Monday, February 28, 2011

Communication Gives Me Zits

Communication gives me zits.

Okay, maybe it doesn’t. Maybe I just pick at my face when I’m stressed out, and communicating in a mature way stresses me out, which makes me pick at my face, which makes it look like I have zits. It’s an evil, evil cycle.
Off and on, I have wondered what exactly made me different from other people, because I certainly have never felt as if I truly belonged. Over the years the things that made me self-consciously different have changed: I’m tall, I’m red-headed, I read too much, and at one point I wanted to teach cats to write with pens taped to their paws.
Today, I am probably most self-conscious about my total lack of ability when it comes to good, healthy communication.

Sometimes, it is incredibly obvious to me and others that I am failing at that whole “communication” thing: my face gets red and I mumble something incoherent, then back out of a room as fast as possible. This is usually what happens when I am put on the spot and I want to say no to whatever is being asked of me, but I can’t bring myself to do it. This is especially true when there are other people watching the scene.

Other times, I will think that I have communicated quite well, but it turns out I am less capable of using the English language than I thought, because whoever I said whatever I said it to acts as if I never said anything. This is very similar to the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when Toula’s mom asks her fiancé Ian if he’s hungry.

Mom: Would you like something to eat?
Ian: No thank you, I just ate.
Mom: Okay, I make you something.

My third communication predicament is definitely the one I am most guilty of. This is the case of the “You Should Know.” I realize it is incredibly ridiculous, but I suffer from a terrible disease where I am surprised – angry even – when someone doesn’t know something I haven’t told them. Basically, I am somehow thinking that I telepathically told someone something, (I can’t communicate out loud, but I am definitely good at communicating in my head; are my brain waves not loud enough to hear?) so I am surprised when they ask me to do something or assume something about me that is WAY off the mark of what my actual goals are, what I want out of life, or what I want for breakfast. I mean, I know what I want, shouldn’t they know what I want if they hang out with me, even on a semi-regular basis?
To escalate the problem of the “You Should Know,” I have to admit that even when confronted with a misconception about me, I rarely just out-and-out correct the person. Instead, I seethe and blame them for not knowing what I haven’t told them instead of spitting out two simple sentences to remedy the situation, something like, “No, you are wrong. I do not actually know all the words to Thriller.”

It’s amazing I have any friends at all.

Basically, I’m not sure I could communicate myself out of a paper bag. What makes this worse is that now I recognize these little “anti-communication strategies,” even as they’re happening, but I’m still not quite at a point where I can change them yet. It comes one small piece at a time. Right now the piece is “recognition;” I haven’t quite moved on to “corrective action.”

So bear with me, invisible audience. I’m working on it – communication, that is. I’d say that I’ll let you know how it goes, but who knows if I’ll be able to tell you?

Love and You Should Know Kisses,