4 Things I Feel Acutely Self-Conscious About

Everyone has rules. Rules which if broken produce feelings of shame, embarrassment and self-consciousness. Painful rules. Unfortunately – we break these rules ourselves. We get drunk and do things for which we’re embarrassed. We realize the next day that we were Out Of Control and that we did things for which we don’t want to be held accountable. We break our own rules and we see these instances as glaring and under scrutiny by all.

The weird thing about this painful experience of breaking the rules, and it’s subsequent shame, for me, is that my experience of it is anticipatory – I find myself always checking my behavior in an effort to later avoid the experience – and retroactively – the next day, I realize the extent to which I involved myself in such personally embarrassing behavior, and feel terrible for it.

It’s weird that my self-consciousness is experienced anticipatorily and retroactively because I don’t feel self-conscious/ self-shamed/ embarrassed while I engage in the actual behavior that I later find unseemly. In effect, there’s this weird threshold of perception/ non-perception; before I cross the threshold, I’m aware of myself, but once I cross the threshold, I become unaccountable to myself. While this level of engagement is perhaps something to be celebrated and strived for, and maybe something as normal as what it means to get drunk, it is troubling for the control/ perfection/ insecure freak, because it represents a point in time when one is Out of Control and can thus do things that violates his sense of being a Good Person.

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4 Things I Feel Acutely Self-Conscious About

Talking About Yourself: Talking About Yourself is the act of repeatedly focusing the conversation on yourself, your achievements, and points at which you secretly believe you are superior to your conversational partners, to the extent that the focus of the conversation – because of your repeated conversational ‘steering’ – is you, over 50% of the time.

The weird and sort of crawly and terrible thing about Talking About Yourself is that when you later perceive that you have done so, you perceive yourself as having done so in the most underhanded, self-serving, manipulative way. You come to realize that you dropped the most subtle hints in an effort to steer the conversation to a prompt where it was simply natural and even called-for to drop some achievement of yours (which you had been, vaguely, semi-consciously, planning on dropping in all along – which is sooooo weird when you think about it – it’s almost as if you were possessed by this strange spirit of which you were both aware and unaware). So – it’s not only horrifying that you had been entirely obsessed with slipping (quite possibly ‘pre-ordained’) information about yourself into the conversation, it’s scary that you tricked people into asking for it.

This subtleness or trickery by which you view yourself as having ‘gotten in’ certain points is a terrible thing to realize, because from here it’s natural to deduce that the entire conversation was actually like an unconscious execution of a self-aggrandizing agenda (or, conversely, an unconscious execution of a please-like-me-please-like-me agenda), which generally just points to the fact that you are an inauthentic human being. And how easy it is to be thus ashamed.

Being Logically Defeated: Being Logically Defeated is basically a point in any conversation where someone proves your logic either incorrect or morally obtuse in a manner that leaves the accuracy of the attack so undeniable that attention actually (unintentionally) turns for a moment – silently – toward the fact that you knew that you failed to comprehend something in an intellectual manner but acted like you actually comprehended it and were thus caught misrepresenting (i.e. lying about) your knowledge on a subject. And so it is revealed in front of the entire table that you are inauthentic.

How embarrassing, honestly. Who knows if anyone pays as much attention to this shit as I do (I know, probably not, probably I’m an idiot that just doesn’t know how to live, who needs to Get Over Himself, yes, perhaps I need to Get Over Myself) but when it happens, it can be excruciating. The baffling problem – as is the problem with all of these behaviors – is that it’s almost like you’re simply unable, sometimes, to control yourself from acting as if you know about something you actually don’t know anything about – while, both before and after the offending event, you actively checked yourself and attempted to ensure that you didn’t misrepresent yourself and what you knew.

Being Overly Nice to Someone While Drunk: Being Overly Nice to Someone While Drunk is reserved solely for someone you have Just Met That Night. This person appears to be someone you can eventually Bro Down with, or something. Being Overly Nice to Someone While Drunk occurs when you are simply that – simply Overly Nice – and become focused on assuring your new acquaintance that Hanging Out will happen in the very near future, probably tomorrow, and then regularly for the rest of both your lives (and that it will be as great and seratonin-flooded as you feel right now), despite the fact that you’ve just met, and despite the fact that you are aware of, on some conscious level, the fact that what you’re saying probably won’t happen because people talk like this all the time when they’re drunk. (Sometimes this is even mentioned, like “Oh people say this shit all the time when they’re drunk, but I’m serious, we are getting LUNCH tomorrow! Yeah! Let me get your number!”).

(For example, the other night I became unexplainably fixated on grilling the idea into this guy I had just met that we were going to like, have brunch a lot. Not just brunch tomorrow, but just have brunch in general, like it would become this matter of course or staple of our shared lives during which we enjoyed each others’ mutual company, and life would be so great. And I don’t even do this with my girlfriend or my best friend. I don’t do this with anyone.)

The problem with Being Overly Nice to Someone While Drunk is just the simple, obvious level of how so-incorrect you were when you promised that you would be friends forever. That alcohol took over and got you emotional and then the next day you were like “Nope, never actually going to follow through with that.” The shared – between you and your acquaintance – knowledge that you broke your word which you were so emphatic about proclaiming just 12 to 24 hours before. Such shared knowledge leads to an almost-intuitive shared deduction that you weren’t saying what you actually meant, which is basically a form of lying, and when one is caught in a lie, a natural thing for that person to do is to feel ashamed.

Talking Too Much: Talking Too Much is the act of talking so much in a public situation that you begin to appear unseemly, overenthusiastic, and belligerently unaware that those around you have simply begun to nod or humor you in a way that indicates exhaustion with the mere act of listening to what you’re saying. This of course leads to a sort of silently shared experience of the direct and conscious knowledge (among those around you) that you are actively breaking the social rules and that it is making everyone else uncomfortable. Talking Too Much is either an occurrence that’s simply imagined (only after the event) or a very real occurrence in which the people involved are acutely aware that you’re overextending your social liberties.

The ‘rule’ regarding Talking Too Much is applicable in the presence of almost anyone – your family, your close friends, and people you’ve just met. What’s paradoxical is that you sometimes find yourself holding back in conversation, just to maintain the appearance of a person that does not Talk Too Much, which makes you, again, in essence (in some situations), an inauthentic human being, at least regarding conversational output. That, when realized later, can produce a painful, uncomfortable, and troubling sort of self-awareness.

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This last section will be written in an effort to defend myself from all those who may, reasonably, consider this article as a jumbled rant written by someone obsessed with himself and who needs to Get Over Himself fast and who probably spends too much time thinking about his surroundings to enjoy himself at all. Or from those who, reasonably, will see themselves in this article and react negatively and reject it entirely so as to separate themselves from the relative truth of what it means to be a social creature living among other social creatures who all recognize and abide strictly by a clear set of social conventions. To those people, I will say this, in all truth: to experience moments of social inauthenticity does not mean you are a Bad Person, and I enjoy myself just fine. TC mark

image – Annie Hall

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  • JD

    are you a capricorn?

    • Asforteri

      aaha, great assessment, i'm a capricorn and smell myself all over this.

      • Brandon

        i am PISCES

      • http://twitter.com/r0semarym Rosemary McClure

        argghhh im a capricorn and DITTO

  • Justin

    get out of my head!!

  • xtos

    this guy fucking knows me

  • http://twitter.com/lukebourassa Luke Bourassa

    I sometimes wish I could go back into a conversation and edit it so I can make myself feel as though I acted like less of a jackass, even if the other person would honestly say that they didn't feel I was.

  • EmiliaBedelia

    i read this entire article assuming a very fast and nervous/neurotic voice. in short, i read this entire article like woody allen would read this entire article. left me feeling like i wanted to hug the guy who wrote it. brunch dates are such an adorable thing to aspire to. what is the point of this comment? i think, bgs, you are on your way to becoming a reasonably self-conscious human being. we should all be this self-conscious. it's a good balance. maybe get a tape recorded a la woody allen in manhattan. lie on the couch. talk into it.

    • http://tattoosnob.com Julene

      I also heard Woody's “voice” while reading this.

  • Kaitlyn_Flynn

    Totes Talked Too Much when I met you

  • ricky schitltiiz

    ay yo BSG this is a good article which i`m sure a lot of people can relate to, i certainly can, but for number 3 i think you mean being overly nice to someone while on m

  • Self-conscious-defeating

    Story of my life.

  • Dismal

    bleak ass self-awareness

  • http://twitter.com/icameasgold Tanya Donascimento

    I am self conscious about all these same things. Especially making drunk new best friends. Also talking about myself way too much and always bringing the conversation back to me. Usually I do the latter when I'm drunk.

  • http://twitter.com/enbo Emi Matsui

    YEA! setting up the result as JUST FINE is maybe one yes. or it should to be UNAWARE of JUDGING this decision. or even be NOT aware of UNAWARE of JUDGING this decision. and even be not aware of it. or is it really TURE is it really OKAY to decide as JUST FINE? but what is NOT okay, what would happen if it is prohibited to set up the result as JUST FINE?????? but it seems maybe really stupid to keep feeling just SORRY for MYSELF/THEMSELVES, as if like SELF-CHARMING manner. really btw WHY do @person have to explain to make sense to their life, detail actions?????? why do @person fell into thinking such thing? yea. awareness is not fine. or it is something like deciding self-own-philosophy. @person can stay in, or get out of it this philosophy, maybe this decision is on their own, at some level, or who or what thing or society system don't allow some self-own-philosophy? since society allow people some FREEDOM at some level, something is vaguely free. people don't need to have particular religion, or day job. maybe letting people feel sorry themselves is one thing to keep society's peace and order, making tons of innocent sheep who feel sorry themselves, and this society morally mood lead society, maybe some people in general would blame someone/group who is out of this rule of society morally mood. and maybe they begin to war each others. it is maybe stupid, they do war for make world in peace and order in their self-own-philosophy rule. they spend their life for just war. their own life history is just war.
    and will they try to go SOLUTION way! by their self-own-philosophy??????……………………….maybe their self-own-philosophy has been PRECISELY wrong. or it is just fine. who knows about who knows.
    maybe @person who write fictional story/writing based on their experience, daily experience, by self-obsessive, self-observed, self-aware manner is, something. and as if they fall into act like they make their life to story is somehow they are writing fictional story/writing in the form of their own reality life. they make their own reality life itself into fictional writing/story by their own hand, as if they control their own reality life. and so it look like their own reality life is like phony fiction. or it is indeed phony fiction. @person is maybe acting own act in own reality life. but even it is phony fiction, as long as @someone spend time on this phony fiction, @person is actually spending time in this phony fiction, which this time is actual time and actual experience. @person make their own reality life into the form of phony fictional story/novel(in this case, “form” means not on paper or imagination, but real life, like their whole life is) and which is actual experience. as if their whole life or some particular life terms/events are one piece of work made by @someone, also maybe there are some mysterious power, some unexpected disaster, lucky, bad fortune into it too.
    maybe @someone can be away from this nightmare of writing fictional story/writing in the form of their own reality story by self-obsessive, self-observed, self-aware manner, or can keep stay in. it is fine, it is wrong, it is self-decision, or it is what. @someone don't need to corner and plunge itself to some particular place, if it is possible. maybe precisely, @someone have been wearing phony fake mask since some point or since itself(himself/herself) was born. so it is just fake phony identity. it is just false virtual spurious form. @someone's physical body and mental spirit/mind/emotion are precisely false virtual spurious form. or it is all wrong.
    maybe someone is just hanging out with thought, because there is nothing else to do. filling blankness like when children got new own desk and start collecting some favorite things into their own box. playing with making messing up. but it seems what. setting up some funny rule, but funny is not funny when it is not funny.
    when @someone have theory for their self-obsessed life, daily life, and really take action based on theory, it is something looking phony. but there are actual life in this phony form. but @someone don't need to stuck into it, or @someone don't need to feel guilty(caused by apologize show on TV) and commit suicide, self-obsessed life isn't crime, or is it crime? one's life is having more potential than being one self-observed life and one particular self identity and one perspective.
    but maybe this self-observed life can potentially cause nervous breakdown. and probably after all solution is what. after all is it possible @someone don't hate anything or don't have any negative thought? to save itself(himself/herself), is probably almost impossible. how many people are there in this whole world, who don't hate anything? maybe it is just fine to have hate-thing. and it is fine to not be self-saved and self-redeemed.
    life is entertainment……..saying some proverb.

    • Terrified

      bro,,,

    • http://twitter.com/r0semarym Rosemary McClure

      tl;dr

  • HarveyFox

    This is one of the best articles I've read on here in awhile. Mainly because I relate so much and am just as, or more so, consciously aware of these things and more (usually so conscious I don't even notice these aforementioned things). I think I broke the self-centering rule now.
    It's a paradox – try to f0llow one social rule, break others.

  • MsCandyApples

    Get out of my head. I'm a girl, but otherwise, get out of my head.

  • http://profiles.google.com/mopeyprincess mopey P

    “The baffling problem – as is the problem with all of these behaviors – is that it’s almost like you’re simply unable, sometimes, to control yourself from acting as if you know about something you actually don’t know anything about….”

    Why are there so many men like this? Thank you for shedding a little light on your male-bravado-bullshit-mode thought process, but work on squashing this bad habit dudes, and you'll feel like less of an ass, because you'll be less of an ass.

    As a successful and educated female, I can't even count the number of times I've had to sit staring while some dude patronizingly explains something to me that I know more about than he does, and I pick my battles, but for the particularly obnoxious ones… when he finally shuts his mouth, I will definitely find a polite way to make him realize that he should be feeling self-conscious.

    • Gross

      you're obnoxious

    • angelikap

      Urgh whatever I am a girl and I do all this crap. He's not trying to justify it he's writing about post-socialising paranoia which I'm fairly sure everyone gets who isn't incredibly arrogant and thinks that the sun shines out of their own arse and they have NEVER made any kind of social faux pas or looked like a bit of a douche on any level.

      And if you think that you are never socially annoying even when wasted then that is much worse cause everyone is at some time or other and at least the author is aware of this fact and making a joke about it.

      Nice writing, v. funny.

  • ok

    ily

  • Angelikap

    I'm so glad it's not just me.

  • joyce

    k. you're awesome. thanks.

  • http://fastfoodies.org Briana

    Capitalization

  • RamonaCC

    I feel like it's impossible to be a completely authentic human being. Like it's too difficult. Feel like I don't even know what it means to be an authentic person.

  • fern

    ahahaha i loved this.

  • Ty

    I've been self-conscious about two of these just today.

  • Miranda

    Being Overly Nice To Someone While Drunk happens to me pretty much every weekend. On occasion it has, in fact, opened doors to friendship, but most of the time it involves awkwardly saying “hey” once in passing and never acknowledging the person again.

  • http://kumquatparadise.tumblr.com aaron nicholas

    brandon scott insightful

  • http://imlikecocaine.wordpress.com/ Ana

    I talk too much, I always talk too much, and I'm always such a hippie when I'm drunk. I'm socially awkward quite often, but I guess this is me, and people who know me find it quite funny.

  • Sarahinthesky

    This has soothed me in ways that cant be described. Knowing others can feel this way makes me feel like i am normal and not schizophrenic and not a terible person. I carry around an extreme weight that is so tiresome. In the not so distant past i viewed myself as funny, confident, smart and enjoyed conversations with anyone. Now im constantly reviewing what i said, if i hurt someones feelings, if i made conversations about myself, if im a good friend. Ive recently told my sister that human relations are so stressful to me that i will not return to this kind of life if we do in fact reincarnate. The stress of these relationships isnt so debilitating that i cant function. I can still have fun with people and i think people enjoy having me around but I do not enjoy a life where i am constantly afraid of offending someone, making them feel bad, saying something hurtful or as the author put it, being inauthentic because ive started to premedidate who ill be and what kind of loving person i want to be to my friends and family. Its exhausting and breaks my heart that this kind of awareness has touched my life. Its a tragic flaw of the human brain.

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