I had some new experiences recently that I feel have connected me more firmly to the rest of humanity. They were experiences of shocking and strange word-vomit. I had never actually experienced this before – the kind of utterance that leads to the immediate reaction of “oh shit, why did I say that?!”
I’ve certainly said some things while intoxicated that I never would have said sober; I have certainly said things that I regret. I regretted them, however, when they failed to produce the desired result: the person I liked did not return the feeling, the person I was angry at didn’t apologize, etc. I’ve never said something and had the immediate sense of “shit, that’s not true, doesn’t make sense, and what the fuck, brain?!”
Until recently. The first is kind of funny. After disappointing sex that lasted all of three minutes, the person said “oh, I wish I hadn’t come so soon.” I wish I had said “me too” or “well, that doesn’t mean it’s all over” or something like that. My brain came back with “Practice makes perfect!” Now, that isn’t totally oddball and illogical, but I did have that immediate “WTF DID I JUST SAY?!” reaction, which I have never felt before. I also wasn’t really feeling like “practicing” with hir after that disappointing time, which added another layer of “why would I say that?!” My brain, on autopilot, processed quickly my past experiences and came up against my disappointment that I’ve never had sex with the same person twice before, calculated that an expression of support and empathy might make hir more likely to have sex with me again, completely bypassed the parts of my brain contemplating whether I ever wanted to have sex with hir again, and somehow decided that “Practice makes perfect!” was the correct thing to say. Brains. Weird!
The second is more serious, and more psychologically revealing. A friend said “I love you” – meaning as a human, a friend, a sentient being, with no expectations or strings attached. I blurted out “I love you too, but not that way.” Um, what way? The conventional interpretation of “that way” is sexually/romantically, and if my brain meant that, it was blatantly lying, because I would so give a relationship of any kind with this friend a shot, because zie is amazing. Fucked up as it is, my brain interprets unsolicited expressions of affection as a prelude to wanting me to do something I don’t want to do – sex, romance, unloading the dishwasher…from young single dudes, my brain concludes one of the first two, and I’ve often used the “I love you like a brother” or “I love you, I’m glad we’re such good FRIENDS” as a way to deal with these uncomfortable declarations in the past when I’ve sensed (correctly or incorrectly) that someone wanted something from me. Reflex, and panic response. In this case, totally incorrectly applied.
Sex freaks me out. Affection freaks me out. Both of these have given me my first experiences of awkward word-vomit. Despite the fact that I’ve mined a lot of psychologically important insights from these episodes, I’m also enjoying them in a light-hearted way. Look at my weird monkey-brain, doing weird monkey-things and talking without my permission!
In movies and tv shows, when nervous characters have blurted weird things and then turn to have that private “to the self (to the audience)” moment of “Why did you say that, you stupid arse?” my reaction has always been “yeah, why did you say that, you stupid arse?” Now I understand! I imagine this is probably a fairly common human experience, in which case, now I feel more connected to shared experiences of humanity. Even if it isn’t, I have a connection to the narratives humanity produces about what being a human is like. It makes me feel a bit warm and fuzzy inside. I understand now from the inside what it feels like to have your own mouth produce something that makes you go, not two seconds later, “what the fuck was that?” It can only make me a more compassionate and understanding human being.
So. When have you blurted out awkward stuff? Did you also feel a moment of connection with humanity?