Saturday, October 20, 2012

Social Anxiety, Extroversion, and this one moment in Africa



When we watched one man haul our luggage in the hot sun. His silence and submissive downward stare touched me. It didn’t seem right this one man doing all the work while we stood by, not offering a hand.

Group dynamics are insanely powerful forces. Never should they be underestimated. We are hardwired to observe others’ behavior on how to act appropriately because people that act different are excluded and being excluded sucks.

I stand there, hat on heat, a light sheen of sweat on my brow. There are butterflies in my stomach, I want to help this man but everyone is fiddling with their cameras and talking chit-chattily. No one seems to notice or care about the one man working his ass off carrying our ton of crap. Are five suitcases really necessary?

There are butterflies in my stomach. I’m thinking about lend a handing but is it an appropriate gesture? What if he takes offense? Am I racist for wanting to help a black man? Will others think of me negatively?

Me: Fuck it. I am going to help this dude.

Matching his pace, I start picking up bags and hauling. Within heartbeats others are helping as well. I feel a surge of happiness – people are responding to my initial action and concerted group effort is being exerted. I initiated a positive action and did something worthwhile! I’ve made a difference!

In the space of a few seconds I go from passive observer to active helper. Doubt, confusion, and fear propel me to do something worthwhile. I roll the dice, take the jump, and risk something. Else I face stagnation. For if doubt, confusion, and fear are not released, they pile up and create rotting energies. Of course not every moment has to be seized, but if they aren’t every once in a while, passive stagnant habits develop that lead to boredom, vague frustration, and insubstantial happiness.  

This is a critical moment. It symbolizes other changes in my life that are occurring presently. Namely, doing what I want to do and screwing what others think. Freeing myself of other's opinions is a hard habit and it takes some effort, courage, and risk. There is failure involved. There is embarassment. But there is laughter and flow and sexiness. 

SPONTANEITY!!!!!!

Just do it. That’s it. Just do it. Get that energy moving. Get in the pool. Once you are in your fine. Then you can have a great time swimming. Marco Polo anyone?

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

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Jared Levenson said...

I hear you.

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Jared Levenson said...

Wow thank you! Compliments are always much appreciated :)