One of the side-effects of being hypervigilant all the time, however much I've managed to reform the meaner aspects of it, is that it doesn't take much for me to be able to make a decent guess as to why people do things.

Most people do things basically just because. Even people who are being utter dickheads in all directions are usually doing it for a lot of internal reasons they don't understand or really care about, and it has nothing even remotely to do with you. You're not obliged to put up with it solely because "it's not personal", but for me, at least, remembering that makes it a lot easier to not worry about it once I've disengaged myself from the situation. One of the other desk clerks at the studio is apparently dedicated to being a suspicious, selfish, sexist cockbite -- the panoply of comments we've gotten so far is rather astounding. Isra and I have just been ignoring him, because it's not our job to teach him to be a functional adult.

It also happens when people are nice. The half-assed photographic/phonographic memory thing means I retain more details about this stuff than most. For years, sometimes. I'm good at working out what people can and cannot possibly know; it's a necessary prerequisite to developing skill in pretending to hold it together when I am in fact not. It stands out to me when someone's kind even though they can't possibly be aware I'm already having a shit day.

I get accused of reading too much into these things. I don't. I'm aware that brief words and small actions mean pretty much nothing on their end, even if they're significant on mine. I've learned the hard way that it is not a good idea to tell people about this. Ninety-nine times out of hundred, they don't even remember doing whatever it is I took note of, and the other 1%, they're vaguely creeped out by the idea that it provoked any kind of reaction other than a momentary 'oh, how lovely, thanks'.

It's difficult to feel like all your gratitude and affection are misplaced all the time. I cope mainly by cultivating a reputation for doing nice things completely without reason instead. I tell them that whenever I have a particularly bad day, I start to operate on the anti-Vogon principle that if I'm not happy, someone else should be, and stumble around doing good deeds at random. If people assume I'm just a mercurial and well-meaning nutter, they don't worry about figuring out why I do things, and they don't wrack their brains trying to figure out if I've misinterpreted something they did as being an indicator that we're better friends than we really are. Not elucidating means not having to awkwardly explain that they've got the causality backwards. I'm not nice because I presume it's going to get me more of their attention in the future; I do it because they've already done something nice for me, sometime in the past.

I can't really say I like that others never understand this is a direct reflection of an action they took. I always want to point and tell them, "Look, the things you do affect other people. Sometimes they even make a difference to perfect strangers. You had no idea this would have any consequences, and you decided to be kind anyway." This kind of fervency almost always comes off as inappropriate and misplaced, and at best, it tends to make people back away slowly. If they experience it as general, unfocused karma -- the kind that doesn't make them squirm -- then that's better than nothing.

Believe me, I have had it hammered very solidly into my head over the years that I am the one who's being bizarre and wrong here. I get it; I care too much too quickly, and I need to sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up. It weirds people out because latching onto someone rapidly and strongly and then dropping them in a torrent of anger is something that a lot of really unstable people tend to do. There's no way for anyone to know that what I do is not the first half of that nasty yo-yo except observing that I then don't follow up with the second half of said nasty yo-yo over time, which they are not at all obligated to give me. They can ask the friends I've kept for years and years, I suppose, but as that would also require them to blindly trust the rest of my tribe, and nobody in the real world ever actually feels comfortable interviewing references for friendships, I'm not holding my breath.

The emotional state is not something that I can fix, and I do my best to behave in ways that don't make other people confused and uncomfortable. Acceptance of this is one of those things I fully understand I am not going to get, and it is pointless to make life awkward for others by asking. Sometimes I just get tired of feeling like my affection is irrelevant at best and counterproductive at worst, so I turn up with something reasonably not-creepy like coffee, and try really hard not to say anything weird. I dump the rest of it into private locked entries in a LiveJournal, so no one else has to deal with it.


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