When I look in the mirror at home, I see an alien. A very familiar alien, of course, but still: alien. I've always though I looked like an alien, and I always thought it was easy to explain why.
I am different than anyone else. Of course I am! I know what's inside my head and no one else's so of course I'm different. I am... complex*.
But yesterday I was taking the T to my class after work and I looked in the reflection of the door and I didn't immediately recognize myself. Then I felt like I saw myself the way other people must see me, at least outwardly (duh). And do you know what? I am pretty much exactly like everyone else. Yeah, I know, it's mind-blowing.
At my class I sat on the far left side of a row so that I could use the left side arm rest as a desk (there are only righty "desks" on the seats). Two girls came in a little late and sat next to me. They were both young and pretty and chatting with each other. I immediately thought the one sitting next to me was a little stand-offish. She was having trouble because she (also a lefty) was trying to balance a coffee and two books on her righty desk and get a muffin (I assume her dinner) out of the Peet's Coffee bag. I smiled at her**. She smiled at me and we made comments to each other about the cramped, righty-centric nature of our space. Then she offered me some of her muffin. I am an asshole.
But here's the thing: the reason I assumed she was stand-offish, and the reason I assume anyone who's younger, prettier, smarter, more out-going, better at sports (the list goes on) is stand-offish is because I am simply preparing myself for the inevitability of them not liking me. It's so much more palatable for me to assume that a new person is just kind of a superior jerk than to believe there would be any good reason for them not to like me.
Do you know how many times these people are actually superior jerks? Almost never. I cannot actually remember more than one or two times in the last ten years when one of these assumptions was accurate. Why then WHY do I keep doing it? I don't know. Habit?
To sum up: GAH. I should really work on this.
*Yes! I am saying no one else is complex! I know it's wrong, but there it is!
**As a child we had a barn, but I was not raised in it.