalities. I’m not saying that they yell all the time, or talk over the top of each other [which does happen occasionally], but that they all seem to have such a strong sense of self, which they’re not afraid to show. I’m not afraid of showing people who I think I am, but I don’t really know who that is.

      I have so many opposing interests and qualities that it feels less like a balancing act between Inside and Outside, and more like some kind of internal war. Inside, I am loud, and like to make lots of noise. Outside, this isn’t really seen because I don’t like to draw any undue attention, so people think I’m quiet. My “louder” qualities tend to be reflected through my taste in music [which no one else hears, because I have headphones], and the chaotic decor in my bedroom [which no one else sees, because I’m not daring enough to host sleepovers].

      The one scenario where I let myself become a screaming, thrashing lunatic, is at a rock concert [I’d take my friends but they hate rock, and think I’ve lost my grasp of syntax when I refer to Jimmy Eat World]. Although, once the music stops and the bands are gone, I go back to being this shy girl that has to awkwardly shuffle back out of a crowd.

      • I’m not trying to be an introvert … so many people around me have such ‘loud’ personalities

        To be honest, I think I actively surround myself with loud personalities (maybe always have). And not just because they’re often lovely people, but because it creates this unobtrusive place to watch from. Sort of like I’m using them to make a duck blind or a secret fort. Once the focus is off you, you can be anything.

        Inside, I am loud, and like to make lots of noise

        I know exactly what you mean, but this still made me smile. It’s so hard to explain the idea of Inside Noise to people who are just noisy as a general rule. And I love loud music and mosh pits and always have, even though I absolutely don’t look like I should. In school though, my biggest outlet was soccer. I was good, but more importantly, I was much, much better than I looked like I should be. I mean, when people looked at me, they saw Ineffectual personified, and I got a lot of satisfaction out of proving them wrong, over and over. All my loudness was funneled into moving as fast as possible and taking everyone by surprise.

        Also, I knew a lot of people who were sad when their friends didn’t like the same music or activities that they did. But honestly? It’s nice to share some common ground, but I still think there’s something to be said for having your interests all to yourself.

    • I have this weird interest in people–but I’m never entirely sure how to show them or get them out

      I think this must be the bane of introverts everywhere! Often, we notice so much, but feel so uncomfortable actually saying our ideas out loud—and then there’s the whole issue of being about 85% certain of your conclusions, but not wanting to risk the embarrassment if it turns out you’re wrong about something (someone).

      And then I look at my face, and I don’t ever feel like my thoughts really connect to the rest of me

      In high school, this was pretty much daily for me. I think part of it was that my features and my bone structure were actually changing as I got older and so my reflection was truly becoming unfamiliar, but a lot of it was just that I didn’t feel like my public persona matched up with my thoughts, and my physical self seemed like simply another extension of that difference. (I don’t know how I felt I should look. At the time, probably just about anything would have felt wrong, because I was still trying to reconcile being a big amorphous Tangle of Thoughts with also being a 17-year-old girl.)

      I’ve blamed it on my shyness, but I’m just not sure what to say or how to express that I’d like to get t know him better

      I get so confused about these things and over analyze them

      For this reason, I’ve always be so relieved by people who are just very direct. Which doesn’t mean that I don’t like cautious, nuanced people who don’t commit themselves right away (I have an appalling weak spot for them—and am also one of them). I’ve just found that the people who will come right out and announce their intentions are the ones who make life so much easier!

      Also, I feel kind of bad for guys sometimes—they are expected to be the ones to make the first move, but then if they do, they risk being “creepy.”

  4. I’m gonna assume Wit looks like a teenage Crispin Glover now!

    Hmm….I don’t know. I feel like who I am on the outside is a roughly accurate presentation of who I am on the inside, largely because I am a terrible liar. I’m kind of a heart-on-sleeve person, so faking emotions never really works for me; people always seem to know what I’m actually thinking. In terms of, oh, I don’t know, taste in music or something like that people are always surprised, but in terms of personality I don’t think I’m that obscure. The only people whose opinions I genuinely, deeply cared about to the point where I would try to be a totally different person around them were my parents. I guess I would modify my actions around my friends, but never to the point where I felt like I was compromising myself, and I never cared whether people I wasn’t interested in liked me or not.

    When I was younger, I was obsessed with wanting to know what my peers thought of me– purely because I just wanted to *know*. Not knowing what someone thought of me bothered (and bothers) me a lot more than flat out knowing someone hates me.

    • I’m gonna assume Wit looks like a teenage Crispin Glover now!

      Actually … it’s not too far off. You know what, just go ahead and stick with that ;)

      I feel like who I am on the outside is a roughly accurate presentation of who I am on the inside, largely because I am a terrible liar.

      This is *almost identical* to various things my sister has said at various times throughout the years. Which is not to say that I think there are only two types of people in the world,* but I think there’s something to be said for this kind of polarized set of responses. Despite having grown up in the same household, we were really opposite each other in a lot of ways. The funny thing is, I think I always had a much easier time describing my feelings with words than she did, but a much harder time actually identifying the feelings in the first place.

      I was obsessed with wanting to know what my peers thought of me

      This might be because I was homeschooled for so long, but would you believe that it took me months (years?) to understand that the people at school might think of me at all? I spent so long thinking I just had this free pass to be invisible and didn’t have to worry about whether or not anyone liked me. It made things easy for the most part, but was also pretty socially lacking.

      *I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it. Really. I just think it’s so funny.

  5. [When I first saw the post title I thought: “YES! Wit: She Haz It”. ]

    Ah-hah – speaking of “clicking”, hmmm? I think I have fallen deeply in like with your new character. Wit is perceptive & interesting & imaginative & unusual [speaking of “unique”; you wouldn’t have been leading up to this at all, Ms Yovanoff?]. I like his bluntness; straight to the point, intense & challenging. Also WOW what a doozy of a compliment! It’s the juxtaposition of “$%&@ing” & “fairy-tale” that makes it so powerful, “oomph”, & so REAL given that you’d just met too. I am SO glad he became such a great friend, & I am very interested in hearing more about him.

    Hmmm Brody’s been picking up, spinning & throwing teenage Brenna around for a while now [I DO NOT mean that in a deprecating way – facts only] so I guess you have become somewhat immune to it, if ambivalent. Personally I would have had a major problem with anyone touching me like that; once in HS I punched a guy [who I liked, oops] because he picked me up. However Brody’s possessive “palms along ribcage almost to breasts” thing reeks of testosterone / male posturing. Um . . . icky?

    Oh, eek, don’t get me started on existential angst! I am happy in my skin now, which feels like a miracle after years & years of NOT. In HS I took a sort of pride in my logical & analytical mind, & analysed the heck out of everything & everyone around me . . . but I had completely different criteria when it came to myself. Which is to say, I was incredibly harsh, I was a vile horrible monster who no one in their right mind would enjoy being around. [no facts or logic to back this up were produced]

    So I always behaved in a shy, mousy, scared-of-my-own-shadow, locked up manner, had zero self-confidence & negative self-esteem / image. But all along it was deep-rooted depression & hang-ups making me act that way. It wasn’t *me* at all – or a lot of it wasn’t. It turns out I’m a fun, bouncy, interesting person – & kinda cute too. [okay, so my husband & others not-so-biased have described me as beautiful & stunning & gorgeous, but I am wary of those terms; believe me it’s a HUGE jump from vile to kinda cute, I need that to sink in a little more. Oh hey, I’m a small slender “fairy” type too, I have always looked years younger than my peers – I was a REALLY late developer – which was & still can be a total pain in the arse because “grown ups” don’t take you seriously . . . Aaaiiieee.]

    Anyway: working out the glitches & trying to reconcile what I believed vs. what is true, which I guess is the same as your Inside & Outside Selves – what you present to the world & what you feel underneath, is an ongoing process for me. It’s freeing & frightening at the same time, if that makes any sense at all?

    Thanks as always for a great post! I enjoy these so much & yes you were missed :)

    x jules

    • Oh, Wit was (is!) best-ever! I still get together with him for coffee, or we write long rambling emails back and forth, or spend hours talking on the phone. (Which is not a spoiler, because this is real life.)

      I just really love it when people are direct. Not only is it fascinating and kind of refreshing, but from a practical standpoint, it saves others the trouble of all that doubt and observation and figuring things out through subtle cues that can be so easily misinterpreted (which is not to say that I have learned to be particularly direct, although I’m getting better).

      I guess you have become somewhat immune to it, if ambivalent

      Oh, man—I’ve spent so much time thinking about how best to describe Brody. After all, he spent a lot of time behaving in clearly inappropriate ways! And in concert, I spent a lot of time looking up at him and feeling not-threatened, not-offended, not-shocked. I think I was vaguely curious. Which is really hard to fathom now.

      So even to me, the core issue with this particular story-thread is actually my own reactions. The way I responded to him was never right or obvious or universal, and so even to me, my reactions look completely alien. I read through my thoughts on Brody, or on Boys in General, and all I can think is, “Wow, teenage-me was such a weird, icy little creature.”

      I was just so … factual. And once the facts were in, nothing else seemed relevant. I knew that I thought Brody was attractive, in an edgy, dysfunctional way, and I also knew that I didn’t want to date him, precisely for the same reasons I thought he was attractive. But I found nothing threatening about him, and because of that, I couldn’t manufacture much indignation. Or any. I just wanted to put him in a little terrarium and study him! Which is so messed-up.

      But all along it was deep-rooted depression & hang-ups making me act that way. It wasn’t *me* at all – or a lot of it wasn’t. It turns out I’m a fun, bouncy, interesting person – & kinda cute too.

      working out the glitches & trying to reconcile what I believed vs. what is true […] what you present to the world & what you feel underneath, is an ongoing process for me. It’s freeing & frightening at the same time

      I just want to tell you, I’m really glad you said this. I think it’s so easy to define ourselves by the way we feel, and let that determine who we understand ourselves to be. I think one of the hardest things for me to comprehend when I was in high school was that growing up didn’t mean becoming a different person, but it did mean that the person I became was going to be a version of me that I hadn’t met yet, and she would have my brain, but from a different vantage point.

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