I’m Guarded And I’m Working On It (Or At Least I’m Trying To)


I’m a private person. It’s probably a dumb thing for me to be, considering I write for the Internet. I don’t think there’s really anything wrong with holding your cards close to your chest. My close family and friends all know a part of me, although I would say very few know all of me. I’m not trying to be mysterious or “guarded” because that’s semi-trendy right now. I just hate the idea of people knowing who I am.

Right now, I’m sitting in a coffee shop down the street from my apartment, and I’m being surprisingly productive. It feels great. As soon as I realized how motivated I am here, I decided that I should make it a habit to come here every morning, order my $3.65 cup of coffee, and work. My life could change! No more procrastination! Better content! More time to do other things!

But as soon as I considered that the employees would eventually see me as a regular and might even know my standard order, I hated the idea of coming here every day. I don’t want strangers to know my coffee order. I feel like Ron Swanson when he goes to JJ’s Diner to remove a photo of himself with the caption “Man. Most eggs,” because it reveals too much information about himself. While I don’t normally mind being compared to the noble, resourceful Ron Swanson, this really bothered me because the show is making a joke about how ridiculous he’s acting, but… I also don’t want a picture of myself up on a diner’s wall or for my local barista to know my regular order. Am I acting silly? Yes, yes I am.

Opening up to people will always be my biggest flaw. It will always be a make-or-break moment for me, and most of the time, I’ll probably break.

I rarely allow websites or apps access to my location, my social media presence is sporadic at best (especially for a person trying to make a living on the Internet), and my Tinder profile includes a handful of photos and a bio that just says “Hodor.” (A Game of Thrones reference for the uninitiated.) Basically, if I could live in a cabin in the middle of nowhere, where I have to travel an hour once a week to buy groceries, I WOULD DO IT IN A HEARTBEAT.

There are a lot of tropes I could attach to this to make it funnier than it probably is. I hate people. I’m a homebody. I’m slowly turning into Squidward from Spongebob. I’ve decided that my WebMD-level diagnosis is that I’m a shy introvert with social anxiety.

My default mode at parties is to stand in a corner and wait for a socially acceptable amount of time to pass before I can go home, and I’m fine with that. I’m as happy as the next person, I think.

Do I wonder what it would be like to be completely open with someone? Duh. People who are able to interact with others openly and honestly both baffle me and make me green with envy.

While in the middle of packing up our apartment, I asked my roommate and best friend the Pivot Questionnaire that’s at the end of all the Inside the Actors Studio interviews. What’s your favorite word? What turns you on? If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates? She answered them all happily, and then turned to me and said, “Okay your turn. What’s your favorite word?” I barked a laugh, shook my head. “I don’t want to answer those.” Were my answers being recorded? No. Was she likely to remember my answers in a week? Probably not. Was it totally unfair of me to ask her those questions without agreeing to return the favor? Absolutely. Eventually I did answer them and the world didn’t end, but I know if someone else were to ask me those questions now, there’s no way I would answer them.

I’ve attempted to be my own therapist and comb through my past, looking for that defining moment in my life when I went from an open and bubbly child to the person I am now, but there’s nothing. It’s just how I am.

Yeah, it’s going to make dating harder, and just connecting with other humans difficult, but I honestly don’t know the solution. It’s just there. This frozen, impenetrable Game of Thrones-esque Wall looming between me and the rest of the world. Most of the time, I feel like I’m okay, like I have enough resources to survive on my side of The Wall, but other times, it’s incredibly lonely. I want to let another person in, and show them all the gross insecurities and flaws that I have.

I already know what I would tell them. I would detail my long history of hating translucent spiders. I’d show them the photo of my cringe-worthy Halloween costume in sixth grade. We would laugh about my awkward love for Jason Segel. Then, we would watch Joss Whedon shows and Doctor Who until the Sun rose.

But I’m not there yet. Those things will remain secrets, and I’ll go out of my way to split my time between various coffee shops, so I’m never a regular. The world will be at arms length.

Opening up to people will always be my biggest flaw. It will always be a make-or-break moment for me, and most of the time, I’ll probably break. I don’t have the solution, so if you read all this way looking for that, I’m sorry. I hate the idea of even posting this, because it’s letting strangers into an aspect of myself that I already dislike, but I think the only thing that will help me at this point is to post it. If I can let the Internet in with its many trolls, I can let one person in, right?