Working in retail came with unwanted side effects.
At the time, they were definitely necessary, but I wasn’t expecting them to extend into my personal life. I thought that I would be able to turn this “ability” on or off, depending on if it was necessary at the time or not.
I have lost the ability to express myself freely. I can say how I feel, but it’s really simplified; if I’m irate I say, “I’m upset,” even if I’m smiling and laughing at the time. When people say they ragequit something or broke a controller in a fit of anger, I honestly don’t understand it. I have never been that angry. Or maybe I have, I just don’t understand the whole, “I want to ruin my reputation and the property of myself or others because I can’t control myself” thing.
At first, it was awesome to not have visibly strong reactions. People would scream at me and I wouldn’t flinch — a few years ago, if anyone raised their voice at me, I would immediately burst into tears. At this point, it takes much more than that. I cry frequently, but mostly from movies or things completely unrelated to myself. If something happens to me, I don’t quite deny it, but I can’t react like I imagine a normal person would.
Many people that I was close to have died in the past few years, too. I never care. I mean, I care, in the way that I don’t just brush it off and pretend they never existed, but at the same time, I don’t get as upset as I probably should. The last few times people close to me have died, I haven’t cried. When my last cat died (omgcatlady) my dad called me at work and told me. I was standing in front of customers, so when he told me, all I could really say was, “Well… that’s awesome.”
“I’m at work. I can’t react.”
…and that’s pretty much how I think, now. Like, I’m too busy living; reacting is too embarrassing and weak, it could make people lose respect for me or whatever. I especially couldn’t react to things at work because I was managing people, so I felt like showing emotion except for pride, appreciation, or anger would make my employees insubordinate, especially because they were all bigger than me and I lack that whole “intimidation” thing. I still feel like that with the people that I want to respect me. I can’t break down, even with those I consider closest to me.
It still weirds me out, though, when I’m really angry at something and can’t do anything but laugh. I mean, most things I’d get upset about would end up being something I laugh at later, anyway. A couple weeks ago when a guy was throwing up in my car, I was laughing and making jokes about it. One of the people who was there asked if I was okay, said most people would be really angry about it and want to hit him or something. I had been giving the vomit guy a ride home so he wouldn’t drive drunk and get himself or someone else killed. I don’t get how it would make sense to try to hurt someone I’m trying to help, even if he made my car smell like halfway-digested alcohol and bile.
I also have a hard time comprehending the thought processes of someone who gets mad at something they won’t change. I know way more people who are angry and angsty or depressed than people who are making changes to improve their situation, which makes me appreciate my ability to delay or completely halt what could be a dramatic response. I would rather seem efficient and stoic than not, even if it confuses the hell out of people.
One of my most recent bosses pointed this out to me, actually, after working with me for a few years. Someone had done something to me that would upset anyone, and instead of yelling (as one of my coworkers frequently did) or pouting (as another did), I started laughing and trying to force a frown onto my face, which resulted in more laughter.
My coworkers asked if I was okay. I told them that I was really frustrated, but I was still giggling. My boss turned to them and explained that that’s about as angry as I get. Apparently, in the three years I had worked with him, that really was as angry as I got, even though I resented a great deal of my time with the company we were with. Instead of throwing a tantrum to try to get things done, I would get things done then spend my allotted relaxation time seething, which is (unsurprisingly) not very relaxing.
At this point, I’m not quite sure if I like or dislike that I have a hard time purging my agitation. I know that it helps in situations where I have to keep a calm demeanor, but having a sort of visceral bulimia can’t be healthy, either. Hopefully keeping this blog will help some, and perhaps the change in environment that I’ve been preparing for will, too.
For now, I will… distract myself with L.A. Noire and organization, like always.