Naturally

My confidence wanes and rises like the tide, a constant shifting liquid that becomes over abundant only to recede and reveal the shallow muck of a newly exposed shoreline. I am perhaps a neurotic person.

I recall talking with a girl when I was 22 and giving her my brief life story: I had just graduated from Stanford and was working in online media for a television station while also interning at an internet startup. And you? I asked. She sheepishly told me she worked as a waitress… and, she added, was thinking of taking some classes at the community college. It hadn’t occurred to me that despite having no money, I was already white collar. I had jumped a rung on the ladder without noticing. And I felt guilty for making her feel like her waitressing was an admission of being beneath me. I felt like an ass. “That’s nice…”

I use the term neurotic quite broadly. I mean to refer to the stubborn idiosyncratic tendencies, social anxiety, and general awkwardness that is contradictorily matched with an uncompromising confidence of character that informs my personality. As the years pass and the layers of bark grow thicker, all of that nervousness and self-consciousness does fade—but still at the center is that young, delicate sapling, the remnants of childhood and teenage years that form the basis of one’s character. I was quite a loser in high school, to oversimplify it, and as such I will always be that loser at the base of my intuition, the core of my personality, regardless of the ever growing layers of experience. I was, however, a successful loser.

Naturally the Groucho Marx joke rings true: I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me as a member. I think the same sentiment is threaded throughout Scott Fitzgerald’s work as well: romanticists tirelessly pining for all the love and decadence in the world, and never finding satisfaction because their desires exist only as a dream of what may lay beyond the horizon, the possibility of a reality that is not there. Measured against the dream, nothing will ever be good enough. How terribly sullen.

I recall meeting a girl for drinks one night. The anticipation, naturally, was by far the sweetest wine in what seemed like a romantic tryst. After spending merely a few minutes with her, however, I was already bored with her plain personality and spent the remainder of the evening trying to be polite as she agreed with everything I said and laughed at my jokes without hearing them. Poor thing to face my unreasonableness–doing everything she could to be liked, and me, so easily and judgmentally dismissing her as not being interesting enough. I felt like an ass for wanting better. Naturally the only girl for me is one that deserves much better than my company. “That’s nice…”

As the tide washes out I better bring this to a head. I quit my job last year because it became plain and uninteresting and no longer kindled my curiosity. Living somewhat ascetically has afforded me some time while I try to find a new path forward, though paying the rent from my savings becomes increasingly painful every month. Ostensibly I came to Los Angeles because I enjoy screenwriting; I am oddly confident that I will find success within, say, twenty years. I’m not worried about that. What will fill my next twenty weeks, however, is quite naturally terrifying because you can only reside for so long in a life raft.

But quite naturally, I have deep wells of confidence and worry, like a shivering pocket Chihuahua yip-yip-yipping at a Great Dane.

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3 thoughts on “Naturally

  1. I have been both the girl who was a waitress and the bored date left feeling blah and wondering about all the more productive things I could’ve done with my time.

    I, too, wonder where my confidence disappears to when it seems, at times, it can also suddenly appear like the hero of the story swooping in to rescue the beautiful woman from a burning building.

    I worry daily if the little facts about myself – I’m technically a high school drop-out, I have an eating disorder, I don’t think I’m “good” at marriage – will be the predominate things people see (even when those things aren’t really well-known about me) or if they’ll delve deeper into the things that make me confident – I’m actually more educated than many of my peers, I can still enjoy a perfectly nice dinner without guilt, I’ve managed to be with the same wonderful man for 11 years… What will I be judged on? Who will take the time to both let me pick their brain while being interested in mine, as well.

    Andy, you’ve always been very facinating to me. I see and understand (and adore) your unique quirky-ness and at the same time see you as a perfectly “normal” guy. I crave relationships (friendships) that consist of people I can’t immediately “read” or vulcan mind-meld with, and you’re one such person.

    Our paths happily crossed on something I seem to remember that was once called “Seesmic,” but having now revisited your blog, I see what I’ve been missing out on in understanding and getting to know you better.

    Maybe I’ll start lurking here more, because getting to know you better would be awesome.

    I think, “that’s nice…” but also “that sounds like a grand adventure…”

    See you in the cyberworlds – I’m planning to be here more often…

    • Ahh, hi Ms. Krissi, thanks for taking the time. The truth is that I’m actually a very normal, boring person, but it’s fun to think about all these quirks 🙂

      I’ll try and write more than once a month here, but I’m not an easy fish to catch, you know!

      • *bows* It was my pleasure 🙂

        …and your version of the ‘truth’ doesn’t match mine… we shall have to discuss, soonish.

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