Not Selling Her Soul to Rock ‘n Roll

imag2242
Cerebral shy girls tend to very much be sincerely nice and polite, on the rare occasions when we interact with other people. Often, we prefer to be alone — or we face the world from behind a brilliantly constructed and optimized public persona; a facade that gives the public what it wants, even if that persona is the opposite of who we really are, deep down.

As cerebral shy girls, you’d think that our benevolence makes us appreciated socially. That’s how it should be, but in fact we’re often treated unfairly, and our niceness is mistaken for weakness by those who have no problem being rude, mean or otherwise unfair to us. We tend to be so benevolent in our world view that, as teenagers and young adults, we presume benevolence and fairness as a basic operating principle as fundamental as gravity, and when we experience meanness and injustice, our first reaction is to be almost as perplexed as if we were to release a heavier-than-air object and instead of falling vertically down, it does something else.

We have a hard time dealing with negativity directed against us, not least because we are so benevolent and are so committed to the idea of fairness that we give others the benefit of the doubt, hence we often assume that if someone is treating us badly, it might well be because we deserve it. Being a social misfit and being painfully aware of being different increases the likelihood of self-criticism. Instead of wondering why typical people don’t rise to our standard, we chastise ourselves for being unable to think and behave like typical people. Whether we emulate their social behavior by trying to think like them or by mimicking it without understanding it, interaction with typical people tends to be overwhelming and exhausting for us. Many cerebral shy girls have no cerebral-shy-girl friends and so the girl feels utterly alone and isolated socially from, on her premises, the entire human race. It seems reasonable for her to assume she’s the problem, even though she is, ironically, not.

I have yet to see a cerebral shy girl become jaded and mean. Instead, worst case, we just isolate ourselves more and more, socially.

Here are some examples of cerebral shy girls being nice:

  • Example 1: I was in a situation where one of my cerebral shy girl friends was having a very difficult time, personally. Her anxiety level was very high. She wasn’t just dealing with a lifetime of denigrating herself as a misfit — which, by typical standards, she is. She was also processing the additional information I was providing her, including that typical standards do her an injustice, and that she’s magnificent as a person — even though it’ll take her a while to integrate these new premises into something that will supersede the self-denigrating idea set that she’s assembled over a lifetime. It would take her even longer to experience the benefits emotionally. Until then, she was in for a rough ride. Somewhere amidst all this, she nevertheless made a point of focusing on me, and she sincerely said something so thoughtful, sensitive and kind to me that I was amazed at how benevolent and polite she is, even while an emotional tidal wave was engulfing her.
  • Example 2: A new cerebral shy girl friend had a birthday. She received dozens of happy-birthday wishes on FaceBook, and what impressed me was her polite, sincere thank-you to each and every one.
  • Example 3: Me. I’m a cerebral shy girl too. Most people would describe me as extremely nice and polite. I’ve had my share of romantic break-ups too, and I made a point of being nice and polite during those as well — in fact, especially then. I’m a software developer, and I’m not just nice and polite personally but also in a work context. One day, the company president of a client company in LA brought me into the center of his open-plan office. He, with his staff, and I had worked together for several highly productive months, while I was leading a team that was making custom software that would, as it turned out, enable his business to flourish. The company president paraded me around the open-plan office while getting everyone’s attention. When everyone was focused on what he was about to say, he told them to take a good look at me because I am, he said, doomed to fail in life, because I am too nice including being too honest. I’m not sure how this was supposed to inspire his workers. I found it very perplexing.
  • Example 4: A musician who, I’d guess, is very much a cerebral shy girl too. From everything I’ve seen, when she writes informally on social media, she seems to generally have dispensed with her public persona, and the behind-the-scenes girl is visible — extremely nice and polite.

As for this musician, part of her career is public knowledge. Early on, she already knew that not everyone is nice. When she was 21 years of age, her quest for band-mates involved a recruiting poster with the explicitly stated requirement of “must be nice.” As she described in her song lyrics sixteen years later, when she met the gentleman whom she chose to marry, what appealed to her the most was that he was nice, with kind eyes and a nice smile.

If I’m understanding the information correctly, she continued being nice and benevolent, with various music industry people treating her unfairly. The band she’d co-founded became ever more successful, but instead of being able to enjoy its success, her stress level was sky-high. Whether as a solo artist or in the context of a band, there are many generally known examples of her being nice and benevolent and trusting, yet being treated unfairly.

Over the years, the musician’s life followed the official social pattern that had seemed elusive by the time she was in her early 30s. She was married, had and raised two boys, and her music career continued decade after decade (and still does). Yet, as I read what she writes, and even more as I read between the lines, she’s sometimes overwhelmed and/or deeply unhappy. In no way am I implying that this is a reflection on her or on whomever she’s with. Being unhappy isn’t a condition for which the first step, or any step, is to find someone to blame. Even so, I would delight in seeing this musician thrive emotionally, whatever that means she ends up doing. It’d be nice for the story line to take a turn where the princess is no longer lonely up in her emotional tower, isolated from the rest of the world.

As I came to learn more about this girl, and I realized she’s another cerebral shy girl, I came to feel more and more benevolence toward her. What had always bothered me about Robin Williams’s passing was that he had seemed so upbeat publicly yet after he’d passed away, it became apparent that he’d had, as someone phrased it, “a long battle with depression.” As I read more about celebrities passing away in their 50s or 60s, it seemed so ironic to me. With modern medicine and ample funding, someone could, all other things being equal, live a long and happy life. However, many far-too-young deaths seemed related to that stark five-word phrase: “a long battle with depression.” So, when I read more and more information from this musician that implies that she’s personally also had a long battle with depression, it gave me the chills.

Meanwhile, this being 2016, the list of celebrities passing away in their 50s or 60s has become long and stark. I recall seeing an interview video in which the musician girl was being questioned during an interview in Japan, in 1986. She was being asked about which famous musician she liked. She mentioned Prince, someone else mentioned George Michael … and today, in late December 2016, both of these musicians have passed away while in their 50s. This musician girl, whom I like so much, is also in her 50s.

I confess that part of my benevolence towards her is an implicit concern, and the hope that she will soon deeply thrive, and live a long and happy life. My writing has a steadily energetic pace because I hope that my articles reach her, in every sense of the word. She is one of the people whose obituary I never want to read. By the time she passes away I hope to be very, very old so that I can’t even read an obituary any more.

I like heroism, especially female heroic figures. I recently tried to find a picture of a tall, muscular, blonde warrior queen, confidently holding up her hand and arm in a “stop” gesture to halt the Grim Reaper as he shuffles towards a slender brunette lying some distance away. “Not this one — not now and not soon,” would be a good caption. That’s how I feel about it.

Ironically, in my own 2016 journey, I’ve met several other wonderful cerebral shy girls, and I’ve enjoyed their benevolence, and providing them in turn with well-deserved benevolence too, in the hope that each of these girls will, as the late Leonard Nimoy would have said, live long and prosper.

How can I help? One way is to provide insights that each cerebral shy girl can integrate with her own idea set to the extent she chooses to. In at least one example, my insights have made a major positive difference, and I’m delighted. When it’s a cerebral shy girl with whom I interact in person, we talk a lot. For the intended benefit of all the other cerebral shy girls, including the musician girl — I write these articles.

Why this image to illustrate the article? Well, the band that the musician girl co-founded is a rock band … and for many people, “sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll” was a package deal. Not for this girl. I don’t know about her sex life, but if she was sexually wild, she hid its evidence well.  As to drugs, she explicitly expressed a lack of interest therein. The only part of the “sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll” in which she was interested involved rock music.

This musician was, and still is, highly lusted after by vast amounts of people, so if she’d wanted a wild sex life, it was certainly available. No doubt, so were drugs. If she didn’t have a wild sex life or used drugs, it would be due to her having exercised a choice. She chose to maintain integrity with whatever her values were and are. This is the opposite of what is meant by “selling one’s soul.” So, in her case, she kept it, instead of selling it.

Not that I’m saying there’s anything wrong with having a wild sex life — and as to drugs, some of the most ethical people I know personify the phrase “better living through chemicals.” But if one’s value system excludes these, then integrity demands: do in fact exclude these.

Choosing this life path was not for lack of awareness of the alternatives. For example, she likes the Sex Pistols, who have refined social rebelliousness almost to an art form. In fact, if I read between the lines correctly, she did execute something brilliant as such in 2012. It was the sort of emotional-prison-break attempt that, if it didn’t pan out, would remain undiscovered. In the subsequent few years, her energy level seems lower, but I’m not counting her out. In fact, I’m cheering her on.

As to what might empower her for her next emotional-prison-break attempt: somewhere along my journey, I enjoyed one of my cerebral shy girl friends telling me how difficult and lonely her life was until she met another cerebral shy girl friend (and she didn’t mean me, but a different girl). Also, I enjoyed another cerebral shy girl friend telling me how difficult and lonely her life was until she met me — because having a cerebral shy girl friend was a new, empowering and soothing experience.

Simply not feeling alone any more is a huge step already, but it seems to help each cerebral shy girl to ponder the possibility that her unusual brand of personal weirdness isn’t inherently bad, just different — and then to ponder that if the entire planet were to consist of cerebral shy girls, it’d be a much, much nicer place, hence her unusual brand of personal weirdness is good.

Watching a cerebral shy girl come to realize that she’s wonderful instead of deficient … that has been most rewarding for me, personally. As to what happens next, when a cerebral shy girl becomes aware of her own value and strength … who knows what trails she might be inspired to blaze. In one case, a cerebral shy girl had been working at the same place for many years, even though she was miserable and her boss was appropriating the academic credit for her scientific work. She seemed to become more confident and empowered, the more that she and I discussed life. Eventually, she quit her job, and found a new place where they worship the ground she walks on, and her salary is literally three times as much, and she enjoys the work more. In turn, she also inspired me. It is in large part thanks to her influence that I found the confidence to live openly as a trans girl.

This sort of mutually beneficial dynamic ties into the theme of a movie I enjoyed this weekend: Cloud Atlas. The movie makes the point that every mean thing and every good thing we do has consequences into the far future. Cerebral shy girls benevolently empowering each other … that’s a good example.

 

Advertisements

Sunday Morning, Part 4

The brunette rolled onto her side, her elbow planted on the bed, her palm supporting the side of her head. “I used to dislike my own body so much,” she said, in the form of a compliment to the blonde who was lying in a mirror-image pose, so that the two girls were facing each other. Both girls were in the nude.

The blonde’s fingers trailed lightly along the brunette’s hips, then along her side, passing between her breast and shoulder, and then along her neck. The sparkly pink-and-purple fingernails disappeared behind the brunette as the blonde’s palm gently curved along the back of the brunette’s neck, kneading her gently.

“I’m glad,” the blonde said, with her eyes narrowed slightly, in emphasis. The brunette’s eyes were almost closed, showing how much she was enjoying being caressed. The blonde added, “As to that subject, it’s ironic that a chorus of compliments didn’t reach you at an emotional level, but one lone voice did.”

“It was the quality of the logic in the words that this voice was conveying,” the brunette mused, remembering. She added, “I wish we’d had that first conversation so much sooner. I could not understand the reasons for the delay. I started to wonder if I had perhaps been misreading you. Though you were not blatant, you seemed to indeed be focused on me and I couldn’t help but notice, eventually. Once I did, I was intrigued though it was hard for me to focus happily on anything or anyone at the time. As you know, life was extra hard for me, that year. And yet … my work made me so easily accessible to you. You could simply approach me in person after an event, yet you didn’t take the opportunity. I kept wondering why.”

“Now that you know my reasons, do you like how I handled it?”

“Yes, for two reasons. The first is that you could indeed not have known whether or not you’d be welcome since I’d given you no direct feedback. I appreciate you erring on the side of giving me distance as opposed to crowding me. I like your second reason even more … that I’m accustomed to being pursued so I deflect advances as a matter of routine, hence the you-and-I dynamic could only get traction if I reached out to you, not the other way around. You made it abundantly clear that I would be welcome to do so, and you simply waited while continuing to write thought-provoking articles. Eventually, I was ready to take the initiative of clearly conveying to you that your presence at my work place would be welcome.”

The blonde smiled, remembering how happy she’d been when she had seen the relevant message.

The brunette continued, “while I was working on-stage that day, your presence was indeed a distraction but in a good way. I thought the butterflies in my tummy had long since died away, and yet evidently that hadn’t been the case. Of course, then I felt ridiculous about that. After work, when it was time to mingle with the public, there were more than a dozen strangers, mostly guys, talking to me, jostling for attention. I remember thinking ‘don’t leave, don’t leave’ silently directed at you, while I was trying to be polite to whomever was talking to me. I kept glancing at you. You seemed so serene, waiting there. The last guy was going on and on, and I was willing him to wrap it up and leave. When he didn’t, I started getting stressed out. I finally interrupted him and stammered something until he got the point. After he’d left, there you and I were, looking at each other, and then you held out your hand to me.”

“I remember those few seconds fondly,” said the blonde.

“I remember feeling slightly offended, as in, when people want to talk to me, they approach me. And yet, I walked over to you and took your hand, smiling my nervous smile at you — which you noticed and commented upon. Your first words were: ‘that’s your nervous smile, yes?’ It was an unusual way to start a conversation, but somehow that was the perfect thing to say, too. I nodded, and then you asked if I’d had a 30-seconds-or-more hug in the last ten years. Later, when I mentally revisited the events, and I pondered that question, I appreciated how you’d made it so easy for me to reply … yes or no. I didn’t have to think long. I like that you next asked me if I knew that starting 20 seconds into a hug, the female brain releases feel-good chemicals. Another simple reply for me … yes or no. Then, you asked if I’d like a 30-second hug with you counting off the seconds, and me totally relaxing. Another simple reply for me … yes or no, but it wasn’t you asking permission to hug me; it was you asking if I wanted a hug. There was a fundamental difference, in that. Thanks to your approach, I felt empowered. I liked that so much. Me totally relaxing … it seemed unimaginable, but I was willing to try. I like how you opened your arms and invited me closer, as opposed to you coming toward me. Me coming toward you … I like what that implies. In the you-and-I dynamic, I’m choosing, and acting — as opposed to being passive and then simply permitting or denying requests. I like how you didn’t tell me how to breathe, but you breathed slowly and deeply, so then I started following your cue. That helped me relax so much more, yet. I like how you started by counting and then faded out to silently counting, but then when the 30 seconds were almost up, you counted the last few seconds aloud. It was sweet and thoughtful — and very much what I needed, emotionally.”

“It’s ironic that we’re both cerebral shy girls, yet our initial in-person contact was so candidly primal,” the blonde mused.

“I liked how even after our hug ended, you still stood with your hands on my hips. That somehow kept the you-and-I primal connection going, for me. I liked how you breathed deeply again, then, and so did I. I liked that you asked ‘Better, yes?’ and when I’d replied, you also gently asked ‘Overdue, yes?’ … that was a hard question to answer — not so much on the surface but as to the implications. I’ve been isolating myself so I felt awkward, rejecting sympathy because I only had myself to blame — and yet, it was nevertheless a yes-or-no question. Your facial expression was the perfect response. You looked benevolent and sympathetic without implying that I deserved pity. I liked that.”

“I liked that you were receptive to me saying I’d like to check some of my premises as they pertain to you,” the blonde smiled, still caressing the back of the brunette’s neck slowly. “And I do love it when your eyes have that veiled-with-pleasure look.”

“What an intense conversation that would turn out to be,” the brunette mused, snuggling closer. “I also liked that I felt I’d be safer with you walking me out to my car than not.”

The blonde stroked the back of the brunette’s head gently, remembering. “You seemed to like that we next discussed and planned the walk out to your car, with you having the title of my protégé. A typical person would have accused us of overthinking it.”

“I especially liked when you pinpointed how much I dislike being approached by random strangers who want to talk to me or take selfies, yet I endure it. I like how you said … how did you phrase it again?”

The blonde looked pensive, then replied: “Something like: ‘So, if this time you’d like support in you saying ‘no’ then I’d be happy to help as such. Worst case, you elicit a negative reaction and the person shows that he wasn’t worthy of your benevolence anyway. Then again, if it’s someone nice and they accept your ‘no’ graciously, you’re always free to change your mind and go back and say ‘yes.’ But for starters, I don’t get the idea you say ‘no’ often and if you would like to, here’s your chance. It’s not just you saying ‘no’ all alone, but instead you say ‘no’ in your capacity as my protégé, so you can mentally think ‘Tanya’s protégé says … ‘ and you can say the ‘… no’ aloud. This approach has helped another cerebral shy girl in a similar situation. Do you like the idea enough to try it?’ ”

“I did indeed. That little bit extra was just what I needed, right then. I felt very empowered. Indeed, I was. Nothing is more empowering than wanting to say ‘no’ and then indeed saying ‘no.’ I loved that. Whatever hits I took in PR credits, I gained much more in peace of mind. Who’d have thunk it, that I never stopped being your protege from then on, starting that night?”

The blonde smiled. “I like how we reasoned through the ethics of it all. Do you remember that part?”

The brunette nodded, and replied: “Almost verbatim. As I recall, you said: ‘If someone demands a justification, you don’t have to provide one. You don’t owe the world your time. It’s a privilege that you can choose to endow on someone if you choose to be particularly benevolent. By buying seating or a CD, there’s no free face-time with you included in the deal. You can choose to add in-person interaction on a case-by-case basis, but the normal status quo is where you withhold it, not where you endow it.’ ”

The blonde nodded. “You seemed to like it when I pointed out that PR is work and that you don’t work 24×7, so thinking ‘Tanya’s protégé says: PR is work and I’m not working right now’ is a good basis for ‘Tanya’s protégé says: no.'”

“It was very freeing,” the brunette agreed. “Until then I’d always felt obligated. It was a good idea to practice it beforehand, too. We were totally overthinking it by typical standards but for us it was perfect. The example you suggested was someone approaching me and saying ‘I wanna snap a quick selfie, okay?’ I liked thinking ‘Tanya’s protégé says … ” and then saying ‘no’ aloud, and turning my face away. That little bit of prior-practice play-acting helped my confidence. The part about not being dragged into an argument when someone feels entitled … that was important too. Not rewarding petulant or otherwise bad behavior … what a good principle. I wish I’d adopted that as my first official act when I started adulthood. I’ve always tried to mollify people when there was a potential conflict situation, and no wonder that things ended up always being unfair to me.”

The blonde mused, “You sure got the opportunity quickly, as to exercising your new superpower.”

The brunette nodded, enjoying the process of revisiting the events of that night. “I like how we’d pre-arranged the key words for the three different levels of you being emotionally supportive: ‘hand’ for holding my hand, ‘waist’ for your arm around my waist and keeping yourself between me and the annoying person, and ‘jacket’ for making me disappear inside your black leather jacket. We’d hardly stepped outside the building when that stranger’s camera-flash blinded me and the guy whined ‘excuse me’ and next wanted me to pose for a selfie with him. That flash had been so disorienting. I loved being able to simply say ‘jacket,’ and how you then held your arm up and your jacket open, so that I could duck underneath. It felt so safe, as if I was finding safety and comfort under your wing. I liked turning my face into your chest. I still remember how your jacket smelled of your perfume — subtly so, and yet the effect was very reassuring, as in: it feeling somehow safer yet. I was under your protection, and it very much felt like that too, for me. When the guy yelled ‘Bitch!’ at me, it felt so far away, and it didn’t matter to me emotionally. As your protégé, I felt disconnected from his anger. I liked that. I also recall thinking that it was good I hadn’t inconvenienced myself for someone as undeserving as he was. I also liked that you were totally non-confrontational about it. You and I just floated away, like mist, leaving the guy behind in his anger. You didn’t even talk to him at all. We just slowly disappeared together. I loved that. I liked keeping my face turned towards your chest. I didn’t even look where I was walking. I was already trusting you implicitly. It felt so comforting …”

The blonde smiled, remembering. The brunette continued: “It felt so natural for me to ask you to drive us somewhere private, where we could talk some more. I like how you unlocked my car door for me, put the keys into my hand, then wrapped your jacket around me and ushered me into the passenger seat, then locked me in again using the door knob. Do you remember what you told me?”

“I do. I asked you to sit with your head high, and to look up at something pretty.”

“That startled me. Until you’d said that, I was in ‘let’s just get out of here’ almost-panicky mode, and what you said changed all that. I did hold my head up high, and I did look at something pretty: a tall, proud, alert, protective blonde girl, walking around my car, checking its tires for vandalism, and personifying a guardian angel. I love how you’d planned it all out. If someone dangerous had shown up, I had my own car key and was safely locked inside, so worst-case scenario, I could get into the driver seat and drive away — not that I’d have left you there, though.”

“Even though we had a good start, it took you a while to get around to truly evaluate me other than by typical standards. For a while, you were still basically evaluating me negatively just as you did yourself, subconsciously disrespecting me because I am someone who, by typical standards, overthinks things. When you finally realized that you can apply a better standard, your opinion of me skyrocketed, as did your opinion of yourself. I loved experiencing that, from close by.”

“Very close by, indeed,” the brunette said, with a sexy smile. The girls smiled at each other in harmony, enjoying how the rays of the morning sun were lighting up their happy bedroom.

And my Wish for this Holiday Season…

ggIMG_20161214_124405.jpg

To be loved means: to be highly valued. A prerequisite for that is: to be understood — otherwise, who or what indeed is being loved? For cerebral shy girls, this can be a problem, because even while hearing expressions of love, unless we feel understood, the love doesn’t register at an emotional level.

As such, for every misunderstood and lonely-feeling cerebral shy girl who reads this, here is an extra-warm wish that you enjoy coming to the attention of someone who finds you — the real you — interesting; someone who empathizes with, and likes, your traits even if they seem weird to typical people or even to you, yourself. May you take comfort and strength in being understood and appreciated for who you are, so that you eventually become empowered to revise your vision of the world and yourself, to where it’s no longer just you being unusual — that instead there are two types of people in the world as to this set of traits: cerebral shy girls vs. typical people, and you’re not alone or weird. You’re simply in the first group, and a very small minority as such.

This tiny minority of cerebral shy girls doesn’t have a support group. We don’t have fundraising events, or benefit concerts, or a flag, or our own special night clubs, or a pride parade. Most of us feel utterly isolated and lonely, beyond hope as to experiencing the love that we crave, yet feel we don’t deserve.

Ironically, we deserve it so richly, because our unusual traits would become a non-problem in a world populated solely by girls like us. Thoughtfulness, kindness and benevolence would abound. While showing our true selves, i.e., not a public persona, we would easily connect with those around us: socially, emotionally, romantically and/or sexually.

A girl’s morale and outlook can fundamentally change very quickly once she starts revising her evaluation of herself vs. typical people. Cerebral shy girls are mentally fast-processing once it comes to throwing out bad ideas and replacing them with an integrated idea set by which she deserves to be highly valued.

 

Supergirl, Loneliness and Kryptonite

In the Superman story, and its spin-offs such as Supergirl, the hero or heroine has capabilities beyond those of typical humans, unless there is a type of substance called “Kryptonite” nearby, in which case the hero or heroine becomes disempowered and downright miserable.

Scaled down, the analogy fits some actual people. I’ve observed that a few of us have mental wiring that make us fundamentally different from typical humans, especially as to social dynamics. No doubt we are also shaped by how we are raised and what we experience, even as adults — but as far as I understand the issues, someone who has this sort of special mental wiring was essentially born with it. I call girls with this trait “cerebral shy girls.” Our unusual brain wiring makes us capable of thriving intensely and performing amazing cerebral feats — but we can also experience the great sadness that comes with excruciating loneliness — as far as I can tell, more extremely so than seems to be the case with typical girls or guys.

Why the loneliness? With this sort of brain wiring, we find it impossible to think as typical people do. Unless we interact with someone else who is like us, we tend to feel lonely at a soul-deep level. Even if we have a family who loves us, and/or many members of the public who fawn over us — if these are typical people, then much as we value their involvement, we don’t feel connected with them. Fundamentally, we feel disconnected and misunderstood. Due to that: love, appreciation and adulation doesn’t really register with us at a level where it helps us feel fundamentally less lonely, nor do we feel fundamentally better about ourselves regardless of the compliments and assurances that we hear from typical people.

To function in public, many of us develop a public-facing persona: an integrated, refined set of attributes that we have assembled and polished, so that typical people experience the interaction with us as positive. Often, we overshoot, so that a cerebral shy girl might well come across publicly as especially endearing and charming.

Meanwhile, if she’s not among other cerebral shy girls, her secret chagrin is often how to fit in socially with typical people. For lack of a better idea, the most reasonable-seeming approach is to learn how to think like typical people do, yet with all of her efforts, she finds this impossibly difficult. She feels lonely, isolated and depressed even if there are typical people around her who love her.

In past articles, I’ve written about cerebral shy girls who have been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. It’s not as simple as having been diagnosed as such or not. Someone can be a cerebral shy girl whether or not she was, or could have been, diagnosed as such.

In the past, being gay was officially considered a mental disorder. So was being transgender. So was having Aspergers Syndrome. Nowadays, these have disappeared – and rightly so — from the official guideline used to identify a trait as a mental disorder. Being unusual as such doesn’t make someone crazy.

I’m a cerebral shy girl. I make a point of identifying and befriending girls who think as I do. In two respective occasions, when two separate cerebral shy girls were visiting me, each suggested we watch a popular movie. In both cases, the movie that the girl recommended involved someone with Aspergers Syndrome, even though neither girl had been diagnosed as such. It’s just that we relate to feeling so different, socially.

Early on in the dynamic, when a cerebral-shy-girl friend comes over to visit me for movie night, I like us to watch one of the “X-Men” movies, in which genetic mutations endow the individual with capabilities that typical people don’t have. In the movie, the person with the genetic mutation rarely likes being that way, and tries various ways of coping with being different. If the person attempts to fit in by trying to be like typical people, it’s an impossible struggle. As a result of failing, the people with the genetic mutations are often lonely, and feel freakish, and are miserable. I like to pause the movie at key points where the parallels are stark, between the dramatized genetic mutations and the genetic mutations that make a girl a cerebral shy girl.

Often, cerebral shy girls are very familiar with the X-Men stories. I don’t think that’s a coincidence, because so much of it fits, as an analogy. For example, long before we watched our first movie together, a cerebral-shy-girl friend gave me a lovely compliment. She said I reminded her of “Professor X” in the X-men movies. I love that. I have this genetic mutation too, but I accept it and I work with it. I use my unusual way of thinking to make things better. I seek others like myself and I comfort and empower them, including teaching them that we can harmonize socially and professionally with typical people — but not by trying to be typical people or by denigrating our own nature.

One of my cerebral-shy-girl friends used to socially struggle, and then she met and befriended another cerebral shy girl (not me). The presence of another cerebral-shy-girl friend made a huge and positive difference in how happy she nowadays is, which in turn empowers her when dealing with typical people.

Much as the presence of loving and caring typical people nearby is valuable, they can help only so much. As cerebral shy girls, we still feel different, and psychologically lonely. For us, that loneliness has the same effect as Kryptonite has, for Supergirl.

It’s easy to tell whether a cerebral shy girl has a cerebral-shy-girl friend in her life. If she is fundamentally sad and feels overwhelmed by normal life, then most likely: no, she doesn’t. To rectify that, a wonderful first step is a friendship with another cerebral shy girl.

Sunday Morning, Part 3

The brunette rolled over onto her back, and looked pensively at the ceiling. She slowly said: “Until not that long ago, I was so sure about being straight. I’m supportive of LGBT issues but I never thought of myself as actually being part of that group. At most, if I did belong, I thought I’d barely qualify for being in the bisexual subcategory, as in: the straightest bisexual girl, ever. I certainly didn’t think of myself as lesbian. Perhaps part of that is that I don’t fit the girl-who-likes girls stereotype at all. Most girls like us are very open about their sexual preference whereas I’m very private, even now.”

The blonde processed this, nodded and waited for more.

The brunette hesitated, then said: “I thought the female physique is pretty but I’ve had many opportunities to see scantily-clad girls, and it’s not like they had me salivating on sight, even though many of them were lovely. And then, what little I know of lesbian porn confirmed that I’m definitely not like that because that’s not how I’d be, in bed.”

The blonde nodded in understanding, and asked: “for you, so much of it is cerebral, isn’t it?”

“Exactly. Well, I am a cerebral girl, so probably I shouldn’t be all that surprised. I’ve always seen sexuality as a way of two people connecting, and I went with the typical-culture premise that this mostly means a physical connection. Of course, there has to be a physical aspect to it. But, how huge a component the mental connection is … that surprised me greatly. I wonder how much of that is due to the girl-girl aspect vs. us being two cerebral girls together.”

“I’d guess that both of us being cerebral indeed makes the cerebral aspect of sexuality so much more important,” the blonde ventured, and added, “however, I’m just guessing. Just as I can’t speak for what it’s like to be a guy, I also can’t speak for what it is to be a non-cerebral girl, or a straight girl.”

The brunette nodded: “I’m just so surprised at how different it is from being with a guy – for me, anyway — including how intense the connection. I mean, I always thought the issue for me was one guy vs. another guy. I figured that by choosing the best-for-me guy, I’d maximize my happiness by optimizing my love life. And then, when .. how do I say this … when my options became limited as such, I was so sad. It didn’t even occur to me that there are other options, as in: another pool in which I should be looking.”

“You’ve had a hard journey, romance-wise,” the blonde said gently.

The brunette nodded. “In spite of the conflict, I love the connection I’d had with that one guy. I mean that precisely: the connection … not everything. As to connection, I’d felt a sort of soul-deep candor. I wasn’t on a pedestal. I wasn’t sitting in the audience; I was in the arena. I wasn’t being treated as if I were glass. I was needed, I was being used, I was even being hurt — but I had a voice and I used that, too. Even in conflict, that was preferable to loneliness. Even when he and I were arguing, there was a sort of direct, raw, human-to-human candid mental connection that I craved after I lost it. Not that I like arguing – I dislike it intensely.“

The blonde looked at her in understanding, as the brunette continued: “At first, when I read what you were writing, it sounded like a cerebral-girl sexual connection would be intimate but … how do I say this nicely … “

“Boring? Bland?”

“Yes! And it’s so very much not. The intimacy is always there and when there’s a spike of lust then it’s vastly intense. And then afterward, it’s still very nice even as things gradually simmer down to our normal level of intimacy. With straight sex, the time afterward can be nice, but often it’s very much not. What’s also nice, with us together, is that I feel that I can let go, which is a first for me. I don’t have to manage things. It’s almost like someone dresses me in a high-quality, proven fireproof suit and then douses me with a flame-thrower. I can be fearless. That’s very, very nice. Like, last night … “ they made eye contact and smiled at each other, their eyes sparkling.

“How did you know I’d like girls?” the brunette asked.

“I didn’t know it for a fact, but you’d made a few comments over the years, and then whenever you wrote about romance and sexuality, it had the essentials of the sort of dynamic that I’d consider typical to two cerebral girls being together, in bed: unconditional love, being comforted and so on.”

“By the time I became aware of you, I thought it was immaterial what I liked because it was too late for me anyway. I felt so old.”

“Understandably, since the sort of journey you’ve had would have that effect. Remember how you wrote, 25 years ago, how you felt old then too?”

The brunette nodded. “I didn’t realize it’s a state of mind, and has to do with one’s internal level of zest and energy. It’s so ironic how now, I don’t feel old.”

“And then, your marriage …”

“That was the hardest part. Your suggestion of talking about it openly seemed crazy and then one day I just somehow was in the right place at the right time and in the right mindset, and I brought it up,” the brunette said.

“I love how you phrased it.”

“Asking what emotions he’d feel if I told him I’ve just figured out I like girls … wow.”

Both girls looked pensive.

“Many emotions, indeed,” the brunette said, sounding a little sad. “Even so, I’m glad I asked. The conversation was more difficult than I thought I’d be able to handle but once I was in it, I handled it. That it would be so freeing, and ironically mutually beneficial … I was surprised. I mean, everything changed, after that.”

The blonde looked earnest, remembering.

The brunette continued: “In some ways, I wish I’d met you earlier but I would not have been ready for you anyway. I insisted on experiencing the whole social-propriety role from start to finish. And then, with perfect timing really, you show up.”

The blonde smiled at her in appreciation of the implied compliment.

“My life is so clean and simple, now,” the brunette said. “I was afraid that being with you or being open would complicate things to where I’d go from being somewhat overwhelmed to being totally overwhelmed. And yet, now I’m not overwhelmed at all. I’m calm, and happy, and ready to take on the world. Not that the world needs to be taken on. It turns out it’s fine if I live my life and focus on being happy. You look like you’re thinking of something beyond what I’ve just said,” the brunette observed.

“I am indeed. Song lyrics.”

“Which song?”

“If she knew what she wants …”

The brunette smiled warmly, appreciating the irony.

Rock Star & Software Engineer

A few days ago, I was driving behind a humble-looking pickup truck in a humble neighborhood in Nevada. I noticed that the back window had a decal touting the energy drink called “Rock Star.”  The owner of the vehicle seemed unlikely to personally be a rock star but the phrase means someone superlative, to the extent where it’s so positive an association that it’s good marketing to have an energy drink named after that.

I wonder what it’s like to actually be a rock star, especially as the years go by. I wonder about the future prospects, and the finances.  Twitter is a wonderful tool for connecting with people, and I had a conversational exchange with a professional musician who seemed to exude success, so I asked her how fame and fortune were treating her. With reference to the latter, she disillusioned me and explained that very few professional musicians can make a living simply by their music.  This particular girl was making ends meet by being a music teacher when she wasn’t personally performing.

My degree is in accounting, and I like to play with numbers, so it was an interesting exercise to figure the size of a club or arena in which an artist might be performing, and to price the tickets and multiply the two to come up with gross revenue, factoring in possibly less-than-sold-out venues, and then wondering how it’s all split up, and how well an artist does on a tour after costs are covered, and what the costs might be.

Added to that, there are royalties from record sales.  An article in Rolling Stone magazine, named The Go-Go’s: A Year of Living Dangerously mentions: “At the beginning of 1983, the Go-Go’s … received their semiannual financial statement from I.R.S. Records. They discovered that they were owed more than a million dollars in royalties from the sales of Beauty and the Beat, their first LP, and the two hit singles it spawned.”

That’s a lot of cash. Then again, probably that’s not all profit either, as in band members might have some expenses too — and it gets split over several band members. Even so, if semi-annually there’s a million dollars, then perhaps annually there’s two million. It’s now 33 years later, so if every year the band was active was like that, that’s an impressive cash flow. Was every active year like that? From what I read, probably not. Fame and fortune peak, then ebb.  Yes, there’s a core group of faithful fans that endures and has all the way through the official final tour in the summer of 2016. These fans would spend money on new music and on show tickets, but it’s probably much diminished from when the band’s name was on everyone’s lips.

So if a girl was in a vastly successful rock group in the 1980s and she still tours, is she awash in cash thanks to commercial success in her past and present, and is the work continuing to generate vast financial benefits, or is life financially more humble?  I’m not asking and it’s none of my business, but it’s in interesting-to-me question.

Then again, there are health-related issues too, as time goes by. The same article mentions how Charlotte Caffey had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and it seriously affecting her ability to play the guitar. So, as the years go on, is a rock star concerned about not being able to play, hence have her revenue largely limited to royalties from past work? Is lack of emotional energy a problem too? I assume that walking out on stage is best done with a noticeable level of enthusiasm, ideally sincere.

At first glance a girl rock star seems larger than life, but as I ponder her situation, some potential concerns become a lot more clear to me. Does she ever wonder “well, what the heck else could I even do, professionally, anyway?”  In case one particular girl rock star is wondering, I wrote this article.  Worst case, she feels better about herself and her options.

This girl, whose story I followed more than anyone else’s, tells how she used to work in a ceramics factory in the Santa Monica area, sanding pieces of jewelry in a gloomy, windowless room. She explained to an interviewer that, at the time, she (in the context of the band she’d co-founded) was already doing well in the music business, but that hadn’t yet translated into the sort of cash flow that enabled her to live in a nice place and drive a nice car. Then, at some point, that changed.  In a relatively recent interview, some 30 years later, she mentioned she’s driving a Lexus Hybrid. So, she’s not living in a cardboard box and eating cat food. I’m glad, since I like her to the extent I can infer what she’s like as a private person. I wish her much happiness, and financial security is part of that.

I’m also aware of her marital status and that if one spouse does well financially that tends to affect the other spouse too, but I am in this article focused on her, in isolation.

As to this particular individual, there’s an interesting twist. I’m a trans girl, and I thought that this particular issue would be the high-water mark of my own personal weirdness, but there was more. When I finally stopped trying to live in guy culture, and accepted that I’m a girl whether I looked like one or not, at the time – I focused on socializing with girls openly, and I discovered that I had a close mental connection with only some girls, and others … not so much.

I tried to figure out the common aspects as to girls with whom I feel a connection. We are a small group, and we all seem to think in very similar ways, yet very differently than typical girls do – we’re highly cerebral but that adjective, in this context, subsumes a set of complex thinking patterns.

Because there are so few of us, some of us are unaware of other girls like us. In such situations, we feel isolated and freakish, and social interaction with typical people is intimidating due to the cultural chasm we feel, so we’re shy, too. To the extent that this limits our social interaction, we feel lonely and we can become hermits. The irony of it is that a girl who is adored by millions of fans, fantasized about by vast quantities of guys and probably more than a few girls … she might go home and feel lonely and undesirable. One song has lyrics in which the girl describes her own state of mind candidly, how she put on make-up trying to feel pretty, and how she finally and reluctantly went on a date, thinking that anything is better than being alone.

So, is this particular rock star a cerebral shy girl? My guess would be “yes.” Arguably, she’s the poster girl for that, since it’s by noticing her, and pondering what she’s written, done and said that I became clear on the concept, explicitly. She’s also starred in a movie that is the definitive classic “cerebral shy girl” movie, in my opinion.

This girl seems to enjoy making music, and she’s good at it.  Her music makes the world a better place, and I hope she continues for a long and happy time.

But … what if she does feel stuck? What else could she do, professionally? To me, the key issue is that she’s a cerebral shy girl. So, this means: she thinks precisely. Do we have any examples? Yes. She sings about her tidy little home. That’s a classic cerebral-shy-girl thing. Also, an article I read alleged that in her West LA apartment at the time, in the late 1980s or so, the books on her bookshelves were arranged alphabetically. That’s the sort of person whom I look for, when I do professional prospecting for … software engineers. Wait, what? The rock star girl, as software engineering material? Yes. Says who? I do. What do I know? Well …

I’ve personally been developing custom software since the days of punched cards, back in the mid 1970s. I’ve been in charge of managing other software engineers since the late 1980s. I’ve had my own company since the early 1990s. As a senior contractor, I’ve worked in the software development (programmer) departments of small and large companies, with some of the latter being Pacific Bell, HP and Microsoft. I know the business, and what makes someone a good candidate for a career in software development.

Two of the most brilliant and naturally talented software engineers I ever hired were both cerebral shy girls. Girl A worked as a security gate guard at an apartment complex. Girl B worked in sales, at a bank. Yet, their delightfully structured way of thinking made them a natural fit. Each of them had no clue as to what they were capable of achieving as software engineers. To go from security guard or bank sales girl to software engineer seems about as unlikely as to go there from being a rock star. Yet, these girls pulled it off, magnificently.

Girl A ended up doing a brilliant job in my company, for years on end. She impressed me so much that I decided to put her in charge of the most complex software component, central to a million-dollar piece of software, on which the day-to-day operations of a mid-sized multi-state company did, and still does, depend.

On days when she felt unsociable, which was often, she could focus on the bits and bytes, and making them do what she wanted. I kept annoying people away from her, so that she could work and thrive. That she did.  She did magnificently well.  She eventually moved on, and now she makes even more complex software in a highly specialized field, and she is doing very well.

Girl B also ended up on a similar path. She’s still involved with my company, and has been for several years now. When she feels unsociable, which is often (or to be precise, a large part of every day), she likes to focus on the bits and bytes, and shaping their flow. I keep annoying people away from her so she can work and thrive. She does, brilliantly.

Yes, girl A and girl B are cerebral shy girls, but what else do they have in common? They’re highly creative artists. They’re both painters. I’m an artist of sorts too, but I draw; I don’t paint. Painting is vastly more complex. It requires a very special type of mind.

All of this brings us to girl C, the cerebral-shy-girl rock star … who, as I understand things, is also a painter.

I’m wooing her, here and now, to explore this new field of endeavor, and see where it goes.

* * *

So, dear cerebral shy girl brunette somewhere in LA: I’m assuming you will dismiss this initially but be slightly intrigued and come back to this from time to time, and then slowly start to consider it. I assume you’ll have questions and concerns, so I’m guessing as to some of them:

Q: You claim my mind has what it takes. On what basis?

A: You’ve shared much about how you think, in the last 30+ years.  I can conclude much more from that than from an in-person interview. Besides, I don’t do interviews. For software work, I find people whose way of thinking I like and I approach them. This works very, very well when I choose cerebral shy girls. In the interest of hope and equality, I also hire other people too though, meaning I don’t exclude anyone just based on gender. But the type of person who has done best, historically, is: girls like you.

Q: I have no skill or confidence in that context. I can’t even fix my own computer issues.

A: It’s not about fixing a computer or making it work. If mine breaks, I drive it to a friend and pay him to fix it. This is different. It’s like art, like a complex painting, but you’re painting in bits and bytes, and concepts.

Q: I’m very private. In this line of work, I don’t want to meet anyone in person, ever — including you. I don’t even want to talk on the phone, ever — including with you. I don’t want to come to Nevada, ever — nor visit clients. I don’t even want to have to leave the house.

A: That’s fine. Email or online chatting works well. I’ll provide your own computer here at the business, to which you connect remotely via the internet, from home.

Q: I don’t want to  commit to a schedule. I might not want to work on a particular day, at short notice.

A: That’s fine. Work when you choose. No advance notice needed.

Q: I don’t want to get paid until I’m adding value.

A: That’s fine.

Q: I have no confidence in this.

A: That comes with time.

Q: I might have health and morale issues on any given day with no advance notice.

A: That’s fine.

Q: I’m a loner. I vanish into my studio and I create there.

A: This is the same. You’d just be painting in a new medium. But this is also more than art. You love bringing order and structure to chaos.  So do I.  I used to pathologize my need for that and we can do the same thing about you but I don’t think that’s necessary or fair. Even when my personal life got to be nicely under control, I still liked, and continue to like, my things to be orderly too. So this is a fit with how I understand your mind works.

Q: I’m not sure why you’re doing this, so focused on me.

A: I like you as a person to the extent I can infer you to be. I’d enjoy interacting with you at a cerebral level. By far, I enjoy dealing with cerebral shy girls. Girls like you, I connect with. For example, tonight, I was chatting with one cerebral shy girl friend via Twitter, texting with a second and talking on the phone while making software, with a third (a.k.a. “girl B.”)

Q: I’m not the only cerebral shy girl around. Why me?

A: I personally like you as far as I can infer you to be. I think you’re a good fit for this. Also, you seem to be exceptionally pure as to the traits of girls with our sort of mental wiring. You’re sort of the arch-prototype, in a sense. I’d enjoy interacting with you even if it’s only professionally. Because I’d enjoy it, that’d make it personal for me too, anyway.

Q: For me, the entrance door to the computer age whizzed by. It’s far too late now for me, no?

A: No.The fundamentals haven’t changed. And, I like the age you are. We’re the same general age and there’s some extra connection available due to that shared culture, that I miss when I deal with others in my life. With you, I could use a 1960s or 1970s or 1980s analogy when I explain a software algorithm, that you’d “get” and others wouldn’t. I feel like I’m a lone survivor from a bygone age, a culture that’s faded, and fading more. With you in the picture, there would be two of us as such. I’d like that. I think you would, too.

Q: This doesn’t seem like pure self-interest on your part. Is it?

A: It is but you’re intended to benefit too, as a mutual “win.” I think this would help you be happier and I’d like to see you thrive like perhaps you never have, though I do see glimpses of you thriving when you’re super-happy with your music. As I follow the story of your life, part of what I see bothers me. You’ve never or rarely had, with mathematical purity, the successful situation you deserved. As one example, you co-founded a band and the more successful it got, the more stressed-out you got, to where at the height of its success, it disbanded. Something about that, and your part in particular, seems inverted to me. The deeper reasons behind your “Someday” album are another example. Something about the results you’ve gotten, during your journey — I don’t see everything, but what I see seems fundamentally unjust to me. Much of your life, personally and professionally, seems to fit in the category where you have sincerely and passionately poured energy into projects and I don’t like the results you got. It’s almost like you played by a nice set of rules, and other people didn’t, and you kept doing worse that if everyone were playing nicely. I think you deserve more success and happiness than you’ve experienced. I’d love to enable that by providing a nice and pure environment where, for once, you can thrive in the mathematical sense that whatever you put in, you get more back.  That’d be unusual for you, I think. It would be like a little virtual world that works by cerebral-shy-girl rules, like a nice-country embassy inside a mean country. You’ve always had this cerebral-shy-girl mental wiring and you’ll always have it but as far as I know, you’ve always measured yourself by the standards of typical people instead, by which you always get a lower grade than you deserve. When I say “you” I mean, you — personally. The magnificently charming public persona you created hits the center of the social and professional target every time — as to how you deal with typical people publicly. However, you and I and other cerebral shy girls aren’t typical people. I enjoy dealing with girls who think as I do, using that rule set explicitly. So will you, I suspect. Life becomes a lot simpler and also non-overwhelming. In my opinion, if anyone needs a vacation from typical-person issues, it’s you.

Q: Maybe this is too intimate?

A: To me, two cerebral shy girls working on complex software together can be more intimate than all of the sex I’ve had with guys during my entire life, combined. Intellectual intimacy is the only kind of intimacy it’s socially OK for you to have with me, and that’s fine. I’ll take it. Would I prefer more yet, with you, e.g., friendship? Yes, but I’m aware of your social constraints. Besides, for you, “more” would only work if you were the one approaching me  — not the other way around.  So, that’ll happen or not, depending on what you choose to initiate, or not. Regardless, meanwhile this sort of purely intellectual dynamic is likely to make your days more enjoyable, and mine too.

Q: Isn’t that vastly time-consuming, you training me as a software engineer, as you trained girl A and girl B? Why would you want to?

A: Yes. I like you and I see potential. It’d be time I’d enjoy spending as such.

Q: When would this start?

A: Today, if you like. Or, tomorrow or next week, next month or next year.

Q: I’m sure I’d be a misfit. Why do you think I would do well?

A: Past success of girls with your type of mental structure, and my personal enthusiasm to invest in training you.

Q: That I’ve never done anything like this, shouldn’t that matter?

A: You do something like this every time you create.  As to specifically software, the other two cerebral shy painter girls hadn’t made any either, until they did — and when they did, the results were magnificent.

Q: Would I have to interact with anyone else at the company?

A: Everyone else has left, except for girl B. Eventually you might choose to interact with her as one cerebral shy girl to another. The less isolated we feel, the happier we are.

Q: What about my music career?

A: It’ll proceed, as before. I’m assuming that’ll remain your top priority. The rest fits in as time permits. But, you dealing with like-minded people might be very empowering, morale-wise. So, ironically your music career might thrive more yet.

Sunday Morning, Part 2

The blonde and brunette were both lying in their big, clean, cozy and comfortable bed, one happy Sunday morning. Neither was wearing anything more than a smile, directed at each other. Each smile was earnest yet relaxed; a different smile than the outside world saw. For typical people, each of these two girls had a different type of smile, so dazzling that it had inspired many compliments and more than a few infatuations.

The brunette was lying on top of the blonde. The typical person, becoming aware of this, would imagine something mechanically sexual going on. The typical person would be very much mistaken as such. The dynamic was indeed sexually so intense that the room almost bristled with the energy, but its foundation was their deep mental connection, and atop that, an intense emotional intimacy.

Without looking, the blonde reached toward a bowl of fruit next to the bed. “Eyes closed,” she said gently, in a voice that carried more authority than that of a red-faced, yelling drill sergeant, as far as the brunette was concerned. Respect tends to have that effect. It took a long time to build up that high a level of respect for the blonde, but now that it was there, it made everything cleaner and nicer yet, for the brunette. It was like being protected by and cared about by someone whose actions were as reliably predictable as a piece of steel … albeit a very complex and strong piece of steel.

The brunette smiled playfully, her lovely eyes closed, as instructed. The blonde touched a strange new type of fruit against the brunette’s lips. The latter frowned. “Again, please?” The blonde repeated the action. The brunette licked her lips, then guessed wildly, and incorrectly. She gave up and her lips parted. The blonde carefully deposited the piece of fruit on the brunette’s tongue.  The brunette chewed, squinted and shrugged.  When she heard the blonde’s voice saying the name of the fruit, the brunette responded with, “I’ve heard about that, but never tried it. Now I know. I like it … 7 out of 10.”

The two girls had this sort of rating system for many things, including how much one liked the taste of something … and some more intimate things, such as:  “here’s how aroused I feel currently.”

After several more pieces of fruit of various kinds, the blonde handed the brunette a small bottle of water. After she drank it completely, the brunette said, “I’ve never been so well-hydrated in my life” with a tone that implied “…and I’m glad.” The blonde’s smile was a happy response, as her sparkly-purple fingernail clicked the coffee-maker’s button to “on.”  The rich aroma filled the room.

“It’s a good thing we don’t start the coffee until after our little fruit ritual,” the brunette said. “It’d be hard to focus on anything else. It seems so decadent, having a coffee-maker by the bed … sort of modern-day Bohemian. It’s good that we air out the room often enough or it might not always smell this nice. I love how methodical and logical we are.” She looked pensive for a while. The blonde waited for the brunette to voice her thoughts.  Soon, she did: “I liked coffee before we were together too, but it’s different nowadays.  Nowadays, it’s enjoyment.  Before, it was almost like … fuel.  And yet sometimes I’d run out of energy in spite of that. Nowadays, that doesn’t happen any more.  I used to feel so old, and today I’m chronologically older than I’ve ever been and yet I feel … different. Not old any more … though not young either.  It’s almost like … like it doesn’t matter any more, like we’re in a mindset where we have as much energy as we need, enough vitality … and that’s all that matters. I’m happier too, but it’s not like times when I was happy, before. The way it’s now, it’s not giddy — it’s a sort of calmness.”

“It took me a long time to convince you to evaluate yourself nicely, as in: pointedly avoiding the standards of typical people. By those standards, there were indeed many disparaging things to say about your true self,” the blonde pointed out.

“I probably said them all to myself, over and over, for many years. I was so hard on myself.  Do you remember how you and I disagreed about whether I’m neurotic?  We talked about it for more than 5 hours, during that road trip up the coast.  We started at Thousand Oaks, and we were not far from Monterey  when I accepted the final piece of logic in your argument. If someone would have told me I’d be having such a conversation for any length of time, I’d have been running for the hills.  And yet … the way we approached it made it fun — eventually.”

The blonde nodded in agreement, as the brunette added: “It was as if there was a huge tangle of electrical wiring, a huge mess. Normally people yank here, pull there and get ever more frustrated and just randomly jerk at it.  You just calmly sat there for hours, methodically untangling things and actually enjoying the mental exercise so much that I joined in on this most peculiar type of enjoyment.”

The blonde smiled at the implied compliment, and said: “One more thing that it took me a while to convince you about, is how deeply amazing your memory is.  You remember historical tidbits about music and musicians — a vast amount of facts that are unknown to most people.  So, I suspect you also remember much of our conversation, verbatim.”

“I do indeed.  You said that the person who wins in a battle of ideas is the one with the most consistent premises, and you took a detour to the subject of discussing how, compared to typical people, both of us think differently, as cerebral shy girls.  I’ve had a relatively protected life but you’ve been immersed in abrasive social dynamics, and you learned how to survive and thrive in typical-culture interaction even while not accepting typical-culture standards — almost like someone running a nice-country embassy inside a mean country. and getting along with the foreign dignitaries even while seeing major flaws in how they do things.”

“At the fundamentals – that’s where philosophical battles are won or lost.”

“That’s how you phrased it then, too. I was startled how you began by conceding my point, that indeed by typical-person standards I’m neurotic, though I hide it well.  You had us look up the Wikipedia definition of ‘neurosis’ and discuss whether or not we could agree on it.  We did, and I thought the argument was as good as won. You asked what I’d be thinking in a particular context … ”

“In bed.  During sex, to be specific,” the blonde interjected.

“… and you thought it’d be interesting to guess what I’d be thinking, and you wanted me to correct you when you were mistaken. You didn’t need much correction … I thought I’d be comfortable talking about sex. I grew up with that premise.  What I didn’t realize was: how excruciatingly uncomfortable it would be for me to talk about what I would be thinking during sex.”

“Brave girl, you were, indeed — continuing even so.”

“I don’t know if you saw it, but at some point I was crying tears of embarrassment as you continued to guess correctly as if you’d been reading my mind. A few times, I wished you’d just keep quiet and let it go. If I’d never see you again, that seemed like a good trade-off if that meant we’d stop the conversation.  And yet, I was so morbidly intrigued. I sensed we were headed towards something life-changing, for me. That I would soon end up feeling proud of my core self, and how I thought even in that same context — that seemed vastly impossible.”

The blonde smiled, in rueful sympathy. The brunette continued:

“I remember how you said that typical people can just relax and enjoy the sensation of sex, but my mind would be all over the place, concerned about how I look, how I sound, how the other person is experiencing it, whether the other person is enjoying it — and if so, if that’s enough for there to be a next time, and a time after that … and if not, how things might peter out … and then what? I’d also be remembering past similar experiences, and even fantasies, and trying to reconcile the current events to the fantasies … and then being concerned that I might be appearing distracted while indeed being  distracted.”

“You seemed shaken that I’d guessed so well. It’s not that I knew you that well, and that I could infer how you, as an individual, would think at so intimate a time on so intimate a subject. It’s that I’ve figured out how girls like us tend to think in such a context, and that’s what guided me. You’re wonderful but not as freakishly unique as you have been feeling. You, and I, and girls like us … we think differently.  Anyway, you tried to wrap it all up by saying ‘See? Totally neurotic. End of discussion.'”

The brunette nodded and smiled, remembering. “I was so certain that was all there was to it.  You even said ‘I agree … ‘ and then you paused. I was relieved that the issue seemed settled, but disappointed that we’d pondered all this unpleasant detail with nothing productive to show for it.  I waited.  You added: ‘… on typical-person standards, but I have a problem with them and also with the conclusion based thereon.’  The next half-hour involved explicitly identifying how cerebral-girl thinking is different than that of typical-person thinking, and the next three hours involved a discussion on why I’d want to apply cerebral-girl thinking from now on — and no longer typical-person thinking.  Those were cognitively the most intense three hours of my life.  After that, applying these principles to ‘thinking during sex’ — that was actually fun.  I recall the little jolt to my stomach that I felt when you asked: ‘wouldn’t it actually be a nice thing to have sex with someone who cares about how you’re experiencing it?’ — in contrast with the just-feel-and-don’t-think premise that’s supposed to be the pinnacle of the perfect female sexual response. That realization that, wow, I’m actually good as such … it was a shock to me. The first of many … and then you pointed out how highly cerebral I am, and you challenged the premise that it should be considered bad for my mind to be racing all over the place, as I’m receiving all this fresh sexual data and integrating it with past, present and future — plus my fantasies.  You were right … I am cerebral. I think. People used to always say that I overthink things. In bed — I mean, during sex — I felt this silent reproach always hanging in the air, and yet I couldn’t turn my brain off. Then, even that became one more thing to think about.”

The blonde nodded in understanding, as the brunette went on:

“I had all this negativity interwoven in a big tangle, and you helped me untangle it, pointing out that I had a negative opinion as to my looks, and separating that from the supposedly-neurotic thoughts. Until then, these two aspects had always been intertwined, as two horrible negative spirals. Separating them, and deferring the one subject for another day … that really simplified things. You like me for how much I think, and you helped me accept that reason for liking myself too, regardless of what I’m doing when I think so much.  You inverted everything as to how I evaluate myself.  I like the analogy you used…”

“It was like you were thinking you have bad breath and you were always horribly self-conscious about it until I pointed out that your breath smells nice to me and that there’s scientifically-validated good reason to like how it smells.”

“I recall how we were approaching that big bridge by Big Sur, when you pointed out that, with my last concern falling away under logical analysis, then regardless of typical-person thinking on the subject, by the standards you’d convinced me to use instead, my traits make me good in bed.”

The blonde smiled. The brunette frowned as she said: “I struggled emotionally to concede that point. It logically made sense but it seemed counter to everything I’ve heard, almost all my life. I’d always envied the wild and crazy superficial girls who didn’t seem to think about anything and just took things as they came along. I’d accepted the hearsay that such girls are the perfect sex partners, whereas a sensitive, cerebral, thoughtful, responsible, self-aware, partner-aware, situation-aware, integrating, thinking, caring, nice girl is neurotic because she thinks too much.  Yet when I listed those adjectives aloud, something clicked for me. I realized that you’d been right all along.  I felt almost too self-conscious to admit my epiphany but then you insisted I say it out loud. That felt like it’d be excruciating, and yet after the first few words, it felt SO freeing.”

“Do you remember the exact words?”

“I do: ‘By the best standards that I know to apply, and when I’m with a like-minded being, the way I think makes me good in bed.’  Remember my reaction, when you had a poster made, with those words?”

The blonde smilingly looked past the brunette at the poster on the ceiling, with those words on a rainbow-colored background, and the brunette’s flamboyant-yet-precise signature at the lower right. She nodded, as the brunette continued:

“You’ve inspired more tears than anyone else in my life, but they’re tears of intense emotion, in a good sense. I remember how you talked about the lyrics of the song you like so much, and how a cerebral shy girl cannot change her nature.  What she can change is whether she evaluates herself negatively, as she’s done all her life, using typical standards — or whether she makes her own mind change, and tosses out all of these thoughts and forgets who she’s been — not who she’s been at her core, but her negative core evaluation of herself.”

“I like that by now you like yourself a lot more. You deserve it so richly.”

The brunette laid her head down on the blonde’s chest, her eyes glistening yet again — happily.