It’s been very apparent to me, since the age my awareness of myself developed enough that I could form a better understanding of the world, that I don’t belong here.
I’m positive there’s another universe or galaxy or planet out there waiting for me to return.
I’m sure many introverts feel this.
The thing about having Social Anxiety disorder, in which I often want to engage with people but 1) don’t know how, 2) am usually thwarted by anxiety flooding my brain and hindering my usual witty comebacks and original ideas, and being an introvert in which I appreciate time by myself or with one or two other people and prefer to be away from most people, even the ones who I adore, is that neither of them are accepted or understood by other people.
I’m not the girl with social anxiety or the introvert, I’m the weirdo.
I’m the quiet weirdo.
I’m the quiet weirdo you should most likely ignore because, hey, you don’t talk anyway.
I’m the quiet weirdo you should most likely ignore and you should talk about after I leave whatever establishment I’ve accompanied you in.
I get it; I do. I’ve been in situations around people who have “stranger” behavior than myself and your first instinct is judge. We’re only human, after all.
However, I’ve noticed most of my mental pain caused by large social situations is never directed at myself intentionally. I call myself an idiot for not being able to be like them, I cuss myself out in my head, I cry for about two or three hours after I get home, but the reality of the situation is that I’m angry who I am isn’t someone people can easily accept.
My idea of fun is writing a short story or taking my camera out for the some one on one time with nature. My idea of fun is sitting right here at this computer in this room, contemplating whatever thought drills itself into my skull. That’s my idea of fun and it doesn’t seem to be anyone else’s.
It’s not that I crave acceptance from everyone, because that’s a fairy tale lie. Id’ just like to, for once, sit in a room of people and feel welcomed. I’ve been the outcast my whole life and I can’t figure out if it’s my fault or everyone else’s.
It’s probably a little of both: their lack of understanding, my lack of social skills. That’s just a north pole and a north pole running towards each other.
I try my hardest in every situation I’m thrown into. I always go in with anxiety and I always try and make the best of it, no matter what my brain tells me–and people can’t see that. They take my silence as rudeness or idiocy and return the favor accordingly. But every moment I’m around someone, I’m trying hard. I have my few successes and I have my many failures.
Everything is a learning experience, I know this. I know that I get ridiculously emotional after any day where I’ve spent the majority of it in social situations and I ride that emotion because I know it’s healthy. I used to fight it because, shit, who likes feeling like a failure? But that only led to self-harm.
Now I cry and I let the wave of depression pass, the wave of feeling hopeless, and I let the little assholes in my head replay all the stupid things I did that night and I sit back and wait for it to stop because eventually it does stop. And when it does, I get a chance to see things clearly. I get a chance to breathe and tell myself I’m probably overreacting to a lot of things.
That’s the majority of my problem–overreacting. If you sit me in a room of people I’m never worried about them staring at me (unless I’m in a classroom), I’m only ever obsessed with whether or not they’re talking about me in their heads or talking about me in their whispers.
I take that back–it’s not a “Whether or not” type of situation, I’m 100% positive people talk about me when I leave or talk about me while I’m in their company, or think about me when I’m in their company, and I’m 100% positive it’s about how odd I am. I’ve heard my name whispered in countless situations and I hear people whispering and I know I’m being talked about. It’s not like I base these assumptions purely on my brain.
I see the expressions on their face plan as day. I see the awkwardness in their eyes and I see them look me up and down and I see them stare blankly when they say something and I don’t know what to say back because my conversation skills are often at the level of a one year old. It’s not that I don’t have things to say, it’s that I have no idea what’s appropriate to say where. I don’t know how to continue conversations and I don’t know how to start conversations. If you meet me in person you’ll notice that I jump around from subject to subject because those are the way thoughts run in my brain.
I put myself in situations that push me to my limit so I can hopefully, one day, get comfortable enough that I’m not up at one in the morning writing like this.
But I’m never going to change who I am. I love who I am. I love my hobbies, I love my likes and my goals and my personality.
I’m never going to be the person to get close to people. I’m not going to be the one to have six or seven close friends. I’m not going to be the one able to entertain a whole room. That’s just not me.
For most things, it’s not a matter of “getting used to it”. That kind of thing applies to speaking in class. It applies to giving presentations and running experiments. It applies to asking questions when I need answers or forming friendly relationships with people in the workplace or school.
I’m not going to be the one who enjoys parties or mobs of people or socialization. I literally don’t enjoy it. 98% of the time.
Every once in a while I need some company, but that usually includes one or two people at the most. Any more than that and the anxiety and paranoia kicks in and I’m convinced everyone hates me, is ready to get rid of me, are talking shit about me and laughing about me in their head. I’m studying their expressions and their eyes and their tone of voice and I believe it accurate in the moment and I shrink into my shell because of all the hatred and disgust. The worst part is I can’t trust my eyes or my ears.
Even the people closest to me, who hear my mouth every day and laugh at my jokes and enjoy my company have no idea that I couldn’t tell them my true feelings if I tried. I can’t have conversation freely with even them. And I don’t have an explanation for why.
So I like being with myself. I know myself. I can talk to myself and listen to myself and know that I’m being truthful. I can retreat in the world in my head without worrying about someone snapping their fingers in my face asking if I spaced out.
My biggest fear? That all of this will ruin my relationship. I’m never going to be like everyone else and talkative and “fun” and bouncy and bubbly, and I’m never going to like to have a “girl’s night out” or whatever the fuck people say women do (trip to the salon, mani, pedi, whatever; all that shit, I hate it), I’m never going to look at my eventual coworkers as more than coworkers, and I’m never going to have a problem with any of that. I like myself.
But the real world isn’t built for introverts, it hardly even appreciates us.
It’s their loss.
It’s going to be my loss if all of this fucks up the first real connection I’ve ever had with someone of the opposite sex.
Am I even meant to be in a relationship?
Regardless, I’m an introvert and I have social anxiety and I’m not going to fucking apologize for it. I’d rather be an outcast crying in bed each night than ever pretend to be someone I’m not.