Sunday, January 23, 2011
I want to hide in a corner and disappear....parties are not for me.
I've never been good at making friends. Never. In my life. I've never found it easy to meet people. When you meet people, they ask the usual questions. What do you do??? Where do you go to school??? Have any kids???
I have no husband, no significant other of any kind, no kids, no full-time job, no career, no Bachelor's Degree, or Master's or PhD. And this bothers me.
"I have a part time job and I go to school part time and I'm 35 but I just got my AA degree last month, because I suffer from a serious mental illness that has greatly impeded my success in life, and I also have chronic illnesses that affect me in many negative ways".
I could say that. Obviously, I wouldn't say that. That would chase people away faster than if I sneezed in their face.
I know I am not supposed to compare myself. But there is one thing that has always mattered to me. College. Academics. I grew up believing I would go to graduate school. I grew up knowing I would go to some school, a difficult, good school. And I went to a community college instead.
During my 1990's years at the community college, I met an awesome professor who has since become a friend. He and his wife are very kind to me, and he has been my email pal now since 1997. He has even fixed my car for me and given me automobile mechanics advice. He has been unbelievably understanding about my illness, when NOBODY else I was friends with ever was. I have talked to him a million times about things because I had a need to trust somebody, and I trusted him because he was trustworthy. He always has treated me with respect, and encouraged me to keep going with school, and told me I'm intelligent and I write well. I would have given up on college a long time ago if it were not for this professor.
So tonight, there was a party at this professor's house. He got a Fulbright Scholarship and they wanted to celebrate that, and I was invited. I am not comfortable meeting socially with people who I feel are "better" than me. I am really not comfortable in groups of people who all know each other and where I am the odd one who knows only the hosts. I really did not want to go to this party. I dreaded it. I was worried about what I would wear, what I would say. I was thinking so many negative messages, "I'm fat, I'm ugly, I'm stupid, I'm uneducated, they will think I'm weird, they won't like me, they won't want to talk to a student, and I will feel like a freak". And I pretty much did feel like a freak. But I went, anyway. I stayed for about an hour and a half, until I could take my anxiety no longer and I left quickly. While I was there, I was standing and staring at people who were talking to each other. I was marveling at the ease with which they simply conversed with one another. I was marveling at how relaxed they seemed, in their own skin. I was marveling at how these bright, highly educated people were in the same room with me, and I wasn't being asked to leave.
I stood, staring at people, and I tried to join conversations, humbly mumbling a word or two to act as if I was a participant. It was an incredibly awkward and painful experience that really highlighted my severe deficit in the social skills arena. One of the people there was a former professor of mine, and I felt so weird standing next to him thinking he wouldn't want to talk to me or even want me there, at a social event for his colleagues, so I said not a word to the man, and this made it very obvious that I am abnormal.
The one highlight of the party was that my professor's wife spoke with me. She just became a therapist and she knows about my illness. She took the time to sit with me on a couch and chat a bit, because I think she could tell how nervous I was and how I felt so out of place. My former professor friend also gave me a hug and said congratulations about my graduation last month. They made me feel better, a little bit, but I still couldn't bare the whole situation. So I left.
I wish I liked myself more. I wish I didn't feel like a total failure. I wish I didn't feel so overwhelmed by life. I wish I could keep my apartment clean, keep my dishes done, and manage my schoolwork, my job, and a social life. I am not managing well right now. I am a person who doesn't function like normal people function and this fact is etched into my skin. I don't know how to live like normal people live. I know, we're not supposed to use the word "normal". But this is how I feel. I am not normal. I never was. I never will be.
I'm tired of it.
I'm tired of being alone all the time because alone is the only way I know how to be. My therapist claims that this is because I am intelligent and "gifted people" have a hard time socializing with others. I know that's not correct because, as has been made painstakingly obvious tonight, I can't make friends with intelligent people either.
Of course it's elitist to think you need a college degree to be an okay person. I just want to feel like my life has meaning; like I have accomplished something; like I'm not a failure. I feel so much like a failure. And it really hurts.