I so liked this post from Lisa Sonora Beam of things she is too shy to tell us. Lisa!

In the past I have avoid the “X things you don’t know about me” genre because you guys already know so many screwed up personal things about me, like how I met my duck and talk to monsters and lived in an abandoned building in East Berlin and have multiple selves who have secret lairs.

And because the rest always seems too obvious and therefore boring (I don’t eat sugar! I make my own conditioner! I italicize too much!)

Also, the stuff I NEVER tell you is stuff I never tell you for a reason, so yeah, obviously I’m not going to tell you now either.

But her post struck a nerve with its sweet shyness that I relate to too much.

So: some things you might not know that don’t fall under Shockingly Dull (Or: I Cannot Ever Say This Online Or Anywhere).

A note about “shy”.

I don’t really so much identify with shy as misanthropic but whatever. I am an extreme introvert who dislikes a) noise and b) being around more than a couple people at a time and c) most people, in general. Hmmm. Yeah, okay, I guess I’m shy.

Actually, highly sensitive is (for me) the accurate term. So maybe start there?

I am a highly sensitive person.

It was a huge relief to read Elaine Aron’s book Highly Sensitive People and realize there was a word for what I am, and that there is a world of people who are strange in the way that I am strange.

I actually called my brother and said, “Someone wrote a biography of us!”

It explained a lot.

Things that make me crazy.

Car alarms. That truck-backing-up-beeping sound. The phrase “stop crying”.

I always have ear plugs with me.

Usually a spare pair too, if you need one.

I am weird about words.

No kidding. I’m the only biggified blogger I know who has to have a Glossary.

And, unsurprisingly, most of my idiosyncracies are word-related.

Oh, just a tiny smattering of the many words that are physically painful for me to see or hear:

diphthong, caulk, childish, Whig, magenta.

Also: coagulate, dextrose, mercenary.

A word that make me giggle: Stopcock. So funny! I am six years old.

I am not susceptible to whatever biological and/or cultural programming makes people want to give birth to other smaller people.

Actually, I find it fascinating that people reproduce, in any way other than by accident.

I am also — not knowing what it is like any other way — quite happy to have missed that gene or not been influenced by social pressure or whatever it is that makes people do this thing whose appeal clearly must exist and yet is not apparent to me.

And I find it extremely odd when people imply that I will “change my mind”, as if this is a decision that I actively made and not a simple truth of my life.

But one of my favorite things to do is baby-watch.

I like to sit in a cafe and make silly faces at wide-eyed infants and wave at the chubby toddlers in their stripey pants.

Do not sit with me in a cafe if you want to talk, because I will probably be too busy baby-watching.

Babies! Astonishing and charming and endlessly entertaining. I like being around them and loving them and wishing them wonderful things.

I dislike and resent being asked what I do.

This is why I studiously avoid most situations in which I need to meet people who do not already know who I am.

I also avoid marketing people who think I need an elevator speech.

Believe me, I would rather be phobic of elevators for the rest of my life than spend the time figuring out what I do. I want what I do to be able to change. All the time. And to never have to talk about it.

It’s probably also why I like babies. They’ve never asked me that. Not once.

I also don’t know what I do.

And I don’t care.

Luckily I make very good money not knowing what I do, so I’ve given myself permission to stop worrying about it. And I wasn’t kidding. I don’t take elevators. But not because of elevator speeches. That would be stupid.

Speaking of elevators, once I got trapped in an elevator. In Poland.

Which is basically the worst place to get trapped in an elevator.

Switzerland would be nice. Except that elevators don’t break in Switzerland. Ever. Extra points for Switzerland!

We were stuck between floors. In between. The guy I was stuck in the elevator with was having a massive panic attack and screaming WE’RE GOING TO DIE! WE’RE GOING TO DIE IN POLAND!

He got so upset and frantic that he started jumping, which made the elevator shake and then sink about a foot. Unpleasant. Eventually some people came and got the door open and pulled us up and out.

But that’s not why I don’t take elevators either.

I like to walk. I dislike confined spaces. I don’t see the point.

I moved living situations over thirty times between the age of twenty and thirty.

It sucked.

Once I got propositioned by my landlord, who wanted me to work for him as a call girl.

I wish I could say that was my worst living situation but it wasn’t.

I love water.

But not being in it. Looking at it.

Actually, there are lots of things in my life like this.

For example, I obsess over basketball and love watching Roller Derby (my duck and I sponsor a team!) but I would rather die than play a team sport. Well, any sport. But team sports specifically.

Or: I love teaching retreats and workshops. But going to one? Ohmygod.

I don’t see why I need to be good at “public” speaking.

I’m brilliant at it when it’s talking to my people. And I’m absolutely fine speaking to hundreds and probably thousands of people if they’re already fans of what I do.

But the thought of talking to people who aren’t my people — who don’t even know my duck?! — is both terrifying and not interesting at the same time.

People keep telling me I need to get over this. But I don’t see why I should have to. If you happen to know, please don’t tell me.

I am not adventurous.

I like routine. Once I know what I like, I don’t need to try other things.

No one believes me when I say this because I have moved countries three times and done all sorts of extremely bizarre and unlikely things in my life.

But, for example, during the two weeks I just spent in Taos I went to the same restaurant every night, sat at the same table and ordered the exact same thing.

It was lovely.

Someone once told me that Picasso was exactly like that.

I have no idea if that’s true but it was extremely reassuring to hear.

I don’t like it when people refer to fear as “irrational”.

If you’re scared of something, you’re scared of it.

I don’t care whether or not I know or remember the reason. And I don’t necessarily need to figure out what’s going on. It’s my fear and therefore it makes sense and is legitimate.

I feel very strongly about this.

Things I am RATIONALLY afraid of which (the fears, not the things) do not always make sense to other people:

Men with facial hair. Not all men with facial hair. But a lot of them.

Vans. RVs. Also cars with tinted windows.

Someone kidnapping my duck.

Getting sick.

Being grabbed by the elbow. I will hurt you if you ever do this to me and that would be a terrible thing so do not test this.

Things I talk to:

Trees. Dead people. Walls. Not just internal walls but the partitions that make up buildings. Myself.

I do not like surprises.

I also don’t ever answer the phone or open the door, so if you want to surprise me you’re going to be disappointed.

Oh and I got carded last week.

That was AWESOME. And bizarre.

Much blushing and batting of eyelashes ensued. Flattery will get you everywhere, apparently.

Also I really like being divorced.

There is such freedom in knowing what you don’t want.

Running out of things so I will add that I have a degree in History from Tel Aviv University.

I have nothing to add to that.

That’s got to be enough, right?

That’s 23 things.

I think. Not so good at counting.

Ha. If you add that one, it’s twenty-four things. I don’t know that I can come up with more.

Comment zen for today…

You know what would be nice? I would like to know a thing or things about you too.

Unless you don’t feel like it, in which case, that’s fine by me.

Really, if I were going to add a twenty-fifth thing it would probably be that I hardly ever comment on people’s blogs because I never know what to say.

So here we are. We all have our stuff. We’re all working on our stuff. Sometimes reading about someone else’s stuff sets off our own stuff. That’s what destuckification is all about.

Part of the way we let everyone have their own experience is by not giving advice, unless people specifically ask for it.

Here’s a specific request, related to that: I really do not wish to be told that actually having children is marvelous. I’m sure it is. For someone who is not me.

You are welcome to have your way. And I need space for my way to be legitimate too.

Love to all the commenter mice, the Beloved Lurkers and everyone who reads.

The Fluent Self