I had gotten into this kind of a thing where I had to justify everything I did. “Well, I did that because of this.” I would say to myself, “And I did that other thing that I did because of the other thing.” This became very time-consuming, and annoying too into the bargain. It got so that I was forever muttering under my breath, muttering about this and muttering about that. Preoccupied. Self-obsessed. Eaten up on the inside…

The whole ‘self-justification’ thing had really worked its way deep into my thinking – I found myself lying awake in bed at night when all decent folks ought to be asleep going over stuff that I had done in the past, or not done, as the case may be. Recycling events. “Aaah well I had to do that you see,” I would say to myself, “because of the thing”. Or if it was something that I had neglected to do, “Well, I couldn’t do it because of this other thing…”

It was as if my mind had turned into a mechanism for self-justification – a fully-automated mechanism that worked away all day and all night. I was feeling positively ill with all this. Drained and nauseous. Pale and unhealthy looking. Feeling kind of anxious too in case there was something that I had over-looked in all my ceaseless systematic self-reviewing. Something I had forgotten about and which – consequently – I had not excused myself for.

Socially I was a mess. If anyone so much as looked at me I felt that they were accusing me of something. I could see that look in their eyes, the kind of look that told me they knew. I didn’t know what exactly they knew, but whatever it was it made me very uncomfortable. It was definitely something bad. Often I could swear that I felt peoples’ accusing stares burning into my back and when I’d turn around they would very quickly look away, pretending that they hadn’t been looking at me. To say that I was paranoid would have been understating the matter. I was a mess.

I was conscious of looking weird. I was all jittery and jumpy and kind of spooked and shifty-looking and to make matters worse I was going around talking to myself, walking up and down arguing the point, looking for all the world as if I was having a conversation with myself, pleading my case as if I was in the Crown Court or something.

I knew I looked odd and I couldn’t handle the thought that people were looking at me and thinking that I was a freak. Thinking that they were thinking this made me all the more self-conscious – it had got to the stage where I could hardly bear it anymore. I wanted to tell people that it wasn’t my fault. I wanted to explain that I couldn’t help it, that I was behaving in a weird way because of this thing that was going on for me. This self-justification thing.

I wanted to point out that they would be just the same as me if they were me and if they were going through what I was going through. I wanted to explain to them that there was a reason for it, that there was a perfectly straightforward explanation for me looking so freakishly bizarre…


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