…life on the synaptic firing range

Location: Los Angeles, United States

Bent but unbroken Southern California native seeks understanding, companionship, and resonance along and off the beaten path. Teresa plays well with others and makes every effort to perform to her potential. Usually. *processed in a facility that processes nuts and nut products

Monday, January 23, 2006


In a dream last night my partner's mother proclaimed at the dinner table that I didn't love her daughter enough. By way of explanation she continued that this inadequacy wasn't really my fault because she understood that my emotional compass was broken on a basic human level. That wasn't the worst part. What was truly horrifying was that I sat beside her and silently agreed, waiting for the other shoe to drop, when the family would decide as a group what, then, should be done about me.

I harbor a fair amount of anxiety regarding my partner's family's opinion of me. I worry that they don't understand how their daughter could find me even mildly interesting or amusing, let alone how she could possibly love me. It isn't a totally irrational fear. When around her parents, I'm overcome with emotional and intellectual retardation. On more than one occasion my partner's mother has taken her aside privately and asked whether I was mentally well. And I don't think I'm on the verge of a renaissance being that I've known my partner's family for 11 years and my social skills have improved at a rate measurable only in glacial terms.

I worry sometimes that the version they see is the genuine me, that I am fundamentally different than most people, that, more to the point, I ride the emotional short bus. I talk to my psychiatrist about feeling apathetic and disconnected, and he smiles and points out that since I'm crying as I say these things I can't be nearly as apathetic as I feel, that, in fact, having feelings of any sort about apathy is an oxymoron. He says all of this in his low, dulcet, hypnotic voice, a tonal magic act almost certainly originating in psych departments, and I think, Yes, he's right, having feelings about not feeling IS feeling. And I leave his office confident that some evolution has taken place, imagining that my worry over not feeling enough is perhaps indication that I feel more than most. After all, I'd guess that most people worry about disconnect at least some of the time, and I doubt that sociopaths worry about it at all, so given that I worry about it ALL the time, I must be just about the opposite of a sociopath—if you follow me—even if, or even because, I feel like one sometimes.

But all of this "logic" crashes over my head when I find myself adrift, unable to touch some far shore where convivial people are gathered and appear to be waving me to land. I try to wave back and instead begin to drown. I surface to find that the party has moved on, that no one had really noticed me at all, and that my drowning gestures amounted to nothing more than salt in my eyes.


Blogger sporksforall said...

I think my family's perception of you is AT LEAST half a function of my family's problems. I am a good judge of character, I know who you are and I'm waiting on the shore. Just paddle on over. Love.

7:06 PM  
Blogger treecup said...

I don't know if it will make you feel any better, but you never seem unconfident. In fact, I never would have guessed. And not that my opinion sends anyone's social status points soaring, but you're certainly interesting and amusing to me!

10:15 PM  

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