I've always felt different. For one, I like being alone. I'm content to never talk to anyone and just sit by myself in a room, staring at the wall. I have enough in my head to keep me occupied through a stint in solitary and then some (haven't we all thought about that?). When I socialize, I need to lock myself in my bedroom and crawl into a Netflix hole for at least a month.
For most of my high school experience, I sat outside during lunch and hid on the basketball court rather than bother with the social politics of finding a place to sit. I stuck to boys and eventually dated them and hung with their friends, skating along without really ever needing to be sociable on my own. My social life depended very much on my sex life, and oddly enough, not much has changed, as I run a sex advice event in a Facebook group (although now I actually kind of have a social life).
I still have times where I hate myself more than anyone else could ever hate me. I've been cruel to myself. I've told myself the most horrible things for what my silent whispers said was safety. It's not worth trying because I didn't want to give people a reason not to like me. Putting yourself out there socially means picking up the gun, loading it and handing it off to someone else, hoping they aren't going to fire it at you. Having someone tell you all the things you already know about yourself and believe to be true, having them laugh at you and knowing that you are the one who subjected yourself to it-- it's masochistic, and so eventually I just resigned myself to being weird and lonely and safe.
But the loneliness started to wear on me, and so I threw myself into a group of women online. As I started to get "likes" on my comments, I smiled and realized that I could be funny sometimes. I posted pictures and I got compliments. I got the external validation that my soul was craving, but knowing I could always leave at any time made it easier to put myself out there. I started making a lot of new friends and eventually found myself in a position of having a lot of attention. I'm hugely grateful and so incredibly happy to have people who rally and support me, but I'm uncomfortable and awkward and anxious, because I know all the things I stand to lose. I'm still the girl who is holding my breath, waiting for someone to tell me I'm nothing. I don't know how to stop being that girl, close my eyes and leap. I'm hoping talking about this stuff gets me off the edge of this cliff.
Something incredible happened in this group. I found my people. I found the people in my life who got the things I said. I had an experience of "radical genuineness", which is the highest level of validation a person can feel. This is when you find other people who feel exactly how you do and you discuss it openly as equals. I found myself. And it was amazing.
So, I have a lot of Facebook friends now, and I run an event and I have a big mouth online, but I'm still incredibly insecure. And I feel like it's my job to put that out there, not for the people who don't understand (which will be most of you guys), but for the people who DO.
Lots of people have social anxieties and hell no we don't talk about them. But let's, shall we?
Hiya there. If you're a weirdo, if you're lonely, if you're sad, if you have troubles that are heavy, if your mind is ready to spill and you need someone to vent to-- you can always sit at my table. Even if that means that we hide by the basketball courts together. I'm always here because we all need someone who gets it.
And if you're in the group who don't understand this particular example, I hope you do find some people who you are able to experience radical genuineness with. Nothing comes close to that rush of finding people who understand you.