One of the many things that I struggle with on a daily basis is knowing how to appropriately interact with other people. At an early age it became abundantly clear to me from others reactions that I was at the least strange, and at most deranged, so I quickly learned to keep my thoughts to myself. I bottled everything up inside and as a result, exploded some time in high school and didn’t stop yammering for years. At times even now, I tend to pontificate or dominate certain conversations without meaning to or even being completely aware of it. Worse yet, at times I am legitimately unable to stop myself from talking even when I want to. I hear myself going on and on about some bizarre topic and simply have no control; it feels like when some drunk has cornered me outside the bathroom at a bar and just will not shut the fuck up, and if that’s how I feel I cannot imagine how much worse it is for my listener, which just intensifies my anxiety and makes it that much harder for me to regain control. If all that were not bad enough, my blunt openness, brutal honesty, and twisted sense of humor will often offend, confuse, or make people feel uncomfortable. I recognize that to some degree everyone, even the unafflicted, experience this sort of social insecurity. That recognition however, does nothing to counteract the intense anxiety I feel when faced with even the most commonplace and menial interactions such as speaking to cashiers; let alone speaking with bosses, police officers, or other authority figures. Ironically, it is most likely this anxiety that causes most of the awkward exchanges I experience. Then, my anxiety is compounded by reviewing any awkward interactions over and over again in my head ad nauseam. That is, of course, assuming I am not in one of my frequent manic states. At those times I almost revel in my ability to deftly offend, confuse, or make people feel uncomfortable. Ironically, I have found that many people find my antics at such times to be quite entertaining. The result is that most of the people who know me would describe me as either strange and unusually quiet, or wild and boisterous. It is a wonderfully rare thing for me to find someone with whom I am comfortable enough to simply have a “normal” conversation. It is for those beautiful souls with dark sparks that I am eternally grateful.