• KO

Inspired by, of all things, a Glamour magazine article.

"Social hangover." I heard this term for the first time today. It struck me in a way that was most unexpected.

"Social hangover." Two words, when placed side-by-side, define an experience I'm extremely familiar with.

"Social hangover." Legitimate embarrassment is the main source, but any interaction can trigger a surge of supreme doubt. Awkward pauses. Jokes that fail to break the floor nicely. Opposing sides of an argument. Interruptions. Odd glances. Looks of disapproval. Uncertainty. The briefest, most innocent of misunderstandings between myself and another person will have me up all night carefully rewinding and replaying exchanges, calculating risks taken and avoided, identifying error, punishing myself for missed opportunities and chastising my stupid brain for its plot to work against me. I will spend hours reviewing, rethinking, reexamining, re-speculating and redefining how I f***ed up. Coulda woulda shoulda.

Self-reflection is a normal, healthy practice that everyone ought to do to hold themselves accountable for choices made. I happen to take it to an extreme that serves no purpose. At any given moment, I'm usually questioning something I've already done or said- however insignificant. Though it only exists in memory and there's nothing I can do to alter it, I obsess over the details and torment myself into a self-esteem tailspin.

This is an exhausting way to exist, but it's just as natural to me as blinking and breathing.

There's no question that each "social hangover" is a huge waste of time and energy. Most of my efforts are in vain. I know I will continue to f*** up. I will never achieve the perfection I seek. And yet...

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