acute awareness

Baby doll, my baby doll
You’re just fine the way you are
So what’s the matter?
Where’s the problem?
They don’t love you
‘Cause they don’t know you
Like I do

[Mindy Smith | It’s Amazing]

Outsider
I realized today that one of my biggest strengths and weaknesses is my acute awareness of the world around me. I embrace this awareness when it comes to remembering the details, listening, reading the demeanor of others, being one step ahead in a sketchy situation.

But this same trait has a tendency to kill the magic of life. I am rarely surprised by anything. My capacity for spontaneity is markedly limited. I have great difficulty relaxing.

This is part of why I am so undefined. Because I am in constant observation of the people around me—their words, facial expressions, posture and reactions—I take very seriously the effect I have on them. Those who are more inclined to speak will not be interrupted by me, especially if there’s any chance (ANY chance) that my interjection will elicit sneers, scoffs, groans or other forms of backlash. Watching people has caused me to care far too much what they think of me. It has allowed me to truly appreciate virtually every person I’ve ever met too. But I often find the cost is too high to warrant the benefits.

I am an outskirts-of-the-crowd kind of girl. And as much as I’d like to be in the middle of that pack, I never will feel comfortable dancing alone in the center of a circle. Even with a liter of straight liquor in my system, I could not perform a one-act play in front of a group of people. Maybe that means I’ll never be fully self defined, but those things just ain’t happenin’.

Being highly aware also robs me of the ability to truly enjoy life. I ruin surprises by needing to plan ahead. I can’t wait for the details to fill themselves in—I take the reins and fill them in myself. This is why I’ll likely never be caught off guard by the approach of an interested gentleman: I will take stock of the room long before he knows I’m there, pinpoint exactly who I wish I could talk to and then plan for those conversations. And I constantly change the course of history by forcing the puzzle pieces of life into certain positions that make sense to me. I don’t wait for them to fall there on their own. This is how I start and lose friendships in less than 5 minutes. This is how I make irreparable mistakes and mar circumstances and relationships otherwise brimming with potential. Wedge one piece in where it shouldn’t be (or just wedge it in a few minutes too early) and the whole puzzle explodes, showering those involved with shrapnel. I’m still pulling slivers of my life’s mistakes from my flesh.

Am I insane? A little. I’m glad for my ability to mentally record the details of the world around me, but I’d kill for a little more spontaneity, a bit of flightiness, even a moment of truly letting go without a drop of alcohol in my system. I long for fun. I want to feel wind in my hair, raise my arms over my head, feel the warmth of sun on my face…and not be aware of that person staring at me, not think about the unfinished projects on my plate, not worry about where my life is going.

In fact, it may be more about needing to let go than just wanting. Where’s the switch? I’m ready to flip it.

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1 Comment

Filed under photography, thoughts

One response to “acute awareness

  1. “Even with a liter of straight liquor in my system, I could not perform a one-act play in front of a group of people”

    1. With a liter of straight liquor in your system, you’d likely be dead. I’ll let it slide as hyperbole though, mainly because it’s such a cool word.

    2. I was there when you sang karaoke in front of a bar full of people. There was some alcohol involved, but it still seems like a step in the right direction.

    3. I generally agree with this sentiment.

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