There are many layers of personal and social anxiety separating people from each other that most will never breach due to their own contentedness to sit in a frightened silence. Whether it be beauty or the lack of it, income, intelligence or ethnicity--people with certain characteristics will be estranged from us while they are still strangers. We will never spend a day in their company, yet we will shun them or feel shunned by them. Even if we free ourselves from one biased opinion, another will be in our way.
The effect is like being caught inside cages within cages--escaping from one prison means going into another. Claustrophobia is the human mind’s main source of discomfort; paranoia joins it and we ask ourselves subconsciously, How far under the surface am I? I doubt there is a reasonable way to measure this depth, but it can be judged with the eyes as an approximation.
The uncomfortable body language and poor speaking skills are obvious signs of anxiety that most people recognize. We notice someone else is trapped under the fences, but can only get so far before we are ensnared and forced to turn back. Sometimes the meshes are so thick you couldn’t hope to stick an arm through the barbs and tap the surface and cause a ripple. You may never reach these placid, dark mirrors--they have the tell-tale blank faces and the deepest, dimmest eyes.
Our respective fences even prevent us as we struggle closer to the ones we love. People begin to care about each others well being and happiness and let them deeper inside, shedding layers of fencing to bring the admired one into close, personal contact. Each fence is a more rigorous test, trying trust and honesty against selfishness, differing opinions, and the pain of past mistakes. The two lover’s push themselves through these mental blockades from either side, snagging and tearing their clothes, cutting their skin against the wire’s sharp edge. They eventually reach each other, clasp hands and wrap their arms around one another, gasping and bleeding, their clothes torn to tatters. Now they live in the same prison--a bittersweet romance, but a strong one.
Finding our way through our own sociological static is the most challenging thing we will do in our lives. This insectan process of shedding off cages faces a fear that is a combination of ‘joining the herd’ and ‘taking care of myself’. Developing an acceptable social life--and I mean acceptable for you--isn’t easy. There are a lot of people to deal with, so adaptability is a must have characteristic. Everyone will have a different idea of what a friend should be, and this idea will range from a dope fiend to a scholar. Introductions are left for the individual to decide--and, for those of you who crave to shed this heavy coat of meshed wire: Hi, my name is John. Nice to meet you.