05 June, 2010

Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don't

There's a thing of buffalo chicken dip in the fridge, and I'm making way too big a deal about it (in my mind). But the fact that I'm making such a big deal about it is a key example of my anxiety and how it affects my life. The problem, as I see it, is that the dip is being consumed too slowly. Now why is this a problem? It's a problem because, if it's consumed too slowly, then my dad may get the impression that it's not well-liked (or so I conjecture). Now why should that be a problem? Indeed it should not, because it's really not a big deal, is it? Whether or not someone likes buffalo chicken dip is not the fulcrum upon which the entire world hinges, is it?

But it's a problem because there have been some assumptions made. Or rather, there would be some assumptions made. I like buffalo chicken dip (or maybe just chicken wing dip, come to think of it) - this is a fact, and this was made known previously. But I like the homemade dip better than the store-bought kind. This may or may not be known, it may even be self-evident (homemade things are usually better). But the problem comes up on account of the fact that though I do also like the store-bought dip (albeit not as much as the homemade dip), I have discovered that my stomach doesn't really agree with it. I don't know why, it might be because of the strong concentration of buffalo flavoring (which is really more than necessary), but regardless, on the topic of store-bought buffalo chicken dip (I don't recall having this problem with the homemade kind, though I may not have had it often enough to tell), my tongue and my stomach do not agree.

Thus, though I like it, I am hesitant to eat very much of it. But because of this, I fear my dad may get the impression that I don't like it, thus prompting an expression of "but I thought you liked it". I don't like giving off false impressions. I'm also not very good at communicating my feelings clearly (off the page). Were I to bring it up, I'd undoubtedly make it sound like much more of a big deal than it really is (because in the grand scheme, and to anyone else but me, it's really not a big deal). But then I risk having my feelings minimized. To get a reaction of, "oh, that's fine, it doesn't matter" completely belittles the fact that I've spent way too much time agonizing over it. Not that I would want it to become a big deal, but I've already invested so much mental energy into it...and ultimately, I'm afraid to admit that it's a less than sane, fully well-adjusted thing to do (invest so much mental energy into it, that is).

So if I don't say anything, I have this mental image of my dad's disappointment and confusion at not being able to read my mind, thanks to my lack of communication skills (scenario: damned if I don't); but if I do say something (which is not easy for me to do in the first place), I risk encouraging my own belief that it is a big deal (by being big enough to mention it), and simultaneously widen the rift between my feelings (it's a big deal), and the normal reaction I'm likely to receive (it's not a big deal), further cementing that gap (scenario: damned if I do).

I can't just forget about it, because every time I look at the dip, I get the same feeling. A feeling of guilt, about not being able to control other people's minds - i.e., having them understand my feelings without having to communicate them - while on the other hand not having the courage to communicate those feelings. I know the solution is just to communicate, regardless of the reaction - and it's the only way to set my mind at ease. Yet it's still an immensely difficult thing for me to do. And the more I agonize, the harder it gets, because the bridge between my thinking it's a big deal and it really not being a big deal widens ever more.

It's like having to crawl through a tunnel of millipedes. It's already terrible as it is, but the longer you agonize and wait, the more millipedes enter the tunnel, making it worse and worse. There's no "good" option. Just a single bad option that gets worse and worse the longer you put it off.


  1. Father, ought I bear my naked feelings?

  2. I guess this might not help you, but he buys the dip for me. He knows [i]I[/i] like it. He *originally* bought it with you in mind, but since then I've made *my* feelings for it known. You have nothing to worry about in that regard. It's all on me.

    All I can say is, as Alvin Lee once said, I've been there too. I feel the exact same way about various little things, and it tears me up inside. I mean, you can imagine, someone like me... my taste changes every couple of days. I could give myself nightmares thinking about how Dr. Pepper started hurting my throat and I switched to Pepsi.

    But what am I supposed to do, sacrifice my happiness for some mundane, vain little thing? It'd be one thing if I could sacrifice my happiness for his, but that's not the issue here. And this is probably the first thing that inspired me towards autonomy. If my vast peculiarities result in *me* having to waste money, no problem. I just don't want to have a chance at effecting anyone else in any way. But it's not so much of a big deal, as you know but apparently can't let yourself believe.

    Wouldn't it be easier to tell him how you feel in an Email? I do that sometimes. You can even ask for no response, if you want.

    In the grand scheme of things I believe this is what they call crippling neurosis. It's the kind of thing that essentially ruined the first 20 years of my life. But I got over it, really. I only occasionally have those kinds of thoughts now. How did I do it? I'm not entirely certain. And you probably don't even care to hear, but I like talking about myself.

    Getting a job helped *a lot*. First of all, rubbing elbows with the tireless working class every day let's me put a whole lot of things in perspective and helps me to understand that it really ISN'T a big deal if somebody doesn't happen to eat some dip. But, more importantly, working those 50 hour weeks, 12 hour shifts and such made me feel like my debt was being fulfilled...

    Also, doing drugs helped a lot. Has drug use decreased my brain's ability to function? I suppose so. But in the best way imaginable. If I was not stupid when I was getting As in college, I am not stupid today. I have a superior ability to articulate myself today, though my brain works at a much slower speed. In other words, what I'm saying is... neurosis is a malfunction of the brain. You might see it as a red pill situation, but I didn't turn my back on the truth. The neurosis is not reality. The neurosis possesses no iota of virtue, depth or insight. I see more of the truth today than I did when I was wrapped up in one-hundred-million miles of psychological red tape. I have no doubt that you will, too, once you emerge from the tunnel.

  3. I'm well aware of this "quirk" of yours which is why every dinner with you is peppered with questions about the food and what you think of everything.

  4. One more thing... it's your right to not say anything to him about what you think, but if the chips don't fall your way, it's pretty much your own fault...