Holidays, Social Anxiety and Being An Introvert; the Gift That Keeps On Giving

Do you know anyone with dyslexia? It’s not that they can’t read or write it’s that they literally see the words differently than we see them? They learn differently, interpret differently. If no one takes the time to diagnose them they could spend their entire life feeling like they can’t read or that they’re dumb.

That’s what being an introvert is like, it’s being in a room where everyone is reading and writing and you want to learn, you want to read but you see the words differently. Whether it’s being around people or hating crowds or noise you never get comfortable.

I’ve been a loner most of my life. I remember turning eighteen and my mom bought all this food and a DJ and when no one showed up to the party she looked sad for me and I felt so bad telling her that I didn’t tell anyone. The two friends I had that showed up looked at me like I was crazy, “Why didn’t you tell us? Everyone would have come.” Even then I just liked being alone, at least that’s what I thought it was.

Now here I am years removed from that moment and it hasn’t gotten any better. I don’t really maintain friendships well, my body language is horrible and even when I have to talk to people I can come off as cold or uncaring.

 

Something I rarely write or talk about is the perception people have of me. Since I was a child I’ve been called everything from gay to arrogant to mean to stuck up to anti-social, even crazy; the list goes on. I usually ignore most of it or use humor or insults to push back. The truth is though, often times all I wanted was to fit in. To not be the guy that walks into a room and doesn’t talk to anyone or tries to start conversations and people feel as though you’re mocking them or uninterested.

It’s as if you’re locked inside of your own mind. You know the right things to say and do but your hands and face and energy give off this vibe that betrays what you meant. I’ve spoken to people for hours at a time and even with that I can tell they aren’t comfortable around me.

What makes it worse is that I’m smart and funny. I don’t say those things in an arrogant way, I say them because it’s confusing to people. How can you be an introvert when you don’t have a problem talking to women or making a crowd laugh if you’re talking about your book or giving an interview? How do you explain to people that you have to force yourself to do those things? That your heart is beating out of your chest and you find solace in the quiet after the storm.

Holidays just amplify it, even family look at you as though you think you’re better than them. They wonder why you don’t come around or leave early. Everyone takes you so seriously that even when you joke it’s taken as sarcasm or being an asshole.

I’ll end this with a story. It was a couple years ago, my grandfather passed away that January and I took it hard. There wasn’t anyone to talk to or grieve with, everyone just sort of assumed I would be okay. A couple months later my aunt died and after the funeral I just didn’t want to be alone. I went over my cousin’s house because I knew that’s where a lot of my family would be and literally everyone there was surprised to see me. People I’d grown up with and had sleepovers with acted as though it was the weirdest thing ever. I listened to inside jokes from years of them hanging out, I watched people speak to me as though I was their neighbor that went to college and was coming by to give my condolences. How do you make a situation more awkward? You tell people, “Hey! I’m right here! I’m trying!” I wasn’t going to do that. That’s what my world is like.

That ladies and gentlemen is a rare glimpse into unfiltered Demez. It’s wanting to stop by a friend’s house on a Sunday afternoon and not, it’s looking at your phone all Thanksgiving and realizing not one person text you to say ‘Happy Thanksgiving.’ It’s calling someone to say “I’m sorry for your loss” and they laugh at how uncomfortable you are. It’s knowing there’s a good chance most of your relationships will fail because your tormented by the need for affection and the curse of isolation. It’s seeing people enjoy life and wondering why you weren’t invited knowing that if you were there, they wouldn’t be having the fun they’re having.

It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

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My Bestfriend Took Me On A Date Yesterday and I Might Leave My Girlfriend For Her

fullsizerender2 Relationships are like jobs in the sense that no matter how great they might be there are days where you’re just tired or moments where you know you have a good thing but you need reminding.
Yesterday I was sitting on the couch getting ready to engulf myself in NBA Basketball and a Game of Thrones Marathon when my bestfriend showed up and told me to take a shower and get dressed. I asked where we were going and they told me they didn’t know but that we were going to have a good time.

I threw on some jeans, a shirt and a blazer and waited for them to get ready. A part of me felt guilty for how I felt when she walked out the room. Is it normal to be attracted to your bestfriend? I wanted to hug her, to touch her cheek, feel her neck but I have a girlfriend so instead I just told her she looked nice and we left.

The first stop was happy hour in Katy and we were overdressed for the restaurant but I couldn’t stop staring at the way the dress was hugging her shape and once again I had to remind myself that I was a taken man. Sitting at the bar talking to a bartender about basketball and high school and whispering and giggling whenever she walked away, I was having a good time. A better time than I’d been having with my girlfriend recently and that surprised me. We’d always had this great chemistry and over time I hadn’t been smiling as much.

Now, I couldn’t stop smiling and if I wasn’t guilty for looking at her thighs on that barstool I was for sure guilty for comparing the two women.

She kept complimenting me and trying to take pictures of me and as much as men aren’t supposed to worry about such things, I found myself liking the attention. A beautiful woman that craved my presence, it felt good. My girlfriend is always telling me how special I am but when my bestfriend said it, there was a difference. I didn’t feel as though she was saying it because she felt obligated but because she wanted to be around me. Needed to be around me.

Stop two took us to Cyclone Anaya’s and by this time I’d say we were tipsy. The nachos were horrible, the bartender never cut the basketball games on and they mixed up our drinks. Even with all that we just talked. Talked about old friends, talked about life. Talked about things I wouldn’t talk to anyone else about and by this time any guilt I felt was gone. Being with the most beautiful woman in the room has a way of easing your guilt.

I admitted something to her that I’d never admitted to anyone. I admitted that something she told me about my upcoming novel made me change it. Her advice literally made me sit at my computer and re-think a chapter or two, something I’d never done before. Something my girlfriend never inspired me to do but this woman, this amazingly interesting and beautiful minded woman, did just that. Finding myself holding her hand as we walked and rubbing the small of her back I looked around for a second to make sure I didn’t see anyone that may have knew my woman but by then I didn’t care.

Is it possible to fall in love after one date with someone you’ve known for years? Is it possible to love two women at the same time? These are questions I was asking myself as I held her and allowed my lips to find her neck in the elevator. Just a pec, just a kiss to let her know maybe we should be, could be, more than friends.

Our last stop found us at Hotel Sorella drinking martini’s and on our phones more than we were talking to each other. I didn’t mind because being in her presence was enough. It was one of those moments where she wanted to take pictures together and for a second I wanted to stop it. I wanted to tell her, “This has been an amazing day but I have a woman at home that’s dope, that loves me.” I didn’t say any of those things though. I just took the pictures and allowed our bodies to mesh as the sun started to set over City Centre.

Ending the night right back where we started at my home I watched her stumble into the couch and just lay there. Taking off her shoes she alternated between checking her phone and looking at me.

I alternated between thoughts of kissing her and thoughts of not wanting to ruin our friendship and my relationship. I started making some snacks and she got up and told me it was time to go. Holding her hand I wanted to ask her to stay but doing that would probably make me lose my bestfriend and my girlfriend. I kissed her like friends shouldn’t kiss and stood at the door as she walked away.

As soon as I turned around my girlfriend showed up and I smiled because I could tell she’d had a good day too. That took away some of my guilt. Eating a bar food type dinner while watching Love and Hip Hop I enjoyed the company of the woman that had become the best of both worlds.

Why Aren’t You Married Yet?

FB-Ring.jpgIt’s in poor taste to ask a woman her age.

It’s sort of not cool to ask a married couple when they’re going to have children.

Why do we really care when someone is going to move out of their parents’ home?

I can list a dozen different questions in a dozen different areas of life that aren’t probably the coolest questions to ask but people ask them anyway. Let’s add one more to the list.

“When are you going to get married?”

There are several reasons why people ask.

  1. They can be family and friends that are generally interested in your happiness and they want chubby babies to hold and put on Facebook and Instagram.
  2. They can be friends that think he/she is wasting your time and they’re asking you the question so that you can see he/she is wasting your time.
  3. Their relationship sucks and they are married or aren’t married but either way they see in you two what they want so it makes them want it for you.
  4. People are just nosy.
  5. If you’re too impressive in life it intimidates people. They start to look for reasons to pick you apart. If they can’t do it on a singular level they’ll do it on a relationship level.

 

I’m not naïve to the fact that friends have conversations. That guys talk at work or in the barbershop and girls talk in group text and over drinks. I’m not blind to any of this at all, so I know the question will get asked, especially when you’ve been dating someone for a while. What I don’t get is when it comes from complete strangers or people you aren’t cool with.

My mom wants to ask me why we haven’t gotten married, it’s my mom. Her aunt or best friend wants to ask me, those are people that love me. A random co-worker that sees a picture or reads a blog wants to ask me? Who sent you? I’m not cool enough to insert meme’s into my writing but if I was I’d insert one here.

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This may sound cliché but there’s no right or wrong way to do marriage or love. I’m sure you’ll read a hundred different experts tell you they have the answers. Most of those experts have been divorced three times and probably don’t slap their wife on the ass when she’s leaving the house. Some people get married in 3 months and they thrive and some get married in 3 years, either way it’s their decision. I get it, believe me I do, we let people in our lives via Social Media and they care. I know it’s become cool to “give no f*cks” and to say, “I’m not on social media like that,” but if you have a smart phone and have to deal with Houston traffic, you probably are on social media like that.

The next time someone that doesn’t know my middle name or wouldn’t call me if they hadn’t or from me in a month asks me, “When are you going to get married?” I’m going to start to ask some questions back. “When are you going to stop commenting on pictures of women that look nothing like your wife?” “When are you going to tell your kids to stop asking to play with my phone? My games are for me, not them.” “When are you going to respect your marriage?” Nothing to shady but just enough so they understand that it’s not okay.

The Cowboys lost last night and the Texans won so that’s always good too.

Find Someone That Can Help You

IMG_0629When I was growing up my grandfather and uncles would always tell me to “find a woman that can help you.” And I never really understood what they were saying because for the most part they all worked and paid all the bills. Were they telling me to get a woman that would “take care of me?” Were they telling me to be a leech? That literally made no sense to me, especially coming from them.

Now that I’m older I’m starting to understand what they meant and it has nothing to do with a woman “taking care of you.” I believe it has to do with finding a woman that understands she has to be someone that knows what she has to do. That knows it not only takes more than one income but knows how to make moves that will benefit the relationship.

This is the thing about life. If you aren’t going forward, you’re going backwards, because even if you’re standing still you aren’t progressing.

I’m at work listening to this new Drake album and one thing stands out to me. He keeps referencing that “I did this all by myself.” And it’s music so I won’t take it literally but I have noticed that our generation has this mindset of, “I’m doing this alone and that makes me cool.” The thing is though, none of us do this alone. No man or woman is an island and what’s important is that you find someone who wants to not only help you keep your island afloat but who wants to make your island the best island ever.

I never write about marriage because I’m not even engaged nor have I ever been married. I’d feel like a snake oil salesman trying to tell a woman how to be a wife or a man how to be a husband. But I do often write from my own mistakes. I have been with women that weren’t doing so well and instead of being supportive or calming I was an asshole. Dismissive, belittling, impatient. Everything I tell men not to be. Finding someone that can help you isn’t just finding someone to split bills with. It’s finding someone that will understand when there’s no money to split bills with. That will still see your worth after life happens. Anyone can help with a check, can you help when the light at the end of the tunnel feels 500 miles away?

Who Do You Run To?

Life is defined by moments. dwhite

In-between going to work and making up the bed and brushing our teeth there are moments that shape us. Moments that make us who we are and stay with us. When you’re having a bad day, when you’re having a good day, when you just need to talk to someone. Who is it that you run to?

For some it’s their best friend, for some it’s their mother or sister. For most people in a relationship it’s going to be their significant other. That moment you get good news, he or she is the first person that pops in your mind. He or she is the only person you want to share that news with.

If they aren’t, they should be. It’s not just good news though, when your heart is broken and you need someone to help you put it back together, that man or woman you say you’re in love with; that should be the person you go to first. The person you talk to. If it’s not, then they don’t need to be in your life.

Accepting truths aren’t always easy because feelings get involved, comfort levels get involved. But if you’re more comfortable texting a friend or a random guy on twitter than you are the person you’re with; you just aren’t with the right person. Sometimes we get so caught up in who someone is that we don’t stop and think about how that person makes us feel.

It’s Not Okay to Propose to Your Woman At Someone Else’s Wedding!

IMG_0141It’s Not Okay to Propose to Your Woman At Someone Else’s Wedding!

It Can’t Always Be About You

We all have that one friend that’s a one upper. Maybe they’re not your real friend but they’re a social media friend. You tell them you’re excited about Miami and they tell you, “You should see Spain!” You tell them your kid just got accepted into a college and they tell you how their kid got accepted into a better college.

One upper guy or gal doesn’t always do it because they’re jerks that lack common sense and etiquette. Sometimes they don’t have malicious intent at all; sometimes they just need the conversation to be about them.

The thing we all learn in like 1st grade though is that it can’t always be about you. There will be days where you don’t win the spelling bee and days where you aren’t the best kick ball player in the world. Adult life is sort of the same way. Every conversation doesn’t have to be about YOU. It’s okay to sit back and let someone tell you about their weekend without you telling them how much better your weekend was.

The one upper isn’t always interrupting with good news either. It can be something as simple as, “I cut my finger shaving,” and one upper will let you know how they broke their arm changing the channel with the remote. Anything to have people talk about or look at them instead of talking about or looking at you.

I had a conversation once about wedding proposals and the simple truth is people are so blinded by love that they don’t often realize what’s okay and what’s not okay. Asking your woman to get married on a beach in Spain is dope. Asking your woman to get married at a reception your boy paid 85 dollars a plate for. That’s not too cool.

Why do people think this is okay? This is the ultimate level of one upperness! I’m going to choose the most important day of your life and turn it into a joint venture? This is not okay and a fight has to come with that.

Your friend goes through a horrible breakup and is crying and heartbroken and you sit there like, “I remember when I lost my dog; girl I didn’t think I would recover but I did.” Yo, this isn’t about your dog, this is about your friend.

One upping/ scene stealing has ruined more friendships than borrowing money and shoes and spring breaks where someone forgot to pay their half on the room. It’s okay for it not to always be about you. It’s okay to listen, to be happy for someone, to not turn the day or night or conversation into your show.

Why Can’t Your Man Do It? Friendships Change When You’re In A Relationship; As They Should

IMG_0701 Why Can’t Your Man Do It? Friendships Change When You’re In A Relationship; As They Should

It’s a valid question. “Why can’t your man do it? It may seem awkward coming from a man you’ve been friends with for years but it’s a legit question. You need your inspection sticker, you need your car washed, you need a ride to the airport at 5am? The guy you could have called at any time to be there for you is now asking you, “Why can’t your man do it?” You look at the phone like, “You’ve done it a million times before, I didn’t think I needed to give you an explanation.”

If you’re over 25 reading this you’ve been at the point in your life where you were single and you have that seriously cool friend of the opposite sex. You want to go to LA for your birthday, you call your friend. There’s no awkward “we almost kissed moments.” There’s no, “I know we’re just friends but…” It’s strictly platonic and you two just genuinely like each other’s company. Concerts, lunch’s, 2am conversations about life and disappointments and dreams that don’t end with you asking them “So what are you wearing right now?”

Men aren’t selfish or territorial; don’t mistake your guy friend that no longer wants to be there for being any of those things. Men are just logical. Somewhere in the picture there’s a guy she’s cooking for, smiling for, kissing, getting jealous over. That’s the man that should be doing the things he used to do and he’s right.

Relationships are inherently selfish. You start to blow off friends and family you’ve spent years with because you fall in love. You stop wanting to go to happy hours with your friends and go to happy hour with your man or woman. A “Hungover” type night in Vegas with your people gets replaced with some Bed and Breakfast in Rhode Island or North Carolina you saw on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on Food Network. It isn’t personal, it isn’t you acting funny, it’s just the evolution of life. So if you’re doing all this, when you have a problem, your man should be the one you go to. Your man should be the one that is your shoulder to cry on. He should be the one that helps you when the bank freezes your account because of suspicious behavior. Don’t be mad at your guy friend for telling you that. Respect the fact he gets that your priorities have changed and he just wants you to be with a man that can take care of you.