Thursday, April 30, 2015

Who I Am (Part 1: Fundamentals)

Last year about this time, I posited the question to myself, "Who wants to know me?"  It was the name of a blog post that I never finished, but one that the events of the last few months have compelled me to complete, with a more succinct title.  There really is no telling what this will accomplish, but when it comes down to it, the only way to connect with readers, or other people in general, is to put yourself out there to be known.  I don't know if this will gain me any new fans, but at this point there's nowhere to go but up.  So, at the risk of alienating one of my 5 remaining readers, here goes...

The Introvert:  The first thing anyone should realize when getting to know me is that I am quite the introvert.  I am quiet and shy, observant and private.  I tend to keep to myself because strangers simply make me uncomfortable.  I could never be "the life of the party" or the boisterous entertainer up on stage, or that outgoing charmer introducing himself to random people.  This is likely my greatest handicap when it comes to interpersonal relationships.  It takes time for me to get comfortable with people, and I also don't always get comfortable with people, depending on who they are and how they behave.  I'm never the one to make the first step, either, and tend to avoid conversation with unfamiliar people, because it's awkward for me.

The Moralist:  The other thing that tends to hinder my social interactions is something I rarely speak about, because it is very personal and also tends to alienate just about everyone.  I have an inborn sense of morality, something that you can't learn in Sunday School or from mortal education.  I can't explain why, other than to say I was simply born with a hyperactive sense of right and wrong, which tends to invade the "gray" area that most people tend to tread.  I believe in keeping my mind clear, untouched by drugs or alcohol, I keep my body free from piercings and tattoos, and I find sexual promiscuity is disturbing (this is one reason my pending divorce is so distressing.  I still find it hard to imagine being sexual with anyone besides my wife, even though she has left me and is shacked up with another man.  Okay, perhaps a bit too much information, but this is all about who I am, after all.  And part of that is the fact that I always believed I would never have more than one sexual partner, ever.  Now I just feel sickened inside.  Perhaps I'll simply remain chaste the rest of my days).  As I was saying, the morality I follow is not derived from a religion of man, but from my own internal feelings.  Most people do things that creep me out, so I don't get that close to them.  I don't mean to say that they're wrong to do it, but I can't help what I feel, and I feel downright uncomfortable by a lot of things that people tend to call "normal."  Yes, I'm the weird one.

The Inherent Libertarian Conflict:  Checking the other side of the moral equation, I also tend to hold to many libertarian beliefs.  Despite my own morality, and inherent feeling that a lot of the stuff people do makes me sick to my soul, I still hold to the belief that people have the right to choose for themselves.  If they wish to enjoy themselves in ways that I don't enjoy or I find unpleasant to behold, then that is their prerogative, so long as they keep it to themselves and don't try to foist it upon me or anyone else who isn't interested in their lifestyle choices.  Yet this then falls to the question of how much are others affected, and what is permissible when it comes to self-harm.  It is all well and good to say a man can have his drink or toke, but we must also look to those he affects by taking that drink or smoke.  Most obviously, we need drunk driving laws to protect everyone, just as one example, but there's more than that.  There is a cause and effect to everything, and for each "responsible" drug addict or drunk, there are countless people affected by their actions in adverse ways.  It is a sociological quandary to question the impact of libertarianism upon society, while the opposite is also troubling.  You can't deny people freedom, but how do you justify the inadvertent harm they do to others?  The psychological poisoning of youth, the depreciation of productivity, the decay of civil society itself?  Damned if you do, damned if you don't.  That is where I am always at war with myself.  The greater good, and who can you save?  This also contributes to my anonymity; I often avoid getting involved with people, so I do not risk incurring their wrath when my overactive morality tries to butt into their lives.  Which leads me to...

The Hero Complex:  I've spent much of my life as an idealist.  I have fought for what I deemed to be right, and sought to better the world around me.  I try to help those who earnestly seek my assistance when I am actually capable of providing aid, though it's rare that anyone does due to my private nature.  Most people don't get close enough to know me well enough to ask, and fewer still fall in the purview of my moral imperatives to benefit from my wisdom.  So, basically, I wish I could save the world, but nobody wants me to, so I am coming to that point in life where I don't want to bother trying anymore.  I've been bitten so many times trying to do the right thing that I grow weary of sticking my neck out.  I'm sorry for those I have failed, and damn those who would damn me!

The Observer:  The plus side to my natural introversion is the ability to observe.  I pay attention to those around me.  I'm a great listener, and I have a knack for reading people.  I would have made a good psychiatrist, as I'm able to understand people's feeling, behaviors, and motivations, which comes in handy for my writing.  Though, it can also add to my introversion, as I can tell why people behave the way they do, and it can be disturbing as well.

The Alien:  When it comes down to it, all of my inherent feelings, my spiritualism, my instincts; they leave me feeling very alien among the sea of humanity.  Each day feels more and more like an anthropological expedition, where I am the outsider living among beings who are physiologically similar to me, but hardly the same.  I understand mankind, yet I so often feel separate, for I just don't think or feel the way human animals tend to.  I'm just plain different, and in the end that's the biggest thing that keeps people from knowing who I am, for how can they relate to me?

Okay, now that I've exposed a part of my soul to the world, I can sit back and relax, knowing that most people won't care, and even fewer will truly comprehend.  I commend those few of you out there who bother to give me more than a passing glance, and I thank those of you who will remain to consider me a friend, despite my intolerant weirdness.  This is merely scratching the surface, but it's the foundation of knowing me that so few people have ever even tried to see.


  1. This is such an interesting post, Martin. Not only because of your courage in defining yourself, but becuase makes me think about the nature of the internet. Can we really know people through this high-tech message-in-a-bottle world that we have created? And also, because you touch on so many profoundly and profound core human issues, including feeling outside of it all, which I think may be the crux of the human condition. Also, :) I think introverts LOVE the internet... I know I do...

  2. Martin, your post gives me so much to think about, and not only because of your brave self examination. It makes me think about the nature of the internet and humanity. Can we really know one another through this message-in-a-bottle technology? Also, you touched on so many profoundly and profound human issues including feeling on the edge of it all, which may be the crux of the human condition. Also, :), I think the internet was MADE for introverts like me...

  3. Martin,
    You can count me as a friend. You've always treated me with kindness and courtesy.
    I suffer from many of the same maladies, as do many others. Some people suffer from the opposite.
    The main thing is to recognize when you stop feeling...anything. That, my friend, is when trouble truly begins.
    I'll be around.