Saturday, February 15, 2014

on dwelling, social anxiety, and looking in

There are moments in life that I dwell on and replay in my mind.  In some cases, it is truly about the moment itself.  In these cases, I am often left wondering how a different response on my part might have led to a different result whether that's a momentary difference or a life-altering one.  In other cases, it isn't really about the moment itself but about what it represents in my mind.  These are moments that stand for a bigger pattern or bigger issue and for one reason or another my mind has chosen that moment to represent the larger whole.

One such moment occurred when word traveled back to one of the hosts that I was upset over not being invited to a gathering.  The gathering has several hosts and I considered a couple of them friends.  The others weren't friends, but I kinda assumed there was a shared neutrality...not friends, not people I'd avoid.  A member of the former group stopped me and said he heard I'd been hurt.  He blamed the lack of an invitation on the belief that inviting me meant inviting another person and said the "neutral" folks didn't want to invite her.  He extended an invite and apologized on behalf of the two I considered friends for the hurt.

I didn't believe it for a moment and didn't go.  Life proved me right and it was me, not the other gal, who wasn't wanted (she didn't say it, but I am certain she received the same talk but with a change in parties and it became clear in time she was very much wanted).  I can't say how the conversation had truly gone down and whether I was wrong about the "friends" or it was just the "neutrals" who didn't want me to attend.  

I have often said that people don't have to like me.  That's true.  But the moment above is partly a dwelling point because I am often on the outside looking in and I can't say I don't get caught up wondering what it is that leaves me there.  The moment also left me with the familiar question of whether or not the people I deemed friends also preferred I leave them alone.  That one bothers me a lot.  It leaves me in the rather pathetic position of needing reassurance that I'm wanted....which I know doesn't help my popularity.  I've pulled away from relationships because of that fear.  

I know I have some social tics.  I didn't learn certain social traits early and then (and I hope this sentence makes sense outside my head) not knowing them kept me from learning them later.  I was a dedicated student and I did well but it took a LOT of work and that took time.  I never felt I fit in because I felt like I wasn't up to the caliber of my classmates, yet I know I gave off an aura of thinking highly of my academic self.  I somehow missed being in the social group of my honors classmates and I really never met anyone else.  This all adds up to missing some vital social growth.  

Sometimes it feels like I'm on the outside before I even have a chance to be socially awkward.  When I do get a moment, I do see some repeat "issues" and yet haven't learned the fix.  I am apt to respond to a story with a story of my own and I'm not sure that's always wise but I'm also not sure what else to do.  I have trouble extending social invitations because I worry about pressuring someone into my company and I am aware that not asking makes me less likely to be asked.  While I fear it sounds like a major cop-out, the continuous health problems don't help matters...until I am quite comfortable with someone, socializing takes energy I don't always have.  I talk about health too much...I learned to hide the physical pain for work purposes, but I couldn't keep it up after hours.  

The moment I opened with popped in my mind today and I felt a need to "blog it out."  I'm not sure I did so successfully, I don't know that there's much clarity in these ramblings.  While writing about an emotionally charged subject, like reliving certain moments, isn't fun, I believe doing so helps me process.  Maybe one day it'll lead to some more clarity, either in a light-bulb moment or in a gradual parting of the clouds.  I'm not looking to get reassurance or pity or anything of the sort.  However, as with blogging honestly about pain and certain demons, I'll hit "Publish" in part because I hope one person will stumble upon these words and feel at least the smallest bit of reassurance that they aren't alone in the world and that they aren't the only one wondering how they always end up looking in.  

I won't re-read this, which is totally selfish because sometimes immediate editing also means a bit of sad dwelling, so I apologize if it is hard to follow or if typos abound.  And if anyone happens to recognize the opening moment, please know that while I dwell on it, I don't hold any anger about is a tangible moment that taps into many intangible ones and dwelling on the moment isn't really about dwelling on the moment at all.  

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