That could be a long story, but I will try to shorthand some of it.
Married. One child late in life. Was asked for a divorce shortly after child was born (friends said she was just looking for a sperm donor).
Remarried to a good woman, beyond my status. We divorced, on good terms. I just wasn’t the right guy for her. I was a cowboy with a tea cup. One of us would have destroyed the other – and she deserved all her heart’s wishes. I could only hold her back. The love was (is) strong, but the spark was gone, and the stresses were just beginning to show. Better to let her find someone with more of her interests, and let me re-find myself.
Now having spent some time on my own since that divorce, I have revisited interests from my past that I had let slip away – playing the keyboard (piano), astronomy, music.
Two great revelations have arrived in the past 3 years of solitude:
1. My 24 year old child from the first marriage (only child) is transgendered. Not a bad thing – a brief shock. But she is a good person, hard working, and has never been a lick of trouble. I am honored by her and proud of her.
2. I have Severe Social Anxiety Disorder.
A brief explanation: A disorder is not a physical malady or imbalance. A Disorder is a learned trait that, in its origin was useful, even beneficial. Over time this learned behavioral pattern begins to have negative consequences. Unfortunately, it can become part of the individual’s personality, making “correction” difficult.
For me, a skinny, asthmatic, glasses wearing little kid, I was shy. People would say, “Oh, he’s shy. Isn’t that cute.” They meant no harm. But shyness became part of my personality.
So now back to the original question, why do I have this blog?
Divorced for a second time and finding myself alone, I have begun to realize I am really – REALLY – alone. Other than the students that I see (adult students) where I work, and the clerks at the local Piggly Wiggly, I do not see anyone.
Bars are useless. It takes effort just to ask the bartender for a coke. The idea of talking to strangers (male or female) is totally out of the question. The few parties thrown by my boss that I have attended, I find myself sitting in the corner in the kitchen, “people watching” – not knowing how to join in.
I realized my S.A.D. (Social Anxiety Disorder) after a large event. I am a Martial Arts Instructor. I train cage fighters as well as enthusiasts. We put on a major event and one of my students won a regional belt. The after party was held at a local bar. Knowing I would be uncomfortable at the bar, but wanting desperately to meet people and fit in, I went.
I spoke briefly with the winner and then some fans moved in, and I just faded back. In a little while I found myself sitting on the band-stage behind a monitor speaker – “people watching.” I began to ask myself, “Why can’t I join in? This should be a good time, but I just can’t.” After about 20 minutes, when the clock hit Midnight, like Cinderella, I got up and left.
I cried all the way home. Not a smart thing on a motorcycle I might add.
The next day I decided I would try and find out what was wrong with me. I searched the web for days, trying to come up with the right phrases, “Shyness, Introverted, Why can’t I join in.” Each search yielded some small clue. Eventually I found a few sites that addressed my concerns directly. I learned about Social Anxiety Disorder, Introversion/Extroversion, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, and even found a site where I could take a test called SPIN – Social Phobia INventory; a test that therapists used to get a general idea of the patient’s current state. In the SPIN, if you score between a 42 and 50, you have SEVERE Social Anxiety Disorder – I scored a 48. Three more points and I would have been in the Phobic range.
Knowledge is power. Now I knew why I made some of the poor choices of my life. Now I knew why dating was so hard. Now I knew why I had no real friends. Knowing is half the battle. You may not be in a better place – but you know why you are in that place. And finally, you have a flashlight…
Well, I’ve come to accept that at least for a while I’m probably better off as a bachelor. But I’m still a human and I have that need to touch, and be touched. That need to share a meal, and not watch every movie I go to alone. To have a conversation.
As a means of trying to deal with this state of affairs I joined an adult dating site. Which one does not matter, but suffice to say it was one where the promises of meeting ladies flowed freely. I found over time that those promises were no easier in the virtual world than they are in the real world.
However, while on that site I began blogging. It was one of the offerings to its members, and I was willing to give anything a try. I learned that the dating game, especially as made available on that site and sites similar to it, was not my thing. But the blogging was tremendously cathartic.
Being able to open up about my feelings, beliefs, concerns, observations, and life in general, had a wonderfully positive effect. I enjoy writing. Supposedly Mark Twain said, “Write what you know,” though there is no clear evidence that he coined the expression. Regardless, I found writing about my own experiences liberating and enjoyable, and I found at times that it could create a connection with others. The sort of thing a person with Social Anxiety Disorder needs.
For a period of time I used the adult dating site solely for blogging. The advantage that site has is its built in community. The dating aspects of the site were completely lost on me, and over time became more of a stress than anything else.
Ultimately I found the dating site to be a rather expensive form of blog, the controlling company charging more for the dating services which I was not using. Moreover, I began to feel a bit of a restriction in writing. Bloggers on that site are allowed to write as they wish, but the attached community applies an unscripted pressure to keep to more intimate, personal, and even sexual matters.
As such, I decided to start my own blog, this blog. It lacks the advantage of a built in community. This blog sits out in cyberspace on its own. Available to be viewed by millions, though it may be viewed by none. While it lacks that built in community, it gains a personal freedom to express as I wish with little or no peer pressure.
This blog is my own expression. It acts as journal, history, and platform. Some of the posts I place here will be rehashes of posts I wrote while on that dating site, as a way of beginning and setting the groundwork. Overtime, the blog will come into its own. I hope you enjoy.