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  • Toni Anita Hull

My Special Superpower


I have a special superpower that I’ve been keeping a secret…

I’m really good at harping on social interactions and replaying them over and over in my head. Give me a cape with an “H” for HARPING GIRL!

HARPING GIRL! Able to harp on social interactions and replay them in her head on loop for a godly amount of time!

I realized that I had this superpower after an Orangetheory Fitness (OTF) class. For those of you who don’t know what OTF is, let me explain: It’s an hour of hell where you wear a heart rate monitor so that your heart rate appears on the screen for the whole class to see. The goal is to get into the maximum fat burning zone - the orange zone - for at least 12 minutes. I never know if I get my 12 minutes because I lost my heart rate monitor while I was drunk, and refuse to pay the studio $80 for a new one.

Wait, where was I? Yes. My superpower… HARPING.

As I was pretending to stretch after the OTF class, the coach for the next class walked in. This is the only coach who knows my name and this guy is a fucking dreamboat. A married dreamboat, who adores his wife. Not that I know that from stalking his Instagram… Anyway, Coach Dreamboat walks in, plops down next to me and asks me how comedy writing's going. I was shocked. We had talked once, like a year ago, and I had told him that I was pursuing writing and I’m pretty forgettable. I felt such joy that someone remembered me that it gave me anxiety, and I mentally and emotionally curled into a fetal position. I muttered something about how I was in a writing lab a few weeks ago. He tried to ask me something else, but I couldn’t hear, so I smiled and nodded. Then it hit me that I was just sitting on the floor while everyone else in the class was standing and stretching, and I looked at him and said, “I don’t know what I’m doing!” He apologized as if he were distracting me from my stretching, but he wasn’t. Then, I just left the class because I felt so awkward. Did I sound rude? What was he thinking? I didn’t even ask him how he was or how acting was going or how his trip to New Orleans was – not that I know that from stalking his Instagram – but I just awkwardly left. Awk-to-the-ward.

Here I am, six hours later, and I am still thinking about what Coach Dreamboat is thinking about me. The kicker is... COACH DREAMBOAT IS NOT THINKING ABOUT ME. Or he is? Does he think I’m rude? Should I write a note? What should I do?

Three days ago, I’m pretty sure I offended a friend with a comment on childbirth. I felt stupid and ashamed and awful and and and and and and... Yes, she's spoken to me since and is the kind of person who would tell me if she was mad. But what if she is still thinking about it? Does she think I’m an insensitive idiot? Is she harboring anger?

Two weeks ago, I cracked a joke to my new boss that he did not find funny. And I’m working on a comedy podcast with him. Does he think I’m the dullest human alive? Is he questioning my mere existence on this planet? Will I get that pink slip tomorrow?

Three and a half years ago, I made a joke about mothers in front of friend whose mother had just died. He probably hates me for it. Yes, he sent me a birthday gift and a Christmas gift for the last three years. But are they spite gifts to make me feel guilty? Is this a long con? Is that waving Queen of England bobble head trying to tell me to fuck off?

Five years ago, I told a story about a friend shitting his pants to another friend because I thought it was a hilarious story. That friend looked at me and said, “ I don’t think X would appreciate you spreading that story around.” Ugh. Do both of those people hate me now? There are no logical signs or signals telling me that they hate me. But are they still thinking about how I spread that shit story around like wildfire? Do they think I'm horrible? That time I shit my pants at work was karma.

There is a long list of interactions that I reply over and over and over and over and over and over and over...

I'm literally breathing heavily right now on the verge of panic attack. Am I nutso? Or am I just this selfish and narcissistic that I think everyone is thinking about me? What is wrong with me?

I’m awkward. I am. It takes me months to warm up to people and vice versa. I’m like a feral cat who needs to be tamed because I secretly hate humans. Okay, I don’t hate humans. I just hate myself for how I act around humans. I think for the most part they aren’t too fond of me – at least at first glance. Why am I not charming or cuddly or cute or fun or smart or witty? Why am I awkward?

I just Googled “Why am I awkward?” and this is the top hit - 6 Signs That You’re Socially Awkward and How to Fix This. A key takeaway from the article is “…learn the basic social norms.” Great. Just great.

I feel like this quote, that I saw on a shirt in storefront in Columbia, MO, sums up my existence:

“I’m sorry I’m awkward. I’m sorry.”

Maybe I need a cape with an “A” (preferably in any color but scarlet) for AWKWARD GIRL!

AWKWARD GIRL! Able to awkwardly stand in a conversation for a godly amount of time without saying a word and then going home and crying about how awkward she was!

Why isn’t Marvel knocking on my door?


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