Monday, April 13, 2009

94 Days UP - "What's in your head, in your head, zombie, zombie, zombie..."

Two months of unemployment - and counting - can do funny things to a man's ego (and eating habits, as well, but I'll save that for another post). What once appeared to be a pretty solid resume now comes across like that embarrassing essay I wrote in high school about how "the S.A.T.'s are a flawed measurement of who you really are!!"*. You try to keep some semblance of a schedule and a budget, but the second an opportunity to leave the house presents itself, you throw on your nice sweat pants and burst out that door to hang out with friends and spend money you don't have. And don't even get me started on the prospect of dating anyone.

It's kind of funny how being a psychology major only makes matters worse. Every time I get emotional or upset, I slowly become introspective and break down the thought process that's going on in my head to make me feel the way I do, and the first two thoughts I always have are: 1) this psych major still has done nothing for my resume, and 2) I understand what's going on, so why am I still crying?

"I think I know why you've come to me. It's the glowing brain thing, right?"

Being hyper-aware of everything you're doing only gets you more in your head and winds up messing you up even more. Whenever I meet a pretty girl for the first time, there's always that little man in my head screaming: "Be funny! Be confident! And don't say something stupid! For the love of God don't say something stupid!" over and over again. And guess what happens every time? I feel like all men who are successful with women have somehow managed to kill that guy at some point. But what does it take to kill him?*

This is a problem extending way back before I was introduced to Freud, Skinner, and that badass Milgram. When I was a kid, probably around 10, 11 years old I became hyper-aware of my own breathing, and it was one of the WORST experiences of my life. One day I just started wondering how I was able to breath in and out regularly without ever having to think about it. I thought about it long enough that I convinced myself that maybe I did have to think about it, and so, for the next six months all my thoughts turned to breathing. Breathing in...breathing out...again and again, all day long. I wound up holding my breath regularly just so I could turn my thoughts elsewhere for a few seconds.

And oh man, falling asleep. That was fun. I would have to work up a mental distraction, like a pretend version of those 15 piece annoying slide puzzles you always got as a kid. Or I'd pose myself a question, like: "would I rather meet E.T. or A.L.F., and why?*" that hopefully would get me on a long enough tangent of say, the pros and cons for each alien's friendship, that I would temporarily forget about breathing and somehow fall asleep.

You thought you'd never have to choose, didn't you?

This challenge that got progressively tougher as I became more and more resistant to my own mental shenanigans as time went on. I actually try not to think about this time in my life for too long, lest I somehow get myself back on that train of thought. So, you know, moving on...

Thank God I eventually discovered improv. Improv is all about getting out of your head and just listening and reacting. On top of being a fantastic creative outlet, (and one of the few legitimate reasons for me to leave the house these days) it also nipped things in the bud a bit with my overthinking. You get up on stage, you let the audience decide where you start, and then, if you're performing right, you're performing at such a pace that you don't have time to think too much at all. Believe me, I've tried!

Now, what was the point I was trying to make again? Ah, well...not gonna worry about it. Here seems like a good place to stop anyway...

-Matt

Currently Playing: Finally getting back to Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess on the Wii, which is tough - I've never stopped playing a Zelda game in the middle, but you really do start off feeling lost. Plowed through Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode One last week when I saw it on sale, looking forward to the sequel at some point as well (we'll see if I can hold off for another sale, or if I'll cave and spend full price on it). Loving Burnout Paradise, and that's all there is to say about that. And I'm all done with T.W.E.N.Y. finally, and I think I'm going to actually force myself to take break after that experience and read a book before I start my next portable game...

*Seriously, why should one test carry so much weight, and totally decide your fate for the rest of your life? That's fascism, man!
*It's just being tall, naturally charming, and having a full head of hair, isn't it?? I KNEW IT!!!
*E.T. ultimately won out for me. A.L.F. was always too much of a wise-ass.

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