One reason I have been so neurotic about followers and engagement on this blog is because I am neurotic overall. My OCEAN score has a giant N. But my anxieties around this blog run deeper.
I am pretty emotionally fragile these days. Among other things, I have been out of work for six months, which has taken its emotional toll. Even though I rejected the job (as opposed to it rejecting me) and I have stopped applying for positions (as opposed to applying and being rejected) I am dealing with the prospect that there is no place in the work world for me, and that I might never earn an income again. I am spectacularly ill-suited for the job search AND the working world, which is not a good combination. At first I felt that there ought to be a niche I could happily occupy, but as the weeks have passed I am less and less confident about this.
But I have been feeling rejected in other ways as well. I have been spending a lot of time by myself. I do not have many social interactions each week. Some part of this is okay and some of it has led to loneliness.
In order to succeed in life you are supposed to have a thick skin. Mine is like tissue paper. I anger easily these days, and am quick to take offence. Then I wonder why nobody wants to hang out with me, and why I feel isolated.
My paranoia has increased tremendously. When I have the hubris to believe that others think about me at all, I am convinced that those thoughts are judgemental. When I send somebody an email and don’t get a response, I conclude that the other person does not want to correspond with me. When I make a jokey comment that falls flat, I feel I should never post online again.
I have also felt isolated online. Several of my online communities have been drying up. People don’t post for days. I post and nobody responds or even notices.
So I tried my hand at writing content for the gay blogosphere. What a mistake this has been. I have ruined my good Henley Street name. Instead of maintaining the tone of lighthearted jokester I tried to cultivate via my comments, I have revealed myself to be a fraudulent neurotic mess.
None of this really has to do with rejection, or judgement. They all have to do with perceptions of being rejected. If I applied to more jobs I might get more interviews, and I might find something tolerable. If I approached more people and initiated social conversation, I might not spend so much time alone. If I worked on my anger management (and my overall weirdness) then maybe people would not be frightened of me. If I followed up when people did not respond to me online, maybe I could determine for certain whether I am being rejected or not.
Nobody is going to rescue me from myself. It always comes down to that, doesn’t it? Either I pull myself up by my bootstraps or I continue lying here on the floor.