In Conversation With Myself

Talking through why I’m the cringiest person alive.

Stupid little drawing I made to go with this article.

11:30 PM, Literally Yesterday:

Why did I do that? Why did I do THAT? I could have been nicer. I could have been meaner. I shouldn’t have said that. I REALLY should not have done that…

What are you doing?

What do you mean?

You’re doing this again?

Of course. This is my essence.

Well, you’ve been doing it a lot lately. It’s making me worried.

Why should you be worried? Everyone has those evenings where they lie awake in bed for hours on end reliving their cringiest moments. It’s a meme.

Do other people really do it this much? You’ve been thinking about incident after incident multiple times a day now, not just in the evenings. You wince and flail around at yourself practically every other hour now.

I’m just going through a phase. I’ll come out of it eventually. I’m just trying to avoid doing that again. Or that. Or oh God, that…

Stop it, you’re spiraling again.

Well, I don’t know how to stop! One cringey moment leads to another cringey moment which makes me think of another cringey moment and it seems like they’re escalating and becoming more frequent and I need to figure out how to never do that again or I’ll re-experience that one time I…

Girl...

What?

*sigh* This train of thought is not going to end unless you stop it. And you don’t stop it by passively flowing along with it, like what you’re doing. You stop it by stepping into it intentionally, actively seeking to follow the train to its natural conclusion. So, why do you hate cringey moments so much?

… Because I could have done better.

What do you mean?

I made a mistake in those moments, either intentionally or not intentionally. The calls I made weren’t right.

Right?

Well, not optimum to say the least. Social interaction isn’t about what’s right, I guess, it’s about what’s accepted.

I thought you were Ms. Independent. Why do you care about that?

I’m not sure that’s exactly it, though. It’s less about general acceptance in a vague sense, it’s more about being understood. Now that you mention it, almost all the moments I consider to be most cringey always happened in front of…

People you wanted to impress.

Yeah. I feel like because of what I did in those moments, I’m worried I could have made people think of me differently, especially the people I want to like me the most.

You could have made them feel differently?

Yeah… I guess I don’t know for certain if they did end up thinking of me differently… But that’s just how I feel. It’s why I’m lying awake right now. I feel like if I had just done things differently, the people I like wouldn’t have misunderstood me.

Potentially.

Yeah, potentially.

Girl, you know what that is?

… Yeah I know what that is…

It’s a core fear. Not a rational fear, but a base fear that speaks to what you think of your closest friends and mentors. You care about them a lot, and so you want to sell them on the fact that they want to be friends with you. You feel like if you present them with the best, purest version of who you are, they will have no choice but you like you. Which is partially true; no one likes a fake person. But the flipside of that, which you’re dealing with right now, is that

if I feel like they don’t understand what I think the best version of me is

then they have no reason to like you.

Huh…

Yeah.

I’m afraid the people I like the most have no reason to like me.

Yup.

And so am convinced they don’t like me.

Yup.

Well then…

Yup. Fortunately, this isn’t new territory for you. You know how to deal with this.

… I have to let go of the idea of people liking me. I have to let go of other people’s perceptions of me. It’s nice to think that I can control what other people think about me. But that’s simply impossible. Even when I think I can…

Like right now.

Like for the past month…

You really can’t.

No. I can’t.

So?…

I should just let it go.

You should just let it go.

Yup.

Yup.

… I feel better.

Yeah, me too. Like I said, this isn’t new territory for you.

Nope. It isn’t. I’ve done this many times before.

Good. You did a good job. Take a deep breath.

*Inhale.*

*Exhale.*

Ahhh…

Yeah. You got this?

Yeah, I got this. This is good. I feel good. Now I can finally let go of that one time. Or that other time. Or the time I, oh noooo, or during that one year in that one room in front of those people who…

You’re hopeless.