To those who know me from this blog or follow me on Twitter, I'm sure it's clear that I suffer from a number of social anxieties. While a lot of them may be trivial to most people, it's pretty much standard fare for a person who has Aspergers. One of my fears that I am reminded of on almost a daily basis is my fear of looking stupid.
I'm a pretty smart guy. I like being smart; it makes me feel good. I like knowing how to use semicolons correctly. Somewhere deep inside, part of me believes that my intelligence is all that I have. So when I look stupid, I end up losing respect for myself and I get pissed off. A good amount of my tantrums have been caused by me doing something idiotic and getting mad at myself for it.
I hate trying new things because of this. Trying new things means learning something, and learning starts with not knowing something. The "figuring it out" phase is the worst part because I feel like everyone is looking at me, knowing that I don't have any idea what I'm doing. And don't even say it - asking for help is out of the question because it shows just how clueless I am.
This all comes up today after I went to go work out. My family got a membership to an indoor activity center, with a pool for the kids and a fitness center/gym included (think YMCA, only without the Village People). With the membership I got a free fitness assessment, which was just as much fun as it sounds. The results showed that I needed to improve my upper body strength, a result that even a legally blind person could have come up with just by looking at me.
Now, as you may have guessed, I'm not a "gym guy." I never even set foot on a treadmill before the fitness assessment. I feel completely out of place, and I think everyone can tell that I really don't belong there. So you can imagine how comfortable I am with using all of those complicated weight machines. I can picture it now - standing there looking dumbfounded, scratching my head as I try to decipher the instructions; the snickers and chuckles I'd have to endure as I struggle with the machine, looking more like I'm trying to have sex with the machine than exercise with it; the crushing humiliation when one of the trainers puts their hand on my shoulder, as if to say, "You've entertained us enough for today, you can go now."
I figure that's the best case scenario.
I know eventually I'll get annoyed enough with myself where I'll go all drill sergeant on myself and FORCE myself to do it. Or I'll wait until nobody's around so I can have my accidental weight machine intercourse with nobody watching.