I'm not like other girls.
I don't think anybody is like anybody else, not really, so I don't know how much that actually means. It's mostly a joke. But annoying as I am, as unrelenting in my mode of speech and as piquant as I am in my word selection, this is the most acceptable version of myself I can project. My truest expression, the one that requires effort to manifest or maintain, is my hideous vampire Jamison Keen from Seattle By Night - a Nosferatu whose only goal is to disappear utterly.
I have a version of myself that can act as an ablative coating for social damage. I don't typically need Him - proper noun - here in the post. But I can get redlined in social situations and He will just jump out there. I had an interaction with a personal hero at PAX West that was one of the most excruciating experiences I've ever had in my life, and if I'd just been able to get Him out of there it would have been a highlight instead of a trench I'm still trying to dig myself out from four days later. Some people really don't like Him, because they can tell. I think that might have happened here. But sometimes the alternative to Him being out there is literally running out of the room and down the street.
It can make parenting difficult sometimes. I don't need anything like these tools for my own children in my own house, but the World of Extroverts - which apparently truncates to "woe" - is something they'll need to navigate and so we must find amelioration when we can. My youngest had more or less mastered it by four, but she has a different problem, which is that it's such an advantage over other people that it needs to be used consciously. For my eldest, the metaphor we use is Social Space. It's o'erlaid upon physical reality and is a realm with profound resources, and thus we must learn to travel there. Early on, they would get in trouble all the time because you're not supposed to say things that are manifestly true, and you are supposed to say things that aren't true. Yes, these are lies. Obviously. And it is to their credit that they've identified these lies, even if it is going to make living beneath their yoke a pain in the ass sometimes.
It's not my intention to engage in COVID boosterism - that's a genre that finds only rare expression - but the social environment of high school was inimical to educational and social development for my eldest. They simply didn't have the reserves to do both of these things at the same time. Doing classes from home allowed them to develop study skills, and for the last three years they've only gotten one kind of grade. It's the good one! It's the one you want.
When they went back to school in an embodied state, they joined a club without any coaxing on our part. When they were five, we were told they might not be able to create and sustain friendships, and they were with their girlfriend at PAX. A steady diet of dearly bought "expertise" about my child has made me reticent for another helping, I fear. There's a conversation we really need to have, and we're not having it. The world we live in was built by extroverts for their exclusive use, and it shows.