Not Wanting to Go Out but Doing it Anyway (Yet Again)

Yesterday was a good day.

I visited my step-daughter, who has grown up to be a happy and successful adult — and who, as a muscular, brown-eyed energetic blonde looks in some ways more like I do than she looks like her biological mom, who is a slender, blue-eyed mellow blonde. Me coming out as a trans girl has certainly strained the dynamic with my step-daughter even though more than a decade before that, she had me figured out already, and had titled me her “assistant mom” early on.

Ours had been an exceptionally happy, harmonious, open-minded household. When conflict loomed, we reasoned things out, using ground rules that we’d already established by having reasoned them out, in turn.

Even though I hadn’t been “out” as a trans girl yet, at the time, I always got mother’s day cards from my step-daughter, never a father’s day card. She had also given me a feminine name unique to the her-and-I dynamic. This had all been done in sincere benevolence.

So yesterday, to visit my stepdaughter openly as who I am, and to have a friendly, open conversation, including meeting her new boyfriend — it felt good.

I ran various errands too, including dealing with some tricky paperwork issues. Finally, I took myself out to a nice solo dinner. I’d considered also attending a party that would start at 9 p.m. However, at 8:50 p.m. I was sitting in my parked car, feeling conflicted between driving there vs. going home. I really, really didn’t want to go to the party. I felt pensive and unsociable.

I also felt self-conscious. Earlier in the day, I’d had two hours of electrolysis done on my face.  Electrolysis involves hair follicles being zapped one by one, with a sensation like a bee sting, every four seconds or so. Over two hours that made for a lot of pain.  During the session, 1980s music had been playing. The 1980s had been the most difficult and pivotal decade of my life, and so there was much to ponder, including the realization that some of the artists who had been vibrantly alive, and had seemed larger-than-life to me in the 1980s — they have by now passed away. The emotional effect (of the pain, the music and the realizations) was enough to get me to feel unsociable.

Also, such intense electrolysis swells up my face so that my features seem oddly out of proportion. That didn’t help me feel any more inclined to walk into a room full of beautiful people while looking like a misshapen ugly duckling.

There was more reason yet to be pensive and unsociable. Three weeks ago, I had been allocating my personal time over six separate cerebral shy girls, two of whom were my girlfriends, three of whom were friends-and-perhaps-one-day-more, and one of whom was someone I’ve never met, yet who seemed to be having a hard time and whom I thought I could reach via my writing, so as to be supportive.

During the last three weeks, the number dropped from six to one, with the sole remaining girlfriend currently being two thousand miles away and likely to remain so for the next several months.

Two of the six (one girlfriend and one friend-and-perhaps-one-day-more) had left after an unhappy conversation in which they were upset with me. As to the girl to whom I’d been writing, I had decided I wasn’t reaching her anyway, and that for me to try harder would be a boundary issue, and without any clear feedback it was pointless to keep trying, and I should stop.

The emotional void left by these three girls inspired me to ponder the concept of “cerebral shy girls” in more depth. I found my conclusions to be useful, and these in turn led to further conclusions that, as to the two cerebral shy girls who are currently my friends, it’s better for me if the relationship dynamic never goes beyond being just friends, and so some more emotional distance would be prudent.

I still consider cerebral shy girls to be wonderful but it’s vital that I be clear as to why a particular girl is a cerebral shy girl. Even inside this broad category, we are a very diverse group. Some of us make wonderful friends, some of us make wonderful girlfriends, and some of us have needs for which I’m unqualified and/or unworthy whether as a friend or as a girlfriend — or even merely as someone trying to be helpful.

It’s been a very humbling three weeks, with much to think about. Last night I really felt like thinking more and partying less. I’d waxed my legs and they were smooth and pretty, and I’d brought some elegant clothes and shoes along for the party, but still … I just felt like going home instead.

Part of the value I try to add, whether as a friend or girlfriend, is to be a good example, choosing good goals wisely and then moving toward them with an inspiring level of energy and purpose. As I sat there feeling a marked lack of inspiration, I imagined what it would be like to have such a person to inspire me, in turn.  Oddly, this approach worked. I felt re-energized.

On the way to the party, I stopped by a drugstore to buy a snack. The phrase “it takes one to know one” works SO well as to cerebral shy girls, whether I’m the one recognizing a girl like me, or another girl picking up on me.  The girl who was working as the cashier was, I figured from looking at her, a cerebral shy girl like me. Sure enough, she was — as was evident after a brief and happy conversation.  There’s something so unusual about girls like us.  With typical people, we are super-shy and closed-off but when we realize we are with someone like-minded, we open up quickly and intensely, in conversation.  So it was with the cashier girl.  I left, feeling re-connected with mankind (or womankind, to be precise) in a way I’d been missing all day.

The party was delightful. I had an enjoyable time. I met some new people, and deepened some friendships. I left after only two hours, having had my social fill.

I enjoyed a long, happily pensive drive home, along a cold, quiet, dark desert road with the red glow of my car’s instrument cluster, and the clearly visible stars above, as  company.

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Not Wanting to Go Out but Doing it Anyway

I had a good night tonight. I hadn’t expected to.

I’ve had a rough week mostly due to interpersonal dynamics in this week and the week prior. That, combined with working a lot, meant that I was deeply sleep-deprived by the time Saturday rolled around.

I woke up way too early Saturday morning, and sleepily I checked my email, ate something and went right back to bed. When I finally woke up it was 4:30 in the afternoon. That’s a strange time of day for having breakfast and doing my morning routine: exercising, skin care and so on. Even so, I diligently did.

It was tempting to think: the day is pretty much over anyway, so I may as well do lame things — and perhaps tomorrow, I’ll seize the day. Right after I convinced myself that it would be okay to be this passive, I rebelled against that. I decided to make the best of the remainder of the day, whatever it took.

The week had had a heavy emphasis on being a responsible adult. I had done my part and then some. The work situation was under control, bills were paid and there was money in the bank to last the week, with a little bit left over just in case. I decided I’d earned enough “fun” credits to go cash them in.

Two things that I focus on for fun are classic cars and sexuality (typically, not together though there have been a few happy exceptions).

I like to focus on 2000 Audi A6 Quattro V8 cars. I’d given one to my mom as a birthday present a few years ago, just because she likes Audis. Afterward I decided that I like this particular model so much that I bought one for myself too. These are technically brilliant cars: balanced, smooth, efficient, clean, comfortable and very, very fast — safely. Unbeknownst to most people, the transmissions on these cars are rock solid, but they do need some major preemptive maintenance after fifteen years or so, without which they will eventually fail, requiring a multi-thousand dollar replacement. Most people sell their Audi A6 Quattro V8 cars as soon as this happens. For that reason, an Audi A6 Quattro V8 with a good transmission is a very rare and valuable thing to find, which is why they’re sold at impressively high prices.

The best type deal for someone with my modest car-buying budget is to find a car that has a still-okay transmission but with something else that’s wrong, and serious enough to intimidate the current owner into selling the car inexpensively.

That happens very rarely. Mostly, the cause of the sale is: transmission failure.

agggimg_20170208_155802The black Audi A6 Quattro V8 that’s my personal transportation was such a rare find. I’d spent more than I normally do: $1,500.  There was much wrong with the car, but it had a good transmission. I first bulletproofed the transmission so now it’s good for many more years, and then I methodically did the work to get the car reliable: mainly, major work on the engine and brakes.Even so, it was worth it and I’m happy. I really am not keen on selling the car but someone is making overtures to buy my car for four times what I’d paid for it, and in that case it’ll be hard to say “no.”

I live in the Reno area and there are few Audi deals here. Sometimes I find deals in Sacramento or in Las Vegas. I go wherever I need to, to buy one of these cars affordably. Often, they need a transmission fix. I have yet to fix one, but once I do, I might be able fix all my dead-transmission Audi A6 Quattro V8 cars and perhaps sell them for several times what I paid. Knowing me, I’ll probably rationalize that if I keep them for another 20 years, they might be worth more yet then — but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

So, currently my place has half a dozen of them parked near my front door as a sort of elephant graveyard for Audi Quattro A6 V8 cars. Personally I think they’re prettier than pink flamingos or garden gnomes, as landscaping enhancements. It’s a good thing I live by myself.

The phrase “gotta catch ’em all” normally applies to Pokemon; for me it applies to these cars. I try to find them, and when I do, I buy them. The problem with buying them outside of the Reno area is that they need to be trailered. The concept of transporting a car over the Sierra Nevada mountain range (Donner Pass, 7000+ feet) in the winter time is not a happy thought for me, and yet sometimes that’s what I do when I find a good deal in the Sacramento area.

Of course, yes, it’s an addiction — and no, I don’t need a 12-step program. I’m currently in the denial phase and I expect to remain here for the next several decades.

For my peculiar value system, sheer perfection would be if I were to find such a car in the Reno area with a good transmission and yet a ridiculously low price, in a week when I have a little extra cash in the bank.

That’s not the kind of situation that willpower can conjure into being. When an owner decides to sell, an ad will appear on Craigslist and then whoever jumps on it first, gets the car. Sometimes it’s me, and often it’s not. Much of it is being quick to react. It’s a game of wait-and-pounce.

Tonight, after taking care of some more administrative duties, i.e., some more of being a responsible adult, I decided to treat myself to an evening out. My choice of venue sounds erotic but in my case it’s actually not. It’s a private swingers club. I’m a sort of cultural anomaly there. For me it’s generally a celibate experience; I just like the sex-friendly atmosphere there, which is mainly why I go.

At that club, I can walk around dressed sexily and wearing my 6″ stilettos. I can practice my pole dancing skills and generally enjoy being there while feeling safe.

gggimg_20170219_080806I took the pictures in this article after coming home from the club. I try to look good but even so, my chances of being seduced at this club are slim to none. Maybe it’s me, personally. Maybe it’s because I am openly a trans girl, so I either weird people out or I intimidate them albeit without intending to do so — which is why I’m very wary as to being the one doing the seducing. With me, that hardly ever works. What does work is that someone who likes me comes to me and is friendly with me. Some girls have done that and have as such been socially nice to me. I love that. I like girls for friendship, romance, love, sexuality, … everything.

For guys, I’m not good girlfriend material. So, with guys I’m either just friends or I’m sexual in a primal sense. To me, there’s something hot about a guy using me as if he’s just bought me at a sex slave auction. This is mostly fantasy material for me, as in: it hardly ever happens in real life.

There have been a few isolated happy exceptions but the same can be said for buying lottery tickets. They don’t typically pan out. So, I tend to go to the club with expectations of celibacy. Even so, in the unlikely event that someone does like me, I bring along safety equipment, of the type I buy at the pharmacy in the family planning department.

I had left my apartment and was on my way to the club when I realized that I’d forgotten my, um, safety equipment at home. I turned back and I went back to get it. It was just after 9 p.m.

While I was home, I decided to check my email. I saw a notification that an Audi A6 Quattro V8 with a good transmission had just been put up for sale in Reno for $1,000 or best offer. Wait, what?! Wow. The problem (as to why this car is being sold) sounds intimidating but it’s not. I even have the part for fixing it.

gggimg_20170219_080747I called the seller, and I expressed enthusiasm to come and look at the car as soon as possible, even though it meant I would be meeting him at 10:30 at night. He seemed okay with it. I moved some money between my bank accounts, went to the bank and was able to pull $900 by combining my three ATM cards. I met the gentleman. He turned out to be super-nice and super open-minded as to trans girls. He accepted $900 as the purchase price. He signed the title over to me and handed it to me, and I am welcome to go and pick up the car any time next week. That’s the Audi equivalent of winning the lottery. Yay!

Could the night get any better? I went to the club. As it turns out, yes — it could. At the club, there was another person who is open-minded as to trans girls. I don’t kiss and tell so I’ll just say that a good time was had by all.

It ended up being a very good night. Tonight, I had been SO tempted to resign myself to just spending a lame evening alone, but instead I made a point of getting up and going out. I’m glad I did.

Whether in the context of her life as a whole, or any particular day … even when it’s late in the day, a girl can still decide to make the most of whatever time is left — and what she experiences might just be fabulous.

Intense Girls

Relationship dynamics inherently have boundaries beyond which both parties (or if it’s not a twosome, all parties) agree that something is OK and something else is not OK.  For example, it’s OK to smile at someone but not OK to flush their pet goldfish down the toilet. The problems I run into involve the middle area: things that are OK by the standards of one of the people in the dynamic but not of another person in that same relationship dynamic. This hardly makes me unique but even so, the issues I run into are unusual. Much of the reason why is whom I’m drawn towards. I value intense girls – very intense.

As an exercise in contrasts, I recently watched the movie “50 Shades Darker.”  Although some of the bedroom scenes were very sexy and the girl is lovely, the dynamic between the two main characters was very bland by my standards even though one of them had a room full of BDSM equipment. To me, BDSM isn’t about paraphernalia at all (nor about pain or control). It’s about the intensity of the connection between two people. By my standards, the two main characters had a very bland BDSM dynamic.

The dynamics with the girls I chose for my own love life, over the decades, have been vastly more intense. To me, intense people are the ones I find the most attractive and interesting. Ironically, the girl might consider herself a mess yet I don’t. It’s almost like in the X-Men movies. A mutant feels self-conscious about being different and I’m almost like Professor X in that I often can spot such people and I’m also drawn to them, and I tend to be understanding and supportive.

Intense people are rarely typical people, just with the intensity knob turned to the far right. Often, I’ll find myself attracted to someone intense and then after some conversation I learn she has post-traumatic stress disorder, or borderline personality disorder, or schizophrenia, or Asperger’s. I collectively call such intense girls “cerebral shy girls” because we tend to be cerebral, and socially we tend to be shy.

Often, as soon as the girl divulges that she’s got a formally different brain structure or way of thinking, then she’s already emotionally checked out of any dynamic involving me, in anticipation of expecting me to leave. She’s then perplexed when I continue to choose to knowingly remain in the picture. Thereafter typically follow one or more unusual conversations in which she conveys that even though she likes me, she advises me to act in my own best interests, and to leave. It can require multiple debates, even break-ups and reuniting sessions, before she realizes I’m seriously committed to dealing with her in spite of her unusual way of thinking. Beyond that the period of bliss begins, though it continues to have its ups and downs.

One of the hardest things for me to have learned to accept is that typically, an intense person will have coping mechanisms that might well create significant long-term damage for her. It’s not for me to be critical as to the life-style of someone else,  but even going beyond acceptance, it has become emotionally easier for me to accept these coping mechanisms because I know they have kept the girl in better spirits, and perhaps were key to keeping her alive. For this reason, even though I don’t smoke, drink or enjoy chemicals in which law enforcement expresses an interest, many of my current or former girl friends and girlfriends do. Eating disorders, cutting etc. are often part of the package too. My role is to accept that the girl needs these coping mechanisms. Instead of getting in the way of them, I just gradually try to make things nicer for her. In the process, if I succeed, she relies less and less on the coping mechanisms and they fade into disuse.

I’m often tempted to cross the line and say “here, drink some water, please” and sometimes I still do, but I try not to; I’ve caused girls to leave me in the past when I got between them and their coping mechanisms. Nowadays, I understand that I can help more by being an example and by being nice, and knowing that intense people tend to be highly suggestible. So, if I put an open bottle of drinking water or a healthy snack nearby, that’s the best I can do as long as I’m clear that I’m doing so openly as an invitation, not subtly trying to manipulate her.

Another coping mechanism that a girl needs is her solitude, and I know to recognize that and be nice about it. Sometimes she’ll want to be alone for days or weeks on end. To get our out of bed, it’s OK to lure her but never to bully, badger or lecture her.

Sometimes the practical circumstances in which the girl has gotten herself into are so stark that it’s more than I want to deal with, and then I’m the one who fails to check in. This tends to happen rarely; though — I’m resilient.

Another set of problems result from me being polyamorous — not typically the principle, but some practical aspects: I’m a firm believer in doing what makes sense, but that doesn’t mean I want to lead every girl in my life through the logical steps as to how and why I deal with every other girl in my life, as I do.

Girls tend be hard on ourselves. For example, girl A might compare herself to girl B and consider herself as too tall, too curvy, etc. by contrast. Ironically, were girl B to focus on girl A as such, she might consider herself as too short, too thin, etc. by contrast. I discourage comparisons. I make it clear to each girl in isolation why I value her. It’s never a competition. I choose.

Ideally, each girl soon settles into a happy routine whereby she is only too glad that she doesn’t have to meet my every need. I choose to manage my time and energy, and the number of people on whom I focus, carefully. That way, I’m not starving everyone of my time. That’s not to say things always work out with a perfect set of energy demands; one day last week multiple things became a crisis within the same 24-hour period and it was indeed exhausting.

Even so, from my perspective, intense girls are by far the best. That includes the sexual dynamics.

However, the only way that a dynamic with an intense girl works for me is if I manage my boundaries carefully. This is often where things go off the rails — when an intense girl insists on crossing those. When I’m not OK with that, I can be on the receiving end of the anger of  an intense girl. That’s the part I dislike.I’m OK with being in a conversation with an angry person, but not when the anger is directed at me. It’s an subtle yet important difference.

When anger is directed at me, I tend to pause the conversation at that point and I’m only willing to resume it after the anger has subsided. That rarely is a popular action on my part. Often, the girl leaves not just the conversation but the entire dynamic. Sometimes she comes back, sometimes she doesn’t.

Coming back has to start with a non-resumption of the style in which we left off. I require that she’s clear that I don’t want to be on the receiving end of her anger, even if she feels angry during a conversation. She is, of course, welcome to remain as steadfast in her prior opinion as we were when last we were in conversation. The only thing I require is that she acknowledges that how she addressed me isn’t OK.

Then again, when an intense girl has left me for a while, the calm span of time provides a good window of opportunity for me to assess the pros and cons of the relationship dynamic and to figure out if I still want to be in it. If not, I ponder how I can make it viable. Mostly I can, but sometimes I cannot. Either way, it’s good to talk about it even if it means that the romantic dynamic ends. We can still be good friends from then on.

Erotomania, Part 2

This continues a meandering introspective essay on this particular subject.

On this subject, Wikipedia mentions “During an erotomanic delusion, the patient believes that a secret admirer is declaring his or her affection for the patient, often by special glances, signals, telepathy, or messages through the media.”

If I replace “affection” with someone generally feeling trapped, isolated, depressed, overwhelmed and misunderstood — and feeling unwilling to be open about that, then as to sending subtle “talk to me, I’m depressed” messages through the media, that’s something I have actually considered might be happening in the context of someone on whom I’ve been focusing for several months. In this part of my essay, I feel the need to explain myself as such, so in more detail:

As I focused on one particular girl – let’s call her Miss X — I initially noticed some relatively rare similarities as to how she seemed to think about the world, as a private person, and how I thought. The more I looked, the more I saw similarities. I gradually came to construct a mental model of this girl based on the various things she said in interviews and her song lyrics – and I must emphasize that I mean the individual behind the public persona. How well this mental model matches the actual person, I’ll probably never know, but what I saw appealed to me. In fact, it matched very well the sort of person whom I like to include in my social circle.

There are more than three and half billion girls on the planet, and so the ones on whom I choose to focus are those few whose way of thinking I relate to the most. This includes the relevant girl. I methodically abstracted the relevant set of personality attributes, based on what I observed in the girls that I like, whether they were just friends, or more. I named girls with this set of attributes “cerebral shy girls” and I continued to ponder the principles, and to extrapolate the implications as the months went by.

The name “cerebral shy girl” is a phrase I coined based on a set of observations I made. Everything from alpha particles to Asperger’s to electrical current was once conceptually unknown to humans (even though the phenomena existed in reality) until someone first noticed something and started making more and more observations. Every new concept has to begin somewhere. This one happens to be mine. I applied the newly discovered principles explicitly to my relationships with girls whom I considered to belong to this newly defined group, and I was interested in validating the concepts. This turned out to be eminently possible, thanks to feedback expressly stated by other cerebral shy girls, as well as by me seeing how the principles made for better interaction dynamics with other cerebral shy girls – much better than when previously I was trying to manage such interactions informally.

In the process of extracting the principles, I learned more and more that the girls whom I’d consider included in this group (that I essentially invented by definition) tend to often feel isolated and lost. I wondered to what extent these applied to Miss X. I pondered what she’d written and said, including in her recent Tweets (posts on Twitter).

I’m aware that many public personas hire professionals to manage their social media. My guess is that, as to Miss X, that’s the case for FaceBook since a post on there had misspelled the name of her former boyfriend – a mistake that the real Miss X would be unlikely to make. As to Twitter, the Tweets seemed to be sincere – and often glum. I’d posted a few nice things about her now and then, and on July 13 of last year, she posted a pinned Tweet with the wording “If you’re thinking something nice about someone, tell them.”

I drew several conclusions as to this:

1. That she wasn’t just dispensing general wisdom, but that she was in fact asking: “If you’re thinking something nice about me, tell me.”
2. That this was on the premise of “I’m glum and now would be a good time to be nice to me. I need it and I’m asking.”
3. That this Tweet having been pinned at the top of her Twitter page essentially meant that the welcome mat continued to be out as to nice things being desirable.
4. That this reconciled to how a cerebral shy girl, feeling unusually lonely and sad, might deal with things.

I responded by writing an essay as to cerebral shy girls, and sending her a link to it. As time went by, I made a point of being supportive on an ongoing basis. The events had taken a much more somber turn than I’d expected when I’d first noticed the private person behind the public persona, but sometimes the best situations come about when someone is going through a difficult time and has support as such. As an analogy, a bottle of water means much more to a thirsty person, so I made a point of allocating regular quality time, and saying something nice to Miss X, at least once a week. She’d posted the pinned Tweet under #WednesdayWisdom so I made a habit of saying something nice and supportive every Wednesday (or the day before). Typically I put some significant effort into it, such as writing a nice essay and then sending her a link thereto.

I enjoy writing, and I’m a paid part-time writer, so this was enjoyable to me anyway – plus I think as I write. In the course of writing my essays, I came to several useful-to-me conclusions. In no way am I implying that it was unpleasant for me.

Meanwhile, I was (and am) running (depending on how you count) anywhere from seven to more than a dozen separate small businesses, including a software development company, a classic car company and used auto parts business. During the recent economic downturn, I lost my admin assistant and so I manage all the accounting, paperwork, bills, bank recons and taxes myself. Meanwhile, I also am polyamorous and at the time I had (depending on how you count) either two or three girlfriends. Since then, two left and a new one signed up. I’m a busy girl but nevertheless I set aside some quality time for Miss X every week– and not as a duty. I enjoyed it and besides, I was hoping that I was helping cheer her up.

Late in the year, I wrote a somewhat concerned essay about the struggle Miss X might be experiencing, and the next day I saw the lyrics of her “Under a Cloud” song, and I saw a video of her announcing it as a happy little number about depression. I focused on the subject more, and I read other indications that she might be suffering from depression.

I’m friends with several counselors, so right around that time-frame, I chose one, took her to lunch and asked her some more questions about depression. She confirmed some of my worst concerns, in a general-principles sense — though of course she couldn’t diagnose anyone personally without a formal session. She volunteered that loneliness was an exceptionally painful aspect, as to how it was experienced emotionally. I applied the principles to what I had read in the writings of Miss X and I got the chills.

I don’t have a happy history as to writing a cerebral shy girl with a history of a struggle with depression. In 2015, I befriended such a girl online, and as she became more and more candid about her life and emotional state, I was aghast. I wrote her in a highly supportive way and she seemed to appreciate that greatly. She was in her 50s and although in prior years she’d been very physically fit, the depression was taking its toll and her health was failing. The problems accelerated. She lived in Philadelphia, and much as I want to be supportive, I don’t ever want to be intrusive. If someone wants to be with me, they have to come to me although I’m happy to make things convenient and welcoming as such. I offered to fly to Philadelphia, stay in a nice place near where she lived, and then she was welcome to come to me so as to visit and talk, and get supportive hugs. We were scheduled to meet on a Saturday, and that day she was going to go get a minor procedure done at the clinic and then she’d be right over. She never showed up.

Something had gone seriously awry medically and they’d kept her hospitalized to keep her alive. She wrote as soon as she could, and as things turned out, in all three days that I was nearby, she wasn’t allowed out of the hospital. I left and flew back home, and she continued to write me. Her health continued to fail, and she never recovered. She wrote me until near the very end, and it was a stark indication that although TV shows and movies portray hospital death bed scenes as calm and dignified, the reality can be anything but. Had I visited her sooner and been more supportive, and helped her realize she’s not alone, would I have made a difference? I could only guess. I didn’t blame myself all that starkly until I got additional information from another cerebral shy girl, whom I met in late 2016, who made the chilling point on a parallel subject that it was a good thing that I’d shown up in her life when I did. Those two events were a stark reminder to me that cerebral shy girls can and do die young, and that losing a struggle with depression can take its toll as such. Faced with this realization, I was very concerned about Miss X.

2016 was a bad year as to the deaths of publicly acclaimed figures, including Prince who seemed to at some point be on top of the world and whose passing seemed to be decades too soon. Other examples in prior years also bothered me, and seemed so ironic and sad. These included Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson and Robin Williams – individuals who publicly put on a brave face yet privately they were losing a long struggle with depression. Faced with this realization, I became even more concerned about Miss X. and continued to write to her supportive things on a weekly basis.

Did she respond, or correspond? No. However, I gathered this was typical for her. For a while I exchanged messages with a gentleman who was very much a fan of the public persona of Miss X, and he’d been following her Tweets for some time and had observed how she hardly ever responds to Tweets. This was useful information to me. It told me that if she doesn’t respond to me it might well be on general principles as to how she doesn’t respond to anyone anyway.

Recently, as I learned about erotomania, I concluded that it’s risky for any public persona to chat with the public online, because the smallest niceness could be seen as encouragement by someone inclined to take wishful thinking to an extreme.

I’ve been guilty of such niceness-shown-to-strangers myself, in the sense that in some social circles I’m a “big fish in a small pond” public persona of sorts, and I have seen how small niceties from me have led to situations where someone who didn’t know me wanted to marry me, someone else was finding out more and more about my personal life, and so in. It creeped me out, and since then I’ve been much more reticent in communications in that context. So, if Miss X was doing the same thing, I would not be surprised.

Another example involves an exotic dancer girl whom I dated a few years ago. She had shown some small niceties to someone in a beyond-typical-club protocol sense, twice. In one case, the guy had seen her benevolence as a green light, and he made romantic advances, got rebuffed and vandalized her almost-new car to where it was unsalvageable. In the second case, she ended up in an unsafe situation and was beat up by two jealous girls, to the point where when her parents saw her in her hospital bed, they didn’t recognize their own daughter. It took her a long time after that to trust anyone new, including me, enough to go out with me, and I could certainly see the logic in that. More reason as to why, if Miss X was doing the same thing as to the world at large, I would not be surprised.

Besides, I’m like the public relations equivalent of Typhoid Mary. I’m openly a trans girl. For much of the world, and for the south-east two-thirds of the US, that makes me automatically reviled. I’ve also done sex work, including being a professional Dominatrix, doing escorting and working as such in a legal brothel. I’m also poly-amorous and a lesbian. Any public persona who as much as says “hi” to me might the next week see the grocery store tabloid headlines scream “Miss X has torrid lesbian online chat with Dominatrix trans whore.” That can’t be good for the marriage or career of someone whose fan base consists of middle-aged heterosexual males who focus on Miss X as if she were still in her 20s, and looking even younger than that at the time. So, I really didn’t expect a direct response. Any sort of “thank you” or feedback thus would have to be in the form of either something subtle, or Miss X throwing caution to the winds, saying “I don’t care about public opinion” and chatting with me openly. The latter is very much not her style. She manages public perceptions of her very carefully. Even were she to choose a private conversation instead, she has no guarantee that it’d stay private. I’ve seen people react with a public announcement of “OMG Miss X just liked my Tweet” so by now she’d be prudent to assume the worst as to nothing she does remaining private. This reduces her communications, if she wanted to communicate, to precisely the sort of subtle communications that the Wikipedia article mentioned – posting something with a hidden message in public media.

Posting something in public with a hidden message is not all that rare, however. In information technology, there’s a concept called a public key in which certain aspects of a secure communication are publicly made available yet they’re meaningless to anyone who doesn’t have the private key. On that premise, two girls can publicly post pictures visible to many viewers, but only the other girl knows how to interpret that. The Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption that pioneered secure web sites such as you might use when you log into your online bank account – that uses the public key, private key approach. That’s the security structure behind websites whose addresses begin with https:// as opposed to http:// … the “s” means “secure” – specifically using the public key, private key paradigm.

An example from a prison or POW camp might be where two prisoners could either exchange a private message, or they might do something publicly that contains a private message. For example, prisoner A might leave a green vegetable uneaten on his or her dinner plate in the public eating area, and prisoner B knows that this means “it happens tonight.” Every guard and prisoner can see the uneaten green vegetable on the plate of prisoner A, but only prisoner B interprets it.

The problem is that this sort of dynamic leaves someone like me wondering if I’m getting a subtle communication intended for me or people like me, or if I’m simply imagining things. If the former, then great, but if it’s subtle enough then I’m not smart enough to be able to tell the difference. It’s sort of like prisoner B in the analogy not being clear as to what the private code is supposed to be, or being unable to tell if the green vegetables were left over or not. Pictures can be self-explanatory, but there’s still much room for being mistaken, including reading messages into situations where no message was intended. Perhaps prisoner A just really didn’t want to eat green vegetables that day, and that’s all there is to it. Perhaps there never was a hidden message.

The definition of “erotomania” makes it pretty darn clear that an essential of the delusional disorder is that the relevant person is conveying affection. Regardless of anything else, I can safely rule that out. At best there’s a “help me, I’m emotionally drowning” hidden message intended for someone who notices and cares. For that reason, I’m not feeling all that concerned about me considering the possibility of hidden-in-the-media messages. I do have a rich imagination and I enjoy fantasizing and writing erotica, yet much as I’ve fantasized about a great many attractive people being in my bed, including Miss X, I don’t believe that the point she’s conveying is that she’s signing up to be my girlfriend – much as that is a fond fantasy for me, with emphasis on “fantasy” not “expectation.” In practical reality, it’s at most as simple as Miss X feeling sad, overwhelmed and lonely, and reaching out for someone understanding. Then again, it’s also the perfect setup for someone like me to imagine that’s the case if it’s not.

As to subtle messages, if I read her song lyrics correctly, Miss X seems to like using hidden messages. One of her albums ostensibly is rich with songs that have a theme of a less-than-flattering assessment of someone unless you listen carefully and then there’s a hidden meaning that’s the approximate opposite. A more recent album of hers is either a simple collection of pretty songs or there’s a deeper meaning. A music video she made seems to have a similar deeper meaning in which she’s expressing intense caring for someone in a public way yet it takes private interpretation to notice it. Then again, it could be that I have been imagining these elements. If I have to make a yes-or-no decision, as to there being hidden messages in her lyrics and music video, I’d go with “yes, there are.” In my opinion, this is someone with a complex mind capable of great subtlety. This conclusion greatly colored my interpretation of her actions.

It’s much like the scenarios in the movie National Treasure. The hero of the story notices subtleties with cheerful persistence, and is faced with general skepticism and yet he is finally vindicated. Sometimes, the clues really are subtle. Then again, they might be imagined.

How isolated, sad and lonely a cerebral shy girl can feel is something that most outsiders, so to speak, cannot grasp. How hard it is to ask for help falls in the same category. Our specialty in difficult times is to put on a brave face and honor the premise of ‘the show must go on.” So, that might explain why Miss X isn’t comfortable reaching out to someone who doesn’t understand the cerebral shy girl mindset, or whatever it’s called or considered to be wherever she goes for support. In my experience, one cerebral shy girl was simply considered crazy, including by her family. She and I were together for many years, and I know that I’m the reason she left, and she deserved better than who I was at the time, yet her family assured me she was the problem and plumb crazy to boot. Someone in my extended family is a cerebral shy girl, and the hatred she receives from others is tragic. For a cerebral shy girl, it can be a very lonely world. Perhaps that’s how Miss X feels, which is why she’s reaching out in other ways.

Miss X presumably lives in a part of LA where counselors and professional help abound, so for help she doesn’t have to post hints on Twitter. She could just pick up the phone and make an appointment. Why wouldn’t she just do that? I pondered that for a long time. I concluded that for a cerebral shy girl to do that is hard and she’s lived in that area all her life, and has had resources available to her all along. Even so she’s still glum and feels overwhelmed so whatever she has available to her, she’s not been using it, or it hasn’t helped. So perhaps she does feel hopeless and lonely, and perhaps that is why she’s reaching out.

Miss X posted a picture of a blonde, muscular, androgynous-looking, cheerfully-dressed girl with wavy hair expressing care and concern about a brunette girl who was slight of build, conservatively dressed and looking glum. To me, the blonde looked uncannily like I do, and the brunette looked uncannily like Miss X. However, another explanation might be that I was imagining it all. For all I know she muted my posts months ago and hasn’t seen anything of what I’ve written. Much as the picture seems like it might be trying to convey “I know you’re concerned and I’m seeing it, keep being supportive, it’s helping,” I simply don’t know. That’s an inherent problem with hidden messages. Are they real? Are they imagined? I don’t know.

I’ve dealt with difficult times personally, and I’m mentoring a trans girl friend who has been having a really hard time. On January 31st, she and I had a long and difficult conversation. She explained how she felt during dark says – empty, hollow, lost. I listened and was supportive but something in what she said also seemed parallel to what I’d concluded about Miss X. I wrote a sympathetic essay based on my new insights, and the next day I sent her a link. In the ensuing days, I continued to mentor my trans girl friend, and I loved how my support helped her turn a corner from feeling really lousy to gradually feeling better and better. I’m not a counselor but I can be a good listener, and sometimes that helps a lot. That’s the premise on which I’m focusing on Miss X. I wish her happiness and if she’s miserable and if support can help, I’d like to help.

The day after I posted my essay, Miss X changed her pinned Tweet that had been in effect for more than six months. Her new pinned Tweet was a painting of “The Scream” depicting someone in silent psychological anguish, in plain sight of others who didn’t seem to know or care. The caption she added made it ambiguous to me. She could either be saying that she wasn’t the one feeling like this and perhaps someone else was (as in she was telling someone, “I’m fine, go focus on your own issues”) or that she was feeling such anguish yet putting on a brave face. Maybe this change of a pinned Tweet is a coincidence as to the content and timing. Maybe it’s not. I don’t know. In some ways it seems too much of a coincidence but – who knows.

Anyway, this was either someone conveying her mental anguish or it was not. In case it was, then I didn’t know how to be sufficiently supportive long-distance and in a subtle way. So, I offered to be available for an in person supportive conversation in case she chose to have one. As I’ve explained in the section on the Philadelphia visit, I don’t like to be intrusive but if someone wants to come to me, I like to make it easy for her. So I went to LA, chose an open space in a safe neighborhood in LA, pre-announced the time and place, drove there and waited in case she chose to show up. She didn’t.

I’ve made no secret of what I was doing, and at that time someone near and dear to me decided to alert me to the serious possibility that I’m being delusional as to any communication with Miss X having occurred. I’ve been thinking about that ever since.

My conclusion is that, by typical standards, Miss X is an unusual person in an unusual situation in which she might well be feeling isolated, overwhelmed, sad and lonely. She might well have a habit of communicating subtly. She might be doing so currently, asking for support. Then again, she might not.

Meanwhile, I have no idea of telling the difference. I could continue pouring energy and time into being supportive but with no way of knowing that I’m adding value, this could go on forever. I could keep going or I can pause. I’m choosing the latter. So, I’m going into a holding pattern.

As to the basic definition of a “value” … it’s something that one acts to gain or keep. If Miss X is aware of my supportive efforts and wishes to encourage them, I require her to convey that. Much as I sympathize with her social constraints, I posted something flat-out asking for some sort of non-ambiguous indication. If she replies, great. If not, then I have no basis for believing I’m adding value, or even being heard. In such a context, continuing for some amount of time has, I hope, been reasonable, but continuing indefinitely is not. That’s why, I’m going into a holding pattern until I get some clear indication or acknowledgement, or by myself I reach a newer and better conclusion based on new information or new insights.

These might well never arrive. That’s a very likely possibility. I feel sheepish as to how much time and energy I might well have sent into the ether without it being useful to the intended recipient. At least some good came of it, to me. I had the hope that I was helping someone who needed it, and I do think things through in depth, while I write. With much writing came much thinking, on many of the subjects related to this general topic. I understand myself, and the concept of cerebral shy girls, and several other related concepts, more clearly now.

In the process, I’ve improved my relationship dynamics with several of the cerebral shy girls in my life, yet I’ve also alienated one about whom I care very much -– perhaps forever, perhaps not. I don’t know. Time will tell.

Erotomania, Part 1

This is a meandering introspective essay on this particular subject. I’m posting it publicly in case the information herein helps someone who’s interested in better understanding me, or the subject matter in general — though I’m not an authority, nor a counselor — quite the opposite. I’m writing as a student, not as a teacher.

I must emphasize that this essay is intended mainly to help me think things through. In my opinion, I think best when I write, so this essay subsumes a vastly long meandering journey though subjects in which, quite likely, I’m the only person who’s interested — yet they help me remember and explore how I came to be who I am today. That’s fine with me. For the last several months, I’ve been writing mainly to the intended benefit of someone else – and I’m taking a break from that. Today, I am writing mainly to the intended benefit of myself. Caveat lector…

I recall how Anne Rice once explained that she does, or did, write mainly for herself. Good stuff, to be sure, but that’s the point. As she explained it, she couldn’t find erotica that was up to the standard that she required for her own reading pleasure, so she made her own. Even so, much good came of it beyond her own enjoyment, to the benefit of other readers. As to the first premise, I’m emboldened by her example, and I’m writing mainly for my own benefit: pondering both my life and the subject matter at hand. I’m a lot less hopeful that my writing might do any good to anyone else, but – as the saying goes, you never know.

This essay was in large part inspired by a tense but well-intentioned and crisply-reasoned set of text messages sent to me by someone emotionally close to me and concerned for me. Until that conversation, I’d been unaware of the word “erotomania.” The writer of this lucid set of text messages expressed the concern that I might have this condition. In reaction to that, I read up about it and I’ve been pondering it ever since.

She suggested I go see a counselor. I might or might not do so. If I do, then before I do, I plan to do much more reading and thinking about the subject, including introspective thinking and writing, with much of it centered around this essay. At the present time, I confess to feeling unmotivated to go see a counselor. Going there just to humor someone else is unlikely to have a good result. It reminds me of the old joke as to how many psychologists it takes to change a light bulb, with the answer being “just one – but the light bulb must want to change.”

I recall a similar reluctance to go see my lawyer when I was experiencing a brief peak in personal wealth. The time for financially prudent asset protection had seemed to arrive. My university degree is in accounting, and the subject matter I was taught includes tax accounting and commercial law, with a heavy emphasis on corporations. Even so, I felt inadequately prepared. I knew that I knew too little about corporations, limited liability companies, limited partnerships and the like. So, I diligently read up about them, and became better-informed, and did much pondering. Eventually, I reached the point where I hardly needed a lawyer — I thought — because I understood the issues so well. Ironically, that’s when I decided to go see my lawyer anyway. During the session when my lawyer explained the issues, I was making mental check marks as in “yep, that matches what I know.” Some of the things he said were new to me, too. So, he either added value in helping me validate what I’d learned and pondered, or by giving new information. Had it all been new information, I’d have probably lacked context and become overwhelmed. As it turned out, being so well-prepared had been a good choice. So, perhaps that’s what I’m doing here, again. It certainly feels parallel in several respects, and logically there are several common issues.

For reasons I’ll explain later on, I’m no stranger to deciding “I would like to go see a counselor.” I’ve done that many times in the past, and it might well happen again here too. Time will tell. I’m certainly open to the idea, on general principles. Counselors are useful – sometimes essential — but in my experience they’re much more useful if I show up having done my homework.

I work in the information technology business, and I study philosophy. Both fields of endeavor affirm the premise that cognitive clarity depends on good definitions. So, that’s always a good starting point, for me.

For definitions, I like to go to Wikipedia as an informal beginning. Some of the information therein I know to be flat-out incorrect relative to some more-credible information I found on a few subjects in which I have immersed myself, but those were exceptions. By and large, I consider Wikipedia to be an honest body of knowledge and a worthy starting point. I just don’t accept it uncritically; I try to reconcile what I read to everything else I know. With these disclaimers, then:

The Wikipedia definition states: “Erotomania is a type of delusional disorder where the affected person believes that another person is in love with him or her.”

On that premise, the story ends right here. As to the relevant person, do I believe she’s in love with me? The simple answer is: No, I don’t. Is there a more subtle, hidden answer? Do I believe it in a way about which I’m perhaps in denial? That’s where much of my pondering has gone into, these last few days. After having done more soul-searching, I still conclude that the answer is: no.

Were this a court case, that’d be the end of it. Someone isn’t “kinda sorta” guilty or innocent. The process is intentionally simplified to a binary yes-or-no. So, on that premise, no means no, and that’s all there is to it.

Whereas matters of court decisions are binary, the field of psychology is very much not. And, as a figure of speech, even though I haven’t colored outside the lines, I know that I have cheerfully colored close to them, and so I believe there’s much cause for introspection and an opportunity for me to learn more about what makes me tick, as such.

Indeed, in recent months, I have focused a lot of time and energy on one person in whose context I’ve applied the above definition to myself. Also, someone else who cares about me is concerned about the issue. Were I to end the story here, I’d be missing out on the opportunity to learn a lot more about myself, and I might also come across as dismissive. Besides, the Wikipedia definition might not be the best one. A closer review couldn’t hurt and can only help.

It is specifically the level of intensity of my recent interest in one particular person that is motivating me to consider the issue worth exploring conceptually, hence this essay. As a side benefit, it may well also sincerely show, in a very concrete fashion, that I’m taking seriously the concerns mentioned to me by the person who raised this subject in the first place. She might or might not care any more, but she certainly deserves to be taken seriously.

Later, when and if I consider it prudent, I might well yet end up involving a counselor too. Ironically, as lay individuals go, I’ve had a higher-than-typical exposure to counselor culture. I was in a multi-year romantic relationship with a girl who was at the time studying to be a counselor. We ended up living together for several of those years, during part of which she got her Master’s degree in counseling to follow her Bachelor’s in Psychology and to precede her career as a formal counselor. During the relationship, several of her friends became my friends, and vice versa. Her friends tended to be girls studying to be counselors; mine tended to be in the information technology field. My girlfriend was interested in my career and I in hers. She learned more about making computer software, and I learned more about the professions of psychology and counseling. I wasn’t just humoring her; the field sincerely does interest me. While other couples might be out watching a movie about typical subject matter, we’d instead enthusiastically be watching movies about Kinsey or Carl Jung. Dinnertime conversation often focused on what she was learning at the time or what was happening in the field of psychology, e.g., the publication of the new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association. She did an admirable (and as far as I know, perfect) job of maintaining confidentiality while she was an intern, seeing actual clients in a supervised context. Often, after coming home from work, her face would convey that something intense had happened, and yet I didn’t even ask about specifics because I knew the response would be “client confidentiality prohibits me from answering that question except in an immensely general sense, as in I’ve had a very good day or a very rough day, mostly because my client had a very good day or a very rough day.” Counselors have a hard life, and they add much value.

Even going into that relationship, I already had a high level of respect for the counselor profession. Seeing the professionalism from close by raised my respect much more yet. Certainly, any reluctance on my part to go see a counselor at the present time is in spite of my high esteem for the value that a counselor can add. As to whether my reasons are valid or not, I don’t know yet. That’s part of what I’m trying to figure out, by writing this essay.

I am no stranger to psychology from a client’s perspective. In the past, I’d chosen to get counseling on two major areas of concern. The first of them had to do with sexuality, as the next section explains. In a nutshell, I was in a dynamic where I was expected to perform sexually as a guy, and I did not and could not.

Why as a guy? I’m a trans girl. I was born with a female brain structure and male-shaped plumbing. Until a few years ago, I tried to function in male culture, and I presented myself relationship-wise as a very, very feminine guy since that was the best self-assessment I had. However, my female brain structure enables me to connect very quickly and deeply, emotionally and intellectually, with another girl. In one of the most intense romances of my life, the girl and I met, and the first night we were up until 3 a.m. – talking. We soon became a romantic couple, and grew to love each other deeply. As best she and I knew at the time (and this was decades ago) she was straight, and I was a guy – albeit a very feminine guy. She expected things to be sexual in the typical sequence of events you’d expect in the bedroom of a straight couple. She was cerebral, complex, brilliant and lovely, and she certainly inspired in me intense feelings of love– but I didn’t love her in a guy sense nor was I sexual with her beyond the initial start. The more I loved her, the less I wanted to be sexual with her as such. She loved me enough to stay in the relationship for several years, and I was highly enthused to resolve the problem. This is how I ended up seeing one counselor after another. I knew that the issue was greatly bothering her, and I also tried to will myself to be sexual and manly in bed with her, and that just made things worse yet. The entire subject became a mess. Counselors would, I hoped, be able to help me unravel the mess in my head.

Some or much of that mess began, as it so often does, with a male parent. I used to feel very sorry for myself as to my lost childhood (or a large part of it, anyway) due to something inappropriate that my stepfather had done with me in his bed, with him and I both being naked. This happened more than four decades ago and even as today I write this, I still feel a sickening sense of soul-deep revulsion at the memory.

Over the years, I befriended more and more girls, and we compared notes as to our respective childhoods. I was shocked to learn how many of us were molested sexually as children. Sometimes the perpetrator – rapist really, since a child cannot consent – was the biological father; sometimes the stepfather, sometimes the foster parent family father, sometimes an uncle. I had at some point in my youth read that sexual abuse happened to children, but I used to think that classic penetrative sex was the only way that such things happened. I was shocked to learn how many variations existed, and that what had happened to me also qualified. The common theme as I nowadays classify these things is that an adult had violated the child’s rights and/or that the child had felt sexually violated for non-imagined reasons, even if penetration hadn’t occurred. Hence, bare-butt “discipline” and “medical examinations” also qualify as such abuse.

I was a “medical examination” victim. I’d had a stepfather who, it’s safe to say, was a mean, emotionally abusive — and occasionally violent — drunk. To say that I hated him would be putting it mildly. When I was nine or so, give or take a year or two (I honestly don’t remember) he gave my privates a “medical examination” in his bed. During the event I felt extremely uncomfortable and violated.

I feel naïve writing this and feeling sorry for myself, in the context of and in contrast with the long and intense horror stories I have heard about other girls whose ordeal makes mine so trivial by comparison. So without claiming any sort of significant-victim statues, but only to revisit my own psychological journey here, I am writing about my own experience. My stepfather is dead, and it really doesn’t matter any more – except to me, since what he did shaped me in a way I don’t like and that took me a long time to overcome. Seeing counselors – that helped, though my epiphany moment and turning point occurred outside of a counselor’s office.

The second reason why I saw a counselor happened decades later: Although I’m a trans girl, I didn’t realize it explicitly until recently. Until then, I was, by my way of thinking, inexplicably and deeply feminine. I thought that feeling and thinking like a girl meant I was crazy. I saw a counselor who explained that this doesn’t mean I’m crazy, and that brain-wise I might simply be a girl — a genetic brain-structure mutation as such, and not even all that rare a phenomenon.

She lent me a book that referenced scientific findings on the subject, as to the existence of trans girls (born with a female brain structure and male plumbing) being a matter of proven biological fact. We covered what reasonably seemed like the burden of proof to be met as such. I met them, and then some, and now I live openly as the trans girl I am.

So, in both cases, counselors were very useful to me. They might well be again.

More later …

Cerebral Shy Girl Eternal Wallflowering

I recall being at a teenage dance party when I was 14. I’m a cerebral shy girl and back then I was even more shy, so I stood by the wall and observed others. I wished for a sequence of events that would enable me to dance with one particular girl there. She radiated the social self-confidence that I lacked. Finally, the focus of my girl crush came toward me and took me by the hand, to dance — with someone else. She was going around and propelling every wallflower toward someone else, and giving out instructions to go dance. It got the party going, and I was in awe of her social skills.

About a thousand years later, I was swapping text messages with another cerebral shy girl who wanted to date me, as we’d done happily in the past, but she also needed some alone time first. When the alone time would end and we’d be in the mode to date again became a Gordian knot of intertwined assumptions and causal dependencies, too complex to discuss except in person — but the discussion was about when next to meet in person. So, it was a sort of Catch-22 situation. I pondered it for a day, and then simply chose a date, time, place and two fun events, and I asked her out. She said “yes” and we had a lovely two-hour, two-event date that we dynamically extended (due to not wanting to say good-bye) to three events, and then another and another. By 4 a.m. we were still happily chatting, 12 hours into the date. However, for things to be that nice, they first had to begin, period.

My point is that as cerebral shy girls we can get so immersed in the details that we forget about the big picture. It helps when one of us sometimes zooms out to a high-level perspective and remembers what we’re trying to accomplish, all in all, and says “I’d love to meet you. I’m ready. As I read you, you’re ready too. Here’s a date, time and place I suggest. Please be there or suggest something else.”

Sometimes it’s as simple as that. If the other cerebral shy girl is ready, great — and if not, maybe some other time in the future. But, at least she had a crisp, clear opportunity to proceed, or not.

Cerebral Shy Girl First-Time Socializing

On this trip, I’m looking forward to spending time with a cerebral shy girl whom I’ve never interacted with in person. So, I’m writing this in the hope that it lowers her stress level.

One of the things we do, as cerebral shy girls, is to take things very seriously. We’d like them to go just right, and when they go wrong or badly wrong, especially in a high-stakes situation, it can become overwhelming. Besides, we might well have been overwhelmed beforehand anyway, so with more yet, it’s like a “double word score” as to being overwhelmed.

A cerebral shy girl friend taught me the magic rule that when she feels overwhelmed, it’s always okay to find a private spot, and to sit down and cry, literally, for five minutes. Five whole minutes — but only five minutes.  It’s a useful rule.

As to meeting someone when we’d rather stay home, cerebral shy girls show our reluctance by being late. We procrastinate and that’s an example of sorts. As to meeting someone whom we’d like to meet, cerebral shy girls show our enthusiasm by being early and by preparing diligently.  A bird with a nesting instinct is a lazy slob compared to a cerebral shy girl preparing to meet someone who is welcome in her life.

Visual preparations as to clothing and make-up fall in this extra-attention category. That can cause problems, though. It’s happened that a cerebral shy girl is so enthused to meet someone that she prepares so diligently and in such a complex way that she takes on so much, and then things are more likely to go wrong, and when they do, her stress level increases to the breaking point.

One of my cherished examples is of a cerebral shy girl who drove three hours to meet me socially, and the trip included her going over the Sierra Nevada mountain range from California to Reno during the winter. A storm was expected and it was much worse than she’d expected. She ended up having to deal with snow tire chains, and then those broke, and eventually even though she made it to Reno, she was so overwhelmed emotionally that she just didn’t meet me at all. I found out about all this subsequently, during a long and wonderful friendship (so yes, we did eventually happily meet).

So, as to the cerebral shy girl whom I’m hoping to meet this week, will she show up? I hope so — but, if she feels overwhelmed she might not. How can I preemptively reduce her stress level?  I could reassure her that she doesn’t even have to shower before she shows up. Acceptable dress code: old sweatpants and a t-shirt, and running shoes. Make-up is optional. Her hair doesn’t need to be straightened or even washed.  I’m focused on her mind.

I’m hoping to meet her at 3 p.m. but if she gets caught in traffic or her car breaks down or the freeway has gridlock or she gets a ticket, that’s OK. I’m happy to wait until 5 p.m.  And she’s welcome to email me or tweet me to tell me she’s running late.

Will she show up that informally, if she shows up at all? Probably not. If she shows up at all, she’ll probably still prepare diligently — but this article might help reduce her stress level just a little … because for cerebral shy girls, pressure leads to feeling overwhelmed  and that is one of the worst things imaginable.