(Dear reader, you must understand that I tend to type my thoughts and emotions out way better than I can speak, which is why outwardly I may look OK sometimes – my face often betrays my true feelings – but once on paper or blank page I can organize my thoughts better and pen them out with ease. I am sorry if this is not plainly obvious; talking about my problems has never been my strong suit. And I hope by identifying my own flaws, I can make the first step to close the rift which has now become uncomfortably wide.)
Things aren’t looking as bright as they ought to be.
I’ve just turned 22, the event which I am helping to plan is just around the corner, and I’ve made more friends than I could ever have imagined in all my years of life. I had thought that at least I would be happier, more fulfilled in what I am doing and with whom I am interacting. For awhile, this ideal was in place.
Then the rosy tint started fading. Deadlines come in hard and fast (eh eh cactus?), and I have been getting by on little sleep, something that was inconceivable even in the army. My studies are slipping far behind quickly, and my parents are beginning to question more vehemently my increasing absence from home up till the wee hours (and they know I have 8.30am classes the very next day). I have been getting major lethargic spells, and my colds have become more severe.
They are of course not unique symptoms of people who are doing what I do, and these issues will hopefully quickly dispel once December rolls around. What I have mentioned, however, are just minor compared to what I fear I may have, something which I, and any sane human being, dread: social isolation.
If anyone has known me long enough, they would understand that I am an introvert to the core. Human interaction has, for a major part of my life, been one of the other party making the first move. As such, my circle of friends in my first 2 decades has been very small – not that it’s a problem anyways – something that I nevertheless wanted to try breaking out of in Poly.
Joining Freshman Orientation 10/11 as a facilitator was an eye-opener for me. It introduced me to a great many new people (sadly most I have ceased talking to), and showed me the way forward in making friends, however fleeting. However, the experience came a little too late, and so I graduated from SP a relative recluse, leaving me determined to revive this joyous feeling in uni.
I am one who is acutely aware of my flaws; as a result, I take any form of criticism of me very gravely…and then bottle them up and leave to fester. While I am not quick to anger – outbursts from me are extremely rare (and as such very, very explosive) – it is all too easy for me to break down if that is really one’s intent. I cry easily too (yes, sue me), which makes me a sort of weird rarity, and when I say “weird” I mean “what the hell is up with that guy?”.
Also, because of my interovertedness, I honestly do not have the energy to interact with other people for long. Once my battery is drained, I usually would slink to a corner to have some time to myself – to reflect, contemplate, and get some form of serendipity in a bustling world (a reason why I LOVE classical music. It’s the perfect refuge for the mind, and I can stay there for hours).
Joining City Venture is one of the proudest moments of my life, seriously. The me from 4 years ago would be hopping with envy over how I managed to get into the SRC (Student Representative Council) at all. My hope was to be able to do something fulfilling for once, and to widen my circle of friends. To these ends, they have been largely achieved, albeit with a massive hiccup which is recurring frighteningly quickly.
That hiccup? Being left out by the very people I ought to be close to.
I do not think that this is inconspicuous, in that I have raised this issue just a couple weeks before. The problem was band-aided over, and things seemed to improve momentarily. But band-aids only cover the problem, not eliminate it, and now the wound has re-opened at an alarming rate.
I often find myself being left out of conversations which I usually cannot get anyways (internal gossip can be such a bitch to fathom), and me poking in is perhaps the most unusual and awkward thing I can imagine at the moment, which is why I prefer not to butt in and let them hold their bubble intact while I am “content” in my own. There are a few who know my problem now, but to the true extent of it I think they are all unaware.
If I must give an indication about how bad it is now…sometimes I think about whether people would notice at all if I disappeared completely, like a hamster scurrying from an open cage into the darkness of the night, never to be seen again. Yes, I am afraid I overthink. My brain is on perpetual overdrive on such matters. But if I am going to such frightening scenarios to find answers, then there is indeed something truly wrong.
There is merely perceived closeness between me and the others; like a gloss, superficiality reigns supreme. I rarely feel any form of deeper connection which would tighten bonds, like two ends of a bridge being held together with string and paper. The last thing I want is for that to break, losing this connection forever, especially after the event ends, where there will be no regular meetings, no objective to strive towards to hold us together. It’s a sad thing to be a stranger in your own committee, but that is what I am feeling now.
I want to connect, but I cannot find any common ground between myself and you.
Call me an emo, but that’s how it is right now. I couldn’t feel any shittier, even if I wanted to.
To me, this is a two-way street, though I am doing a crap job at doing my part. There is more to just saying something to someone or a group, it is whether they really want my input as well. As of right now, everyone seems just fine without me. There is a hollowness, a transparency to my presence which makes me feel out of place or worse, unnecessary.
There is no obligation to speak to me, but at least give me the assurance that I am worth speaking to. While I may be as interesting as dried paint, and lack any sort of real vibrancy and charisma (all of which I can and will work upon – or am I overthinking this shit again), even a stiff wooden board like me has feelings.
Connections cannot be forced for the sake of it. If I am a horrible/horribly boring person, please tell me and not leave to gossip. Teach me how to fix myself in these regards, as I am as good at keeping friends as a snail is at winning drag races. My tastes differ from the norm massively (classical music, punk rock, the Universe, general knowledge and British comedy are my interests, so I guess that makes things even harder), and I far prefer deep conversations to gossip.
Perhaps this is the true reason why I keep so few friends over the years.
Writing all this out is a way for me to vent my frustration and fears, but even this has its limits. Sometimes I feel that I would hold in so much that I might just collapse into an amalgam of rage and sorrow. I only hope that it can reach out and help people at least grasp a little of my mind, and what it holds inside, since I am so quiet and strange in real life.
In time to come, I hope to be able say that we are still close friends. In time to come, it is not the success of this event that would make the difference.
It is the hope that we can be as we are in old age as we are now that keeps me enlivened. The last thing I ever want is to fade into obscurity, because then there is no longer any meaning in life if to everyone else I am merely a stranger. No amount of money or status can change that fact.
Till next time, and to happier times.