Thursday, August 8, 2013

If Insecurity Were a Handicap, I Would Qualify for Disabled Parking.

(This is a "repeat treat" from earlier this year.)

Guess what? I am not shy. I love interacting with people. Put me in the game, Coach!  
Still, I can't help wondering: am I like that big dog that forgets it's not a puppy and jumps into people's laps and licks their faces? Yes, folks indulge me, but do they secretly wish I would jump down and chase some squirrels? Their thin veil of politeness keeps me from finding out whether I'm genuinely connecting, or merely being tolerated, the way you would with a guy blowing his nose next to you in the elevator.
In other words: how do I know when I'm too much?
This occurred to me when I realized that, in living alone, I may have lost some of my discomfort-detecting skills. Believe me, there are many blessings to living alone, like eating directly from containers (you betcha!) and relaxed personal hygiene (Showering? What's that?!). But there is no one there to tell me if I have spinach in my teeth, or I'm wearing my t-shirt inside out. I'm free to do as I please - wheeee! - but then there's always that lingering doubt: do I look OK? More to the point, Am I likable? When you're by yourself, you start to wonder whether you simply chase everyone away with your poor people skills. My critical inner voice begins to chime in and there is no "Off" button (please see my essay, K-F&%K). Worse, the echoes can be deafening.
There is a garbage truck that comes every week to pick up the trash. How about a reassurance truck that takes needless worries away and leaves compliments? I've got barrels full of insecurities that need to be taken away and replaced with kind words.
I used to be at the center of activity, steering the riverboat and blowing its whistle. Now, I'm just one of those silly ladies waving her handkerchief from the dock. My friends don't have any time for me with all their pesky family obligations. How selfish of them to think only of their loved ones and not allow me to complain about my miserable life! 
Hm, this neediness wouldn't have anything to do with the number of invitations I'm not receiving, would it?
I've come up with a name for my condition: Pervasive Insecurity Stress Syndrome (PISS). My Medic Alert bracelet would say, "Apply ample amounts of approval." I could start a 12-step program for all my fellow PISS sufferers and call it "PISS Off!" We'd conduct meetings like AA: "Hi, I'm Stephanie and I'm insecure." The others would shift in their folding chairs and chant in response, "Hi, Stephanie, you look great today." Our fundraiser would be a 5K, and every participant would have someone assigned to run next to them, chanting "Wow! Great job! You can do it!"  
The money would go to research: we could discover a Reassurance pill! Chant with me now:  Find a Cure for Insecure!
But first, a shower.