From the mind of a mild mannered maniac

Comfort Zones


“Are you as comfortable in front of a camera as behind one? Being written about, as well as writing?”

tables turned

That is a definite, no! I am so far out of my comfort zone that it is preposterous. Firstly a camera pointed in my direction, must do so at it’s own peril. To put it bluntly, I don’t have a good side! 😉

As far as being written about…

See, I have been writing for such a long time now, that I have erected this protective cocoon around me. As long as I am ensconced safely within my writer’s bubble, or barrier, I am in my happy place, impervious to all outside influences.

As silent observer of events, I can wander uninhibited by social obligation. I can observe and report, and as much as is possible, remain neutrally buoyant.

The moment the tables are turned, when interraction is required, and the scrutiny is squarely on me, I flounder.

Oh sure, I can tread water, and put on my game face in short spurts; heck I’ve even been known to turn on the old charm a time or two. I’ve always got a few cute quips and rejoinders in my arsenal, but the moment I reveal the real me, the facade crumbles.
I become that shy, retiring, socially inept, awkward little boy of my youth.

I remember being interviewed about a piece I wrote in my high school newspaper. The article was a rather scathing and brutal essay about fiscal mis-management in the student counsel. In my defence, it was a very thoroughly researched treatise, and fact checked within an inch of its life. I had truth, justice, and propriety on my side, and I was proud of myself.

A fellow student reporter decided to write a follow up piece. I was happy to discuss my investigative techniques and the essentials of the case, but then she turned the tables on me and started asking personal questions! Where did you grow up? What are your personal and professional aspirations? How has family life molded you into the person you are? What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I know what you are probably thinking. These are not difficult questions! I wholeheartedly agree with you, but I was really put on the spot!

When I go for job interviews, a process I abhor, rigorously but tolerate out of necessity.  I am at least slightly prepared for the onslaught. I have some intelligent responses dialled in. Some go-to rhetoric as it were, and I can always duck behind my humor blind if all else fails.

In this case though, I was struck dumb. Cold shivers undulated and rippled down my cowardly spine. My knees turned to jelly, perspiration sprang from every pore, and worst of all, my cheeks glowed a shade brighter than any steamed lobster I have ever known.
I stammered incoherently for a while, then clumsily excused myself. Not my finest hour!

Later that evening, in the sanctuary of my bedroom, I sat and wrote a brief bio. covering the salient points.  I was able, there, to quietly ponder each question, and respond to each, fairly eloquently.

The next day I slid the answer sheet across her desk and mumbled some lame excuse about feeling ill. I hated myself for lieing, but, then again, was it that far from the truth, really?

That same day, our basketball team won the finals, and her article never saw the light of day.

To the wonderful people that have taken time out of their busy day to read this post, I extend to you my sincerest thanks.

I also beg of you one teensy little favor. If ever the unlikely occasion arises, whereby you must interview me in person, please give me fair warning. Better still Email me the questions and I’ll answer you properly. 🙂

Keep Smiling,

~Cliffy

 

Copyright2013

Posted from WordPress for Android

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Comments on: "Comfort Zones" (8)

  1. Even though this was and is a serious situation, I couldn’t help but chuckle Cliff as I saw myself in the same positions as you. I shy a way from the camera because I think every side of me is the same, dull. I love being the leader, the one asking the questions. I love making others feel good about themselves, but in looking backwards, I am the one who feels the least secure in myself. I like to sit within my walls in my comfy chair, where no one is breathing over my shoulder and write straight from my heart. To not be afraid to error or make an ass of myself is an asset I cling to at all times. I don’t mind being talked about but I want to be able to direct the questions to the right areas. If we get too personal too quickly in front of the entire world I instantly let my mind start to graze in other people’s pastures. I wonder what they are thinking, are they laughing, am I dressed alright, do I sound or look dumb. Sometimes I am amazed at what I do make happen in my life. If I ended up standing face to face with you, I just know there would be no sweaty palms, there would only be smiles and hugs

    • It was very serious at the time, my friend, but just one of those laughable memories now. 😉 Thankfully, time, experience and maturity teach you how to handle situations like that with a little aplomb, I hope. LOL!
      We are always our own worst critics, don’t you agree? Self deprecation is preferable to the alternative.
      As for your last point, I’ll take that as a very sweet complement, thank you!

      I think for us, from a metaphysical point of view, meeting face to face, would be a little like looking into a mirror.

  2. I would have some the same thing. My walls are deep, and I’d like to think impenetrable.

    • It seems to be a common condition amongst creative people, but more prevalently with writers, from what I’ve seen. I’m finding it more of a crutch to lean on, the older I get.

      I try to involve myself in social circles, but my excuses for not attending are becoming more and more creative with every passing day. Does this ring true for you too, Jaded?

  3. I can so relate to this! In my younger years, I would have done much the same as you. As I’ve gotten older, and more confident, I find less trouble answering questions about myself, but I am still not one to readily discuss my personal life or feelings in person. I, too, fall back on humor and am a master at turning the discussion back around onto the other person. But God help the person who wants to take my picture! I’m fine with candid shots (that I am not aware of being taken) because they are so much more real to life, but posing for pictures? No way! Truly enjoyed this and looking forward to reading more!

    • Thank you very much for your kind and helpful comments!

      Glad you can relate, and that you have developed the tools and sense of humor to help you cope. A well placed jape can do a world of wonders.

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