Me — Being Overly Critical

One of my biggest strengths and weaknesses is that I’m always critical of everything. I have to look at everything and understand everything about it, and it frustrates me when there’s something I don’t know and can’t even guess. When I’m watching a movie or TV show, I’m actively listening to the soundtrack. I’m imagining the script being written and the actors saying these lines and whether or not I think things were executed as well as they could have been. If there’s something I don’t like about the movie, I point to the clear flaws and try to find a general, concluding statement as to what was ‘bad’ about the movie.

Now, I actually really like this about me. It helps me understand a lot about things and lets me look at things on a deeper level than just mindlessly doing something because its fun. But the worst part about it is that I can’t turn this off, even when I try. When I see a flaw in a videogame I’m playing, I can’t help but notice it more and more, and in some situations it inevitably makes me enjoy whatever the thing is less. I’ve recently developed a nasty habit of talking during movies and stuff to make quips or point out certain things. I used to only do that if everybody had already seen the movie, so it worries me a little that I have such a strong desire to be funny around other people that I can’t keep my mouth shut when I should.

Unfortunately, this feature/flaw also applies to people. I could count on one hand the number of voluntary friendships I’ve had that lasted longer than three years. Perhaps I’m oversimplifying a deeper or simpler issue here, but I largely blame it on the fact that after a certain amount of time (ranging from a few weeks to about two years) of being around somebody, I start to pick out things that I don’t like about them, even if its personality traits that they can’t help, like somebody’s laugh, or their sense of humor, or their tendency to bring up certain topics too often. Many of the friendships that have lasted over a longer period of time have been the lucky few whom I’ve never found flaws for or whose flaws I’ve fortunately learned to accept.

It is entirely unfair to dislike somebody simply because of how they laugh, which has lead me to this love/hate relationship I have with this particular quirk. Once I find this flaw I can’t help but notice it more often, and it can unconsciously make me want to spend less and less time with them.

I am thankful that many of the people I’m closest to tend to grow an immunity to this effect. It’s only people that are in the ‘friend to close friend’ zone that are in danger.

In the end, though, I do consider this part of my personality to be a virtue. I just hope I can learn to reign it back as time goes on.

P.S. This is also something I don’t like telling people. When I do, the first thing out of everyone’s mouth is “What’s my flaw?” or “What’s X person’s flaw?” and it is never a good idea to answer that question. Could you imagine telling somebody you hate the way they laugh and making them insecure about it the rest of their life? With self-esteem as fragile as it is, it’s often best not to touch it unless you’re building it up.

Me — Long-term Consequences?

Of everything that’s happened lately, most of it has calmed down. Beginning the second novelette and running two D&D campaigns certainly doesn’t help, but as far as school goes, I’ll be done in a month’s time. I have two more essays, two more exams, and one more book to read. I wouldn’t say I’ve finished crossing this bridge yet, but I can tell I’m nearing the end of it. It’s not swinging as much as it used to.

But I’ve noticed that I’m not quite the same person anymore. I don’t know if it’s the fact that things are still happening and I need to give it some more time, or if I’ve really changed. It’s difficult to tell when your mood is the biggest factor that’s different.

First, I just don’t like dealing with people anymore. I used to say that a lot, but now when I mean people, I mean everyone, including family. I don’t really want to play games with people, I don’t want to go and hang out with them, or anything, really. That’s not to say I’ve become extremely reclusive, but I’ve become even less of an initiator than I already was. Also, even when I do spend time with other people, I don’t want to spend any effort talking. All-in-all this equates to me playing Stardew Valley, Hearthstone, or Overwatch (by myself). Stardew Valley when I really want to be alone.

Second, and this is the one I can’t really explain, I’m far more emotional than I’ve been in the past. I’m a very logical person. When a character dies in the movie I think of the plot devices and the effects on the characters and the storytelling aspects of it, not how I felt about that character dying. But now things are different. Now even little things make me almost physically sad, and its weird because I’m not used to being emotionally affected by anything at all. Recently I can make myself sad thinking about my own character deaths for characters I have literally never appeared in anything I’ve written. What the heck?

I hope that in the long run the second part proves to be temporary. As arguably beneficial it may be, it makes me a bit uncomfortable and I don’t know what to do with that new change.

The weirdest paradox to all of this is the novelette. It certainly adds stress to my life, because I take the story very seriously. I’m not only trying to keep it canon, but I’m forging my own content that will have to remain canon when I eventually go to the “present” where most of my characters and plot are. But as soon as I finish that week’s part of the story, I cannot stop thinking about it. The next few days are filled with pride for adding content to the Nacre Then universe. Stuff that I can show people at a professional level (if I was looking to do that right now). It may be unedited, just like everything else I’ve written, but it’s a story nonetheless. I have to work on all aspects of my writing career. I can save the editing for an older, more mature me that (hopefully) has his life more stabilized than this current one. I think we all know that’s overly optimistic, but hey.