I suffer from an anxiety disorder which gets worse when I am around people; because of this I become more astutely aware of my surroundings. In order for me to feel safe and secure in my environment I need to be alert of what those around me are doing. I feel I am able to see an aspect of human interaction many others do not. One aspect of said interactions interests me more than most, and this is how fake people can become. I know a large portion of our population is too afraid to act as they truly are. Why? I do not know the answer to this. It would be arrogant of me to claim to know why others act the way they do. My issues stem from insecurity, and the fear of making myself vulnerable, but I have no real psychological knowledge and very few ideas for why this is so. 

I do know from experience people are chameleons and act according to their surroundings. I myself have many different faces I put on everyday, and sometimes it gets hard to keep track of them all. I think I am able to pick up on the fakeness of those around me because I am consistently scanning body language and tone to identify perceived threats. My paranoia sometimes gets so out of hand I start to see threats that are no more than mere passerby’s.

This last fall we took the kids to this massive corn maze in Shakopee. In this maze you had to find these signs each with a letter of the alphabet; they all contained random Viking knowledge on them. I was anxious to go at first because I was worried I would have an episode like I had at the high school football game. When we first arrived I was completely unaware of what was going on around me. I was in the moment, it felt great; I was able to enjoy time with my family. The first letter we found was Z, followed by Y, X, then W. I was beginning to love the order in the madness of this maze. We kept searching and the next letter we found was K. Immediately I slipped into a full blown anxiety attack. This attack heightened my spider senses and I started to watch everyone for suspicious behaviors, after all I had to protect my family. Everyone seemed on the up-and-up (although this made me suspect them even more.)

I noticed the interactions of the people when they were in their groups, and how they acted when confronted with speaking to those outside of their party. I have always seen and been apart of being fake around others, but this time it was bothering me more than normal. This could be because I forgot my meds at home, and I was now stranded lost in this massive maze. Throughout the maze people were for the most part able to stay and interact strictly with their groups. Everyone was doing there own thing, until we hit a letter station. It was here where everyone seemed to huddle so they were able to read the sign and mark it off their maps. This congestion of people yielded a fog of fakeness. You had those who were highly insecure who would not even look up to acknowledge the sign. Then there were those who seemed filled with ego making comments like “blah, I already knew that, blah, look how cool I am, blah.” Then you had those who were uncomfortable and started to make uncomfortable small talk with those around them. What got me the most annoyed was the one liner followed by fake laughter. I was lucky enough to only get pulled into one of these one liner then laughter scenarios, but I refused to laugh.

I notice and take part in this fakeness all the time. At work I am considered weird and strange. I assume this is because I keep to myself, have tats, and will from time-to-time sport a dyed mohawk. The very few times I leave my office I walk with my head down. Even the times I have had to talk to people I am unable to make eye contact. It is because of this I have never been invited to play in their reindeer games. The one time I get stuck speaking to people is when I go outside to smoke. I try to not speak unless spoken to. I get so nervous that sometimes I will hear them say something and blurt out a comment. This is usually followed by a self chuckle, and the thought “what did I just say?”

When I do get roped into a conversation I have this painfully forced smile, followed by the worst acting laugh to stupid jokes or comments. If I am engaged in this type of situation I smoke my cigarette super speed style. The minute I turn around to head inside the smile immediately goes away and the fake laughter ceases. I try my hardest to not speak to people because it gives me panic attacks and I usually say or sound stupid. Words never come out as my original thought. Watching me interact with people is painfully uncomfortable.

I have one final example of the fakeness inside of us. There is a woman who is almost always outside when I go out. She is an older woman who loves to complain and loves to gossip even more. This woman has a distinct disdain for her co-workers, but there is this one man she hates from her very soul. This woman just tears him apart every chance she gets. If I didn’t already know this person was real I would have a hard time believing such a douche even existed. She will go on-and-on, but the minute this guy walks out the door she is all nice, and you would think they were best friends. The minute he walks away she is like I f’ing hate him. This transformation is very interesting.

I just wonder where all the genuine people are. In our daily interactions how are we to believe this is the “real” version of this or that individual. This concept makes me a tad uncomfortable. How am I able to stay safe if I can’t see the real you? When I am in public I see a sea of people wearing their masks. It is distracting and most likely a part of my anxiety induced psychoses, but either way they are there. Could I possibly have it all wrong and I am the only person who is fake? I can’t buy into this because where there is one there is many.

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Comments
  1. firecracker3 says:

    I also wonder many times who the genuine people are and where they hide out. I found many via other blogs it seems.
    In real life, I try to cut through the b.s. as quickly as possible. I get labeled a b*tch for that many times but I chalk it up to those same people being upset I did find them to be disingenuous and have left them feeling a bit naked now that the veneer was stripped away.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Firecracker,

      Welcome to the communty,

      It seems those who are fake become upset when you call them out. For some reason it just bothers me but interests me at the same time. I am as real as they come when it comes to my blog, but hide behind a mask in social situations

  2. Congrats on some excellent writting of your own. This is legit stuff man! Kudos.

  3. Being fake or wearing different masks has advantages. Because of my autism, I am the genuine me regardless of the situation and this often lands me in hot water. I often don’t behave or interact in a manner than many people believe is appropriate for certain situations.

    For example, when everyone else is somber, I may be smiling and cracking jokes. In another situation, I may be solemn, while everyone else is merry.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Rambling,
      I can relate to your inability to have empathy in situations. I have a hard time with empathy in general. Is it liberating to not have to wear many different masks? I imagine it would be.

  4. E_Dragon says:

    I appreciated your comment over at my blog and I was happy to see that you yourself had one as well. I have to say that if you are looking for a genuine person, you might want to keep your head up once as you walk past a reflection and see yourself for what I see you as. =) Genuine.

    Honesty is a difficult thing for many and for the most part I have been honest in my writing and I can see in your writing that it the same way for you.

    I appreciated your comment and mentioning the notion of Tabula Rasa as I think it pertains to your question of “Where Are The Genuine People?” in that the social interactions most of us use are in fact learned behaviours.

    Learned behaviours for the most part are like masks. We each have a personal life and a public life. The latter is where we learn from each other. While it is difficult let’s say for the lady to express her distain for her coworker to him directly, she most likely has learned that it is safer for her to be “friendly” to him rather than put herself in any sort of jeopardy.

    I do appreciate your honesty in your writing and I hope you won’t mind me dropping by once in a while as I did appreciate the discussion. Once thing that is still rattling back and forth in my head as I write this is if the letter K in the maze has any signifigance or if it was just happenstance and chronology (ie your meds) that led to your anxiety attack?

    Stress is something that I deal with on a daily basis these days and for a little while now I have been at odds with trying to decide if I am suffering from depression or not. Perhaps that is something I need to decide once and for all. I have been able to get passed the stress and depression for the most part but it still finds me on some days.

    Perhaps our interpersonal interactions are like that, we cannot escape them. We are after all humans, social beings who have the choice of being antisocial. Walk with your head up. A very wise woman once told me that and it surprised the heck out of me. I didn’t think anyone would take notice of that because I wasn’t paying attention to anyone except where my next step was going.

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Dragon,

      Welcome to the community. I am a chronic head down walker; I rarely ever walk with my head held high. I think writing this blog has given me a forum to metaphorically walk with my head held high. I can’t think of what significance the letter “k” has except for the fact it wasn’t “v.” The one thing that was keeping me straight was the order within the chaos. The fact we were tackling this maze based on the backwards chronological order of the alphabet made me feel relaxed and safe. Once we broke form the anxiety and panic hit me like a ton of bricks. At this point forgetting my meds was a bad idea!

  5. E_Dragon says:

    That is interesting and while I am trying my best not to rely on meds (I’ve been on tylenol 3’s for my broken knee but haven’t taken them muchlately), I do see how the meds can make a positive difference for some. I did suffer anxiety attacks a few times a few years ago, I thought I would suffer a heart attack or that my heart would not stop racing until it popped but it would always pass. I do see the merit in seeing the prescription through.

    I am glad that you are able to at least metaphorically walk with your head up in here. Metaphorical baby steps are still baby steps are they not? =)

    Also, my name is George. I started my blog a few years ago when anonymity on the internet was still a big concern for me. Plus it was a way for me to ensure that the online community that I was a part of would recognize me. =)

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      George,

      I have ended up in the ER before because i thought i was having a heart attack when in reality it was just a panic attack. I wish I didnt need my meds, although the outcome of not taking them is much worse than the negative affects it has on my body.

  6. angiekao says:

    I’m a little late on this, but this was a really excellent post that resonates with a lot of people including myself! I think about this a lot, wondering whats truly going on in people’s heads and what our interactions would be like if people shot directly from the hip. Maybe life would be worse, but what is it about human nature that makes us pretend around others?
    Anyway, really well-written post, I look forward to reading your blog more!

    • Tim Lundmark says:

      Angie,
      Welcome to the community. I think our world would be much like the world in the movie “The Invention of Lying” just much more violent. I am sure there are many things which keeps us from being our real self around other people and sometimes even with ourselves. It could be our desire to fit in, or those invisible societal boundaries which says we should be polite. Or it could be we try to mimic what we see on television or movies. I am sure each individual has their own reason for why they hide who they are and what their real thoughts and opinions are. For me I am afraid of showing the real me in fear of judgment and rejection

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