Every time I attend a conference or some other event, it seemed like those Ms. Friendship/Friendliest awards tend to gravitate towards me. I don't know why or how. They just do. Well, not hesitating to be the first to strike up a conversation kind of gives people the impression that I'm a social butterfly, I guess, and there was a time that I had the same impression about myself.
That time is long gone, I believe.
Something must have happened between that point and now to make me the kind of person that I am now. I'm by no means a recluse, just so we're clear, but I can feel that something changed. It's like something switched inside me and I don't know how to switch it back on. Do I even want to?
These days, I find that I'm starting to grow fond of keeping to myself. Of course, I still make time to hangout with my friends or things like but, confession time, I don't really feel into it as much as I used to. Hanging out after class? Well, I go occasionally but it all feels superficial to me. I wonder what happened to the bonds we were able to form for the past few years of college. When I'm with other people, I'm no longer as talkative or animated, I tend to space out a lot, I tune a lot of things out as well. I'm not proud of that fact but it's like my mind starts to wander and once it does, I find it hard to reel it back into the here and now. This is why I like reading and writing so much. I give my mind free rein to do whatever it pleases, to satisfy its need to escape the tedium of every day life. And there it goes again!
<Going back to my rant of the night...>
So, yeah. I've become socially inept! Sure, I can still start up a convo, make a little small talk... but that's about the extent of my social skills nowadays. I seem to have lost my ability to connect with other people and I don't know where or how to start looking.
Maybe it's the stress, or maybe I just don't have the energy it takes to, like, actively listen to other people or exert more effort in spending more time with them. It's a vicious cycle. Not making an effort means being excluded form inside jokes, it means being on the outside looking in. This hurts because I knew that at one point I was there on the inside with them. But what kills me is the knowledge that the problem is with me. Playing the blame game would be easy, because no matter how I look at it, the fingers always point to me. It would be so easy to put the blame on someone else but I can't. Nobody pushed me out... I PULLED AWAY. I was the one who extricated myself from the equation. And now, hard as I might to get back in, I've lost my place and I don't know where I fit in anymore. Left out of the loop, not being in on the inside jokes... it's alienating. The worst part is that I brought this all on to myself.
Someone really close to me once told me that I have a tendency to cling to my friends and that I should learn to give people space every once in a while. She had no idea how spot on she was. And I love her for that. She saw through my bullshit didn't cut me slack over it... and I am so grateful to her for making me realize that (she's one of my closest friends until now).
I did just that. But it didn't work out the way I wanted to. How much space is enough space. I think I went a bit overboard with this one. I pulled away too much I guess.
Another confession: I hate the insecurity that I now feel with other people around. Color me paranoid but I feel like wherever I go, judging eyes follow me. It makes me uncomfortable in both thinking that the people I'm with are judging me and, at the same time, not knowing about what other people are ACTUALLY thinking. I tend to make things about me a often... but not in a good way. My default train of thought is that people are always thinking awful stuff about me. I don't know if that's a sign of insecurity or some subconscious guilt trying to manifest itself. And that's another thing! Guilt of what? I have no idea.
I guess that's the reason why I find the most comfort in the company of my self and my books. No judgments. No bullshit. Just me immersing myself in a fictional character's own angst-filled life more angsty than my own. It's my escape.
Even so, it makes me sad to think that I need to escape at all.
Why can't I just be as I was? Things would be so much easier that way.
I need help, but who do I turn to? It's like everybody has moved on from me and I'm still stuck (there's that word again) where I was when I started pulling away. Now, I don't know how to catch up with the rest of them without making me feel more sorry for myself.