Creeping everyone out no matter what I do.

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Post by The Wisp on Fri Feb 13, 2015 9:30 pm

Werel wrote:
You ever listen to that episode of This American Life where Sarah Vowell decides to go goth, enlists the help of some goth kids to go shopping, and selects a pink item? "Pink Goth," the goths whisper, awed. "The highest level of goth there is. She's very advanced."

Geez they sound like the South Park goth kids Razz
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Post by StrangePanda on Fri Feb 13, 2015 10:25 pm

Hey AtlachNacha Smile
As someone who dressed in an unconventional style when I was a teenager, I experienced a sudden change in people's behaviors just because my clothes happened to be black and my jewerly different from what other girls were wearing. I got a lot of weird looks when I was just walking in the streets. That's because I lived in a small city where people dressed the same and were definitely not open-minded. Some people are uncomfortable with what they don't understand. Especially people who could sense that I was having a very low self-esteem and it made me such an easy target for their negative reactions.
Now I don't know if it applies entirely to your situation and I don't know your environment but I thought I could share my experience with you in case it might help you realise that some people may feel threatened by your difference and not by your behavior.
It does not mean you're obligated to date only other goths or to be friends  with only goth people, not at all! I personally knew couples where one was with a more conventional style and the other was into a particular subculture and it worked because both were open-minded.
Don't change your style if you don't want to. As you said, it's who you are.
On a more practical level, as people here already told, maybe it can be a good idea to adapt your clothes for what you'll be doing. If you know you'll spend some time of your day in a more conventional environment, it might be good to wear a piece of clothing with more soft colors (grey, white, blue, silver are some colors I can think of right now) mixing with  your usual clothes and add a more subtle accessories.

Aaaand jedi hugs to you too  cheers

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Post by JP McBride on Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:02 pm

eselle28 wrote:<mod>JP McBride, it is unacceptable on this forum to respond to requests for advice with things along the lines of, "I wish I had your problem." If you don't have constructive advice for AtlachNacha, refrain from commenting. Consider this a formal warning.</mod>

*sigh*

As I said, get a lawyer. Tell your lawyer about the women calling you a stalker and a rapist. Tell your lawyer about your neighbors calling the cops. Tell your lawyer about the police threatening to shoot you.

You need to know what people have been saying to the police about you. Dating can wait until you figure out if your life is at risk or not.

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Post by eselle28 on Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:28 pm

JP McBride wrote:
*sigh*

As I said, get a lawyer. Tell your lawyer about the women calling you a stalker and a rapist. Tell your lawyer about your neighbors calling the cops. Tell your lawyer about the police threatening to shoot you.

You need to know what people have been saying to the police about you. Dating can wait until you figure out if your life is at risk or not.

<mod>I could do without the *sigh*, but thank you for clarifying the intent of your post.</mod>
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Post by Herr R on Sat Feb 14, 2015 5:34 am

Funny. I live in a pretty socially conservative rural area (read: redneck as hell) and I seem to get compliments whenever I wear some of my more "nerd with a Rock edge" stuff (I would like to go full Rivethead, but so far I don't think my finances are allowing me to buy combat boots, East German uniforms and KMFDM shirts as much as I would like!) In fact, I've shown pictures on here of what I wear and I get more flack for it here than IRL! Maybe it's the cowboy hat and my camo pants. Rednecks seem to love them. But also, despite my self-esteem issues and self-hatred, over the years I've learned to walk straight, so I OWN that fucking hat and look like a boss. But then again I'm only 5'9".

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Post by AtlachNacha on Sat Feb 14, 2015 1:34 pm

Prajnaparamita wrote:
Okay, but I just hope that you wouldn't make forcing yourself to make eye contact be a new source of anxiety--I don't want this to come of as "oh, it will just come naturally, don't worry" but I imagine that forcing yourself in social situations to go "Oh god gotta make eye contact must make eye contact need to make eye contact aaahhh" is probably not going to make things better. If its something that's helpful though to keep in mind as you brainstorm and gradually work towards gaining more confidence in social situations.

Yeah, I went shopping last night and couldn't manage to make eye contact with the store employees. I did notice, however, that like reboot was suggesting, my eyes did sometimes land on their body... and I can definitely see how that could look... (has this been happening this whole time? ugh...  Embarassed )

Prajnaparamita wrote:
I think this is slightly strange, but I often feel an affinity for those who share the same diagnoses as I, even if we have little else in common. (Add "on the spectrum" to that and you have my current official list.) Panic disorder, huh? That's not one that I hear all that often, and while all on that list suck, that one's particularly rough. Living your life in a slow motion panic attack is hellish.

I have, a couple times, had conversations with people where we just listed our various disorders and symptoms at each other: "oh, you have that too?" "ooh, that one must be tough" "oh, i've never met anyone with that before..." it does end up being this weird bonding experience every time, just knowing they're going through the same thing, and they get it...

Prajnaparamita wrote:
Don't worry about it. Seriously. If someone comes here and politely and sincerely asks for help and advice, that's what we're going to try and provide.

I guess i'm just too used to running across places on the internet where the response would've either been along the lines of "this is happening because you ACTUALLY ARE a potential rapist deep down" (someone actually said something similar to me when I was 11.) or "this is happening because you just DON'T CARE about how you come across" and "people with anxiety should just get the hell over it". but I guess I chanced upon a good place for once. Glad to be here.


Autumnflame wrote:
Werel wrote:Not much to add to everyone else's awesome advice, but I want to second the fact that you're not a horrible person for wanting to figure out what you're doing wrong! Kudos for having the courage to ask for help.

AtlachNacha wrote: I have considered adding little touches to convey the idea of 'I am kind of a goofball and not really taking this TOO seriously.' and I'm open to ideas on that front.

You ever listen to that episode of This American Life where Sarah Vowell decides to go goth, enlists the help of some goth kids to go shopping, and selects a pink item? "Pink Goth," the goths whisper, awed. "The highest level of goth there is. She's very advanced."

Just a thought: mixing in soft pastels might actually be the gothest thing ever, and might tone down the scare factor a little. (Although if you live in an extremely homophobic place, perhaps risky. Neutral)

I was actually going to suggest perhaps trying white goth. It'll still come off as gothy, but might be less intimidating on first glance than a 6'2" dude dressed all in black. Smile White shirt, white or silver blazer, white/silver vest, silver/grey pants, accessories to suit. You might get people thinking you're a bit pretentious, but you'll get people thinking that with regular goth stuff anyway, and it might dial down on the spooky factor non-goth-sympathetic people read.

Ok, don't know why i'm not already doing this. Guess who's in the #1 top spot on my last.fm profile? http://www.last.fm/music/Emilie+Autumn/+images/38814763
not to mention: http://slowdive.users.netlink.co.uk//Photos/sisters2.jpg

Pink and white really is the highest level  Laughing

Though as to living in a homophobic place: I live in texas, I already get things yelled at me from passing cars because of the hair. So no pink, i'd rather not get shot at... but the white could work, and serve the dual purpose of making summer more survivable.


StrangePanda: Thank you for the reassurances and the jedi hugs Smile


JP McBride wrote:
Get a lawyer, preferably one with experience dealing with unlawful arrests and suing the police department. A lawyer will be able to do wonderful, magical things for you.

Okay, I had a more detailed response to this, but my computer crashed... so basically i'm just going to say that I've already looked into that, and it's not an option, for reasons ranging from financial to legal to political issues i'm not going to get into now because i'll just end up ranting angrily for days about police brutality and... sfdoghljdsgurgdf. I'll just have to continue trying to stick to crowded areas when it gets dark, and avoiding that particular block when I go walking.


Herr R: Huh. I don't live anywhere rural at all, it's sounding like this IS mostly down to body language and facial expression. I never thought of either of those as being significant, so it seems odd to me that they'd have such an effect...


Alright! Guess I will be talking to my therapist next visit about new meds and ways to moderate my body language? It feels SO DAMN GOOD to have a clear-ish course of action here. Thanks again everyone.

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Post by trooper6 on Sat Feb 14, 2015 8:19 pm

I don't know how old you are or if this is practical, but maybe you might want to consider moving to a place that is less hostile and where there is more of a goth scene?

And is there really only one goth club in all of Texas? According to this website: http://www.vamp.org/Gothic/clublist.html
there are 9 clubs in Texas. Sure that isn't the best number in the world...but it is better than 9. And you know what? There are lots of Goth clubs in other parts of the country...and maybe you'd like those other parts of the country better?

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Post by AtlachNacha on Sun Feb 15, 2015 12:53 am

trooper6 wrote:I don't know how old you are or if this is practical, but maybe you might want to consider moving to a place that is less hostile and where there is more of a goth scene?

And is there really only one goth club in all of Texas? According to this website: http://www.vamp.org/Gothic/clublist.html
there are 9 clubs in Texas. Sure that isn't the best number in the world...but it is better than 9. And you know what? There are lots of Goth clubs in other parts of the country...and maybe you'd like those other parts of the country better?

I'm actually planning on moving, for that, and for school, and for other political and cultural reasons, yes. Difficult for someone on disability, though.

That is an old list, some of those are clubs that have closed down, some of those are 'goth nights' that are no longer held (notice that if you click through to the websites you tend to get dead links). I do stand corrected, though, a couple of the other ones are still around, so now it's a question of transportation... thanks for the info.

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Post by Autumnflame on Sun Feb 15, 2015 4:54 pm

In Austin, at least, the goth look would probably barely be noticed. Smile Or at least certainly unremarked-upon. I've seen a few, though they're certainly outnumbered by the hippie/hipster/artiste types.
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Post by gaboz on Mon Feb 16, 2015 6:38 am


AtlachNacha, i've read some of your responses and can see a change in tone in your answers. Its look promising. Keep us posted

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Post by Dan_Brodribb on Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:02 pm

I've had this problem. Other than practice, the thing that helped the most was trying to focus my efforts on what I DID want people to feel.

In driving or parachuting, instructors often tell you to look at where you want to go as opposed to the obstacles you want to avoid.

For me, I chose moving "towards comfortable" as opposed to "away from creepy." So instead of going "Don't be creepy. Don't be creepy. Wait, how do I not be creepy? Am I being creepy now? I hope not. i wonder if she's creeped out," and googling 'how not to be creepy' I started to try and shape my thinking more towards stuff like "How comfortable does she look? What are some things I've seen socially comfortable people do in this sort of situation? If I WAS comfortable right now, how would I move/speak/behave?" and seeking out advice in how to behave more 'comfortably'

I also have a couple posts on creepiness on my blog http://thegatewayboyfriend.blogspot.ca/2011/03/creepiness-conundrum-part-1-accidental.html and http://thegatewayboyfriend.blogspot.ca/2011/03/creepiness-conundrum-part-2.html?zx=2610a0e172a13119. They're a few years old, but they still get hits, so maybe you'll find something helpful there.

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Post by trooper6 on Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:41 pm

Also you can look at someone's eyebrows or the bridge of their nose between their eyes. Especially if you are not really, really close it will look like you are looking into their eyes (rather than their body), without having to look into their eyes just yet.

One more thing. You don't have to make constant eye contact...actually it is best not to. You make eye contact and smile to show you aren't dangerous, then you can look up, look around. Remember to keep open body language and smile here and then...and that is more comfortable making.

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Post by AtlachNacha on Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:29 pm

So. some updates. Wall-of-text warning i guess.

Went out a few days ago. maybe a week, I honestly don't have a good sense of time right now. Ended up in hot topic, something set off my anxiety and I collapsed. This has happened before, but never as severe, I've seen multiple doctors about it and they all insist that the collapsing and the pain that comes at the same time are psychosomatic. I'm laying there, trying desperately to climb up off the ground, and can't, so I start calling out to the people around me, asking if someone could help me up, and people just... looked nervously over their shoulders at me, looking freaked out, and then ignored me. Apparently even without the strength to stand I'm threatening to these people somehow, because after a while the store manager approaches, fidgeting, flanked by security guards and says "Um, we need you to like, get up and, like, leave the store. now." I kind of snapped at her a bit, and explained to her that I could not, in fact, get up on my own, that I was not, in fact, just doing pushups or something, nor was I lying there for the hell of it, just to inconvenience people. She did not respond, instead staring blankly at a random point on the nearest shelving unit while the security guards started yelling at me to get up and leave. Finally someone came over and managed to help me up, I thanked him, and then managed to slowly shuffle towards the exit with both hands on my cane, needing to stop and lean against the walls every few feet, which the security guards yelled at me for each time, then they demanded to know what drugs I was on, and finally agreed to let me wait outside for a ride.

Even so weak i can barely stand, and in obvious pain, I'm apparently still threatening, and dangerous, and inherently repulsive to almost everyone around me. wonderful thing to know.

my father sent hot topic an angry email and they sent me a gift card and said something about 're-training' the manager... which just makes me feel guilty...

So the past... week? two? idk. however long it's been since the incident. I've been doing mostly nothing but eating and sleeping, when I don't have things that need to be done, and somehow losing weight despite that. (my double-breasted pinstripe suit fits me again... silver lining?) I saw a doctor yesterday, and got some new meds... have been out in public a couple times, been paying more attention to my facial expression and seem to have gotten fewer weird looks. forcing a smile is still difficult. can't walk without the cane at all right now so posture is REALLY difficult.

I talked to some old friends from high school, apparently a lot of the major incidents then were down to me standing too close a lot, and apparently I've since broken that particular habit, so that would seem to take all but maybe one or two of the 'stalker' and ALL of the 'rapist' accusations out of the equation entirely, or at least decrease their... weight, i guess.

I went into the bathroom the other day and relaxed my face and posture to their default and... jeez. wow. I demonstrated it to my therapist and she started laughing, then said to google 'resting bitch-face'. (apparently I have a different resting expression most of time when i'm in her office... which is... weird.) (found an entire thread: http://www.reddit.com/r/socialskills/comments/1v1b56/chronic_asshole_face/)

So... Kind of a mixed bag all around?

I feel all over the place right now, bouncing between optimism and depression. 's weird.

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Post by The Wisp on Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:48 pm

I'm sorry that happened! That sounds awful Sad

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Post by Wondering on Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:51 pm

AtlachNacha, people not helping you when you're having a debilitating medical incident is not going to be due to you being threatening in most cases. It's going to be because people are uncomfortable and uncertain and scared and don't know what to do themselves, so they avoid.

I have had this happen to me. I am a five-foot tall, tiny white woman who dresses pretty conventionally in jeans and t-shirts. I am super non-threatening physically. I am also a Type 1 diabetic. I have had low blood sugar reactions in public before and collapsed and needed help. And people avoid. They just avoid. Eye contact, helping, whatever it is. And the accusation of drugs is common. I was driving once and hit a neighbor's mailbox, and some guy -- who was not from the neighborhood and didn't know me -- stopped and could see I was in distress but instead of calling an ambulance, called the cops to report someone on drugs.

Now, the store manager here was totally in the wrong, as were the security guards. They should have called for medical assistance. She does need retraining. Do not feel bad about that. Do not let people's lack of help and rudeness to you in this situation make you feel bad about yourself. You shouldn't. Feel bad or helpless or frustrated or scared or angry or any of those negative feelings about having the panic attack and/or that you didn't get help, but don't feel it means something bad about you that no one helped.

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Post by Enail on Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:19 pm

Oh, that's awful! And that would be a scary thing to experience even if the people around you were helpful and kind, let alone what actually happened. So sorry you went through all that. You don't need to feel at all guilty for the manager getting in trouble, she should get in trouble for behaving that way to someone in need of help.  

I'm glad to hear that you're getting some useful/encouraging feedback about your expression. And standing too close to people is probably one of the biggest things a person can do unintentionally that makes people uncomfortable, so knowing that that was what was going on and that you're not doing it anymore is very good news!

Look after yourself while you recover. Your physical needs take priority over your posture!
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Post by AtlachNacha on Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:30 pm

Wondering wrote:stopped and could see I was in distress but instead of calling an ambulance, called the cops to report someone on drugs.

Ok, This? This makes me angry. Even if it had been someone with a crack pipe in one hand and a needle in the other ranting about aliens, the correct choice is ambulance, not a group of people who, judging by current events, would be just as likely to beat the person half to death as actually help. The only exception being if they are actually presenting as legitimately dangerous to someone around them. But with no indicator that it's actually drugs, rather than a medical problem? That is bullshit. That guy is made of bullshit. He is bullshit covered bullshit with a creamy bullshit filling. He is some kind of magically animated bullshit-golem, if you rubbed the word 'בולשיט' off of his forehead, he'd slump over and become inert. (okay, that got a bit weird there toward the end...)

I'm very sorry that happened to you, and thank you for your reassurances.

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Post by Werel on Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:44 pm

Holy cow, what a horrible experience. Sad Wondering is right-- most people get uncomfortable and avoidant when they see a stranger in distress, so it probably had very little to do with you, personally; I'm still sorry that everyone around you was so unkind. That's their failing, though, not yours. And yeah, that store manager DOES need re-training.

Hope you feel better soon. (and your resting asshole face sounds pretty top-notch, if it can make your therapist laugh!)
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Post by AtlachNacha on Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:46 pm

That seems... awful. I'd been of the (apparently mistaken) belief that most people who collapse without warning in public immediately get people rushing to help/panicking about the impending zombie apocalypse, and I was some kind of oddity in that regard. Maybe that's just because that's what happens in the movies.

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Post by reboot on Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:48 pm

AtlachNacha wrote:
Wondering wrote:stopped and could see I was in distress but instead of calling an ambulance, called the cops to report someone on drugs.

Ok, This? This makes me angry. Even if it had been someone with a crack pipe in one hand and a needle in the other ranting about aliens, the correct choice is ambulance, not a group of people who, judging by current events, would be just as likely to beat the person half to death as actually help. The only exception being if they are actually presenting as legitimately dangerous to someone around them. But with no indicator that it's actually drugs, rather than a medical problem? That is bullshit. That guy is made of bullshit. He is bullshit covered bullshit with a creamy bullshit filling. He is some kind of magically animated bullshit-golem, if you rubbed the word 'בולשיט' off of his forehead, he'd slump over and become inert. (okay, that got a bit weird there toward the end...)

.....

That is what I was thinking. Hell, even if someone is looking legit dangerous that does not mean they do not need medical attention. Call 911, describe the scene, and let the dispatcher call an ambulance and the cops.

Sorry that happened to both of you :/
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Post by reboot on Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:51 pm

AtlachNacha wrote:That seems... awful. I'd been of the (apparently mistaken) belief that most people who collapse without warning in public immediately get people rushing to help/panicking about the impending zombie apocalypse, and I was some kind of oddity in that regard. Maybe that's just because that's what happens in the movies.

Yeah, people usually do not notice or do not want to get involved or do not know what to do and say nothing. Occasionally someone will ask if the person is OK, but it is not especially common. However, once someone does ask, the floodgates open, and others will assist. It is weird.
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Post by eselle28 on Fri Feb 20, 2015 5:00 pm

AtlachNacha wrote:That seems... awful. I'd been of the (apparently mistaken) belief that most people who collapse without warning in public immediately get people rushing to help/panicking about the impending zombie apocalypse, and I was some kind of oddity in that regard. Maybe that's just because that's what happens in the movies.

I have vasovagal syndrome, which is basically defined as "occasionally faints for no very predictable reason," and I've found it to be a pretty mixed bag. When I passed out on the subway, several people gave up their seats so I could have somewhere to rest and everyone seemed quite concerned. When I passed out on the street, I woke up to people staring at me awkwardly and a nasty muttered comment about women drinking too much. For context, I'm about 5'6" and generally regarded as non-threatening - the most typical reaction to me in public when I'm conscious is asking me for directions, because I apparently look like I know where I'm going.

I'm really sorry you've both had such awful experiences, Wondering and AtlachNacha.
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Post by Wondering on Fri Feb 20, 2015 5:16 pm

To be fair, the ambulance did come, so either the cops called them or the dispatcher did, but it wasn't that guy asking for them. These cops, at least, seemed to know that "on drugs" while driving often really means "medical condition."

And it all ended okay for me. I stumbled to my neighbor's door and rang the bell and apologized for taking out their mailbox while I was low. He asked if I was okay. Then he wanted to know who that guy was at the end of his driveway on the phone, and I said that I didn't know, but he was calling the cops. My neighbor made me sit down on the front step (I was weaving) and wait there with him until the cops showed up so he could tell the cops there was no problem. And a few weeks later, I paid for their new mailbox. But enough about me!

I will say, that in most situations, eventually someone does come and at least help me into a sitting position, like eventually someone helped you up, AtlachNacha. But it's always after quite a while of other people not helping.

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Post by Guest on Fri Feb 20, 2015 5:36 pm

Wondering wrote:AtlachNacha, people not helping you when you're having a debilitating medical incident is not going to be due to you being threatening in most cases. It's going to be because people are uncomfortable and uncertain and scared and don't know what to do themselves, so they avoid.


reboot wrote:
Yeah, people usually do not notice or do not want to get involved or do not know what to do and say nothing. Occasionally someone will ask if the person is OK, but it is not especially common. However, once someone does ask, the floodgates open, and others will assist. It is weird.

And also some people just don't know what to do.

If I remember anything from 9th grade CPR training it's that you're not supposed to touch the person who's been debilitated under any circumstance unless you're an EMT. Instead ask if they're okay and give the person their space, because if they can help themselves they can. Unfortunately, Atlach, that was not the case with you and you have my sympathies, however Wondering and Reboot make an excellent point of it probably not being personal.

One more thing, unfortunately, there have been Good Samaritans that were on the nasty end of a lawsuit after helping someone on the street. Frivolous lawsuits being filed against Good Samaritans (kinda how burglars file lawsuits against the people they were robbing if they get hurt on the property), is all kinds of fucked up, obviously; so maybe that's another reason why people don't help sometimes.

All in all, I'm glad to hear you're doin' all right, Atlach.

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Post by Wondering on Fri Feb 20, 2015 6:00 pm

The Mikey wrote:If I remember anything from 9th grade CPR training it's that you're not supposed to touch the person who's been debilitated under any circumstance unless you're an EMT. Instead ask if they're okay and give the person their space, because if they can help themselves they can. Unfortunately, Atlach, that was not the case with you and you have my sympathies, however Wondering and Reboot make an excellent point of it probably not being personal.

One more thing, unfortunately, there have been Good Samaritans that were on the nasty end of a lawsuit after helping someone on the street. Frivolous lawsuits being filed against Good Samaritans (kinda how burglars file lawsuits against the people they were robbing if they get hurt on the property), is all kinds of fucked up, obviously; so maybe that's another reason why people don't help sometimes.

None of that stops people from calling 911, though. Mall security in Atlach's case should have called the mall medical team, or 911 if there was no medical team.

I believe that my state has a Good Samaritan protection law so that you're not allowed to sue someone who helps you in a way that doesn't exceed their ability. Like, they can't do surgery on you if they're not a surgeon, but they can help you up.

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