June 13, 2007

Over-compensation

I'm a shy girl, seriously. When faced with social situations, large and small, my first instinct is to run, followed closely by urges to hide and then do some first-class cowering.

Now, I know that those of you who know me are thinking, "Huh? Shy? Megan? But she's so... LOUD."

And I am. Sometimes I even surpass loud and make it all the way into just thoroughly obstreperous. It's called over-compensation. Here's how the basic thought-process goes.

"Oh, no, here we go again. People. People, everywhere. And they want to talk. Oh, look, it's the funny guy, he's so funny! He's always on the ball. Crap, everything I say is going to make me sound like a fourth grader. Oh, no, it's the cool girl, the girl who's so smooth and together and always, always, ALWAYS on top of EVERYTHING. I'm going to come across like someone out of Little House on the Prarie."

And then...

"Come on, you can do this! Just smile! See, you smiled, they smiled, everyone's smiling. Go ahead, say something, anything, it'll be fine. These are nice people, they invited you here, for goodness sake, I mean how bad could it be? Just say the first thing that comes into your head. Go with the flow..."

Sigh. And THEN...

"OH MY GOD. WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? THESE ARE NICE, NORMAL PEOPLE AND YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT (insert some totally inappropriate topic for the occasion, i.e. brazilian shaving technique, reproductive and/or digestive system irregularities, my parent's open marriage, girl-on-girl love, how much I hate the president, etc)!! Good God, woman! Save yourself, play it off, somehow!"

And that's when the over-compensation begins. Instead of just wincing slightly at my inevitable social gaffe, I start to roll with it, as if by elaborating on the embarrassing topic I can somehow make everyone see how totally NORMAL it actually is. I get louder, too, and usually can be depended upon to really dive in with some big arm movements. Depending on how nervous I was to begin with and how socially staid the situation is, I can sometimes work myself up to a full Jerry Lewis-worthy scene of disaster in less than 30 minutes.

So I keep going. And going and going. I'm the Energizer Bunny of social awkwardness.

Unfortunately for those around me, I don't just leave it with the awkward conversational faux pas. I'm known in many circles for my inappropriate hugging and kissing and wild laughter as well. Throw in some alcoholic treats and all bets are off.

I expect my children to ban me from attending school functions by the time they hit 1st grade.

This is what happens when a natural introvert attempts to mix with the trendy extroverts of society. Complete and total over-compensation.

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