Of late I am walking around with a forced a smile on my face. I have some facial issues (Bell’s palsy) that pushed me down this road but I am finding it to be an interesting experiment.
Many years ago I took a battery of psychology tests for a friend studying to be a psychologist. The results came in and they weren’t pretty— the upshot saw me as mildly depressed with some sociopathic tendencies. “Get thee to a therapist” she implored.
While none of this surprised me, twenty years later I still wonder about why I am the way I am. In many ways I am my father’s son and I worry about the legacy I am sharing with my children. That basically accurate diagnosis stays with me and I can see a bit of it in my daughter who can show flashes of melancholy.
On a certain level I am a fairly happy go lucky fellow. I live a life of my own design answering only to one higher authority—my wife. Yet, there is always a yet. While I am fairly happy go lucky I can also be a bit nuts. I have two fairly distinct personas.
There is the teacher side of me who is always in command of any sized crowd while managing to display a fair amount of wit and charm. And then there is the socially awkward and uncomfortable me the minute class ends.
There was a “twenty ways you know you are an introvert” meme going around the internets recently and it was scary the way I fit the bill even though people look at my cross eyed if I tell them that.
The truth of it is I can’t remember a party I have attended where I felt comfortable, or introductory conversations that don’t make me squirm miserably.
It’s who I am and I know that I am not alone. The world is full of neurotics who are most comfortable when wearing an alternate skin such as yoga teacher or character in a play.
Anyway the point of this is that I have an awkward melancholic side that is far too comfortable with its role in my life.
I’m not unfriendly, and I can be very close with individuals and intimates, I am just not at ease in groups of people I don’t know. Of late I have been tiring of this character and in an attempt to change from the inside out; I am trying my best to walk around with a smile on my face. Not a real one but one I am creating in the hopes of it becoming a permanent fixture.