Please Don't Put the Clowns in Sweaters

Some days I think I'm mentally ill... and some days, I probably am.

I am rather compassionate, and on the whole a pleaser. I like to think of myself as the chubby, lazy old dog you'd imagine lying next to a rocking chair. I do warn you, though, that under my mangy fur, thin skin and mushy, sympathetic layer of fat, I have a spine. In fact, once you reach it, you'll probably find it difficult to return to the subcutaneous sympathy at all. Once the teeth and claws come out, boys, I hold myself a damn fine grudge. I'm not proud of it, but if you put in the considerable effort required to enter my bad books, you've probably earned a life membership. This loyalty, and... reverse-loyalty, I guess, I attribute to the fat-dog part of my nature.

Although most people, including my mother, consider Hannah-the-fat-bloodhound to be very extroverted, I am in fact introverted. My talkative and interested demeanor stems from a deep-seated curiosity about how people and their minds work, not love of socialisation. I like the information I glean from interactions, not the interactions themselves.

I heard someone say once that being around people will energize an extrovert and drain an introvert. It was at this point that I questioned my out-going nature. Being around people does tire me, for a number of reasons: I'm always trying to figure them out, though I've yet to have any success. I don't trust them, generally speaking, and I'm prone to worrying that they dislike me. I also worry that people are talking about me in my presence, if I notice them talking behind their hands or in low voices. I distance myself from most, then, even while maintaining a pleasant conversation about our common interests. I'm simply not comfortable talking to acquaintances-- without the anonymity of a stranger or the familiarity of a friend, I'm just plain stuck.

I should clarify, though. Once you befriend this bloodhound, these neuroses disappear. I have managed to find people who put up with my loner tendencies long enough to appreciate my other qualities. (I'd like to think they appreciate my other qualities, at least.)

My other qualities include crippling disorganisation, unfortunately. I read books and articles. I listen to my mother. I ask fellow sloppy people. Despite my best efforts, though, I haven't found enough organisational strategies to keep my raging clutter. One of my greatest fears is that I will become a hoarder, as they are so often referred to on television these days. Once I develop an intense emotional connection to my trash, I'll be more or less sunk. I'll fill up one room after another with my junk until even the kitchen is bursting with rubbish, and then they'll declare my house unfit to live in, and then I'll have to move out and spend my savings to live in a motel, all the while using the house as additional storage, and they'll put me on TV, and I'll deny having a problem, and while cleaning out my house in haz-mat suits they'll discover I once had a husband and child who suffocated behind piles of clothes and a Cuisinart blender in my basement. Yikes. I really need more organisational tips. (Trevor, I hope this doesn't count as admitting to murder, as it hasn't happened yet and I sincerely hope to avert the disaster before it's too late.)

Anyway, the things that I love to do are similar in that they are all releases from the grind of my daily life. I like them for their therapeutic qualities and for the stress relief they provide. In order of most violent to least violent, they are: rugby, writing, singing, basketball, soccer, shopping, running, and reading. I've been known to kill off characters when in foul humour; my singing has been known to killl innocent bystanders, curdle milk, and shatter glass. The other activities usually leave people intact.

So, there's me, as best I can describe. However, my personality and behaviour continue to baffle me, as do the personalities and behaviours of almost everyone I know. Describing what it's like inside to live inside my head is like trying to fit an overweight clown into a dog sweater: funny, but with varying results.

The End

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