Tuesday, October 27, 2015

No, the Target cashier doesn't need to hear the gory details of your PMS

How much is too much? Don't ask me because I'm still trying to figure that out. I've always operated under “honesty is the best policy”. Perhaps, if someone told me I could still be honest without telling my entire life story to perfect strangers, I wouldn't be sitting here writing this today.

So much for warnings.

Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely been dishonest. Its just difficult. Most of the instances were when I felt forced, unsure, or backed into a corner and otherwise pressured to tell someone what they wanted to hear in order to be left alone. I don't commend my dishonesty, but I do understand why at the time it was necessary.

Nonetheless, if you are like me, brutal honesty has caused more of a issue with your relationships than lying ever has. Things like social norms, unsaid rules, nuances, couth and all things deemed appropriate....I have no space for them. Mostly I don't know when is the best time to shut the hell up.

In grad school I remember discussing a term called “disclosure”. In therapeutic terms that means revealing certain things about yourself as a practitioner to a patient in order to gain a mutual understanding and form a line of trust. Like, “Hey, I know what you are going through having lost your dad, my favorite uncle who raised me passed when I was 12”,or something to that effect. Not too much but just enough, my professor said.

I distinctly remember causing a mini uproar in the classroom when I raised my hand to tell him I felt there shouldn't be limits set on disclosure. I felt it should be at the practioner's discretion. Well, we spent an hour going back and forth while his face engulfed in flames and my classmates looked on with their mouth spread wide open. Had he possessed the power to throw me out of the program, I believe at that moment ,he may have done just that. Lucky for me there's such a thing as freedom of speech and straight A's.

I don't know any way to redeem myself for my thought processes, or if it's even necessary, but for all intents and purposes, it is a good idea to learn when saying too much is just too much.

Lately I find following a general rule of thumb to be somewhat helpful. During interactions, if it is my turn to exchange conversation, before I go ahead and spew, I stop for a second and ask myself the question, “did the person ask for this specific information, and also, could I save any of it for a later conversation perhaps?” It sounds simple enough.

The way my brain works, it is difficult for me to decipher peoples intentions in conversation, so it has become a habit to just spill any and all relevant information and then some, on said topic of conversation so I can be sure I covered everything. Basically I feel better having told you a detailed account of every time I have had the flu including the amount of times I puked, sneezed, coughed up green shit , and didn't shower or brush my teeth for a week.

I want you to know I understand and this is the way I know how.

Unfortunately this isn't always effective. In cases with friends and family I can get away with more. They are accustomed to the fine tuned wiring system inside my cranium. With strangers , such as prospective dates, future employers on job interviews, parent teacher meetings, or on line at Target, I have implemented what I like to call “neuromode” (Neurotypical is a term used to describe those who are not on the Spectrum) I have studied peoples behavior since I was a small child. I can and do adapt into a more socially acceptable version of myself when the occasion calls for it. Like a chamelion. I would probably make an incredible actor actually. Anyway, if I'm buying maxi pads at Target,(tampons frighten me) and the cashier asks how I'm doing, he/she is not looking for me to explain the details of my cramps, bloating, and fatigue due to the obvious incidence of it being that time of the month. Its okay to say “I'm fine thank you” and keep it moving even, if at that moment you are feeling like a raging bulldozer. Go home and eat a snickers. Problem solved. (tampon info too much?)

Something I have always admired about people is when they posses the ability to be very frank in speaking. Those types of people are soothing. We can totally hold hands and sail across the same wavelength. (just kidding I hate holding hands).

In my observations I have noticed that very few people actually posses this ability. People have this knack for dancing around the truth. Why??? I don't now if I will ever understand that. It's like walking around the snack table at a party with your stomach howling like a wildebeast. (they howl right?) Like “hey I'm just carousing”. I wanna scream “cut it out!!! grab that fistful of chips and stuff your face damnit!!!” What the hell ??? I could go on and on about things I have noticed and picked up about people. But then I would be revealing my secret super powers, and I need to keep those for myself. It's how I survive. You gotta go do your own legwork.

Regardless, say it how I meant it is both a blessing and a curse. Like all superheros and their powers, I am learning when and where to use them so I can reach my full potential. So if you see me gazing off to the side during a conversation, that's just my way of calibrating and contemplating the best way to exercise my abilities to address the situation. No worries, I may not speak body language, but I'm fluent in sincerity . Until next time. Stay Weird.

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