Once upon I time I wrote a blog about lost, broken, and forgotten friendships. I ended with, “Sometimes I miss the friends I don’t have.” Last night I came to a whole other realization on this point. I don’t just miss the friends I don’t have, I miss the friends I thought I had. Reaching the conclusion that a person you considered a friend is only a half-friend is just as hurtful as losing the friendship all together.
Friendship groups can be tricky. You may think that you have a strong bond and that you share so many interests. The group spends days chatting and sharing stories or even just talking trash on whatever may be the hot gossip of the day. But what happens when one friend’s ego cuts through the bond like a freshly tempered sword? This is when the true friendships are tested. Perhaps two people are closer than the third first realized. Maybe Person A felt closer to Person B because Person B is remnant of Person A’s children or family members. Then what happens? Person C becomes a casual acquaintance; a small blip of a friendship through texting or social media, but no longer a real friend. Person A will tell you that he/she is not choosing one friend over the other, but the reality is that we all have preferences. We tend to be more attracted to those who are similar to ourselves, our children, our family members, or other friends we may have in our circle.
So, how do we move on? In today’s age of technology there is no real way to escape situations that cause pain or hurt feelings. We’re constantly reminded of unpleasant circumstances through Facebook posts, Instagram photos or tweets. Sure, we can remove these people from our timelines, but then you face the risk of looking immature. Does that matter? In a way it does. Word of mouth is powerful; it can be used for good or evil. Word of mouth can make a person look like a rock star or bat shit crazy. It all depends on who is saying what to whom. We can confront involved parties, but in my experience you’re usually made out to be a crazy person. An over-reactor. Thinking too much into it.
We come to a point where we just become non-responsive. The conversations become more casual than usual and far and few between. You begin to essentially fade away from people because you feel that no matter what you do, you’re wrong. You’re not good enough. You’re not worthy of friendships.
I’ve been a loner for as long as I can remember. Sometimes that shell just cannot be broken. Perhaps this is just the life I am meant to lead.
When you believe something, when you honestly and truly believe something, it is difficult, if not impossible, to change your mind. These beliefs can be demonic nightmares, torturous to endure. It can be anything: self esteem, self image, faithfulness in a relationship, intelligence, skill ability. Whether you believe you can’t do something, that you’re great at something, or that you are a victim of infidelity, it will be true. Well, at least in your mind. You’ll never be comfortable in any setting, especially social ones. The feeling of not belonging will take over your sanity and you won’t be able to enjoy yourself regardless of the situation. You’ll no longer know the meaning of “fun.” You’ll become an introvert; an avoider; a ghost. People will start to believe that you’re stuck up, unfriendly, a bitch. You’re friends will begin to feel that you’re not longer interested in their friendship or presence. You will slowly become isolated from everything and everyone. You’re life will become so lonely.
So what do you do? How do you fix this state of mind? You can’t. Once your mind truly believes something to be true, it will always be so.
One of the things that holds me back in life is dealing with new, unfamiliar people. I’m not sure if it’s gotten worse as I’ve grown older, but I’ve been this way since I was a young girl. I remember dreading the new school year at the end of each summer. Who would be in my class? Would I have at least one friend? Would that friend still want to be friends? Growing up very poor left me without the means to be a “cool kid” so I had to rely on being friendly to my classmates to fit in. Not an easy feat for someone who has a social anxiety.
As an adult, I still deal with social anxieties. Those who know me probably find that hard to believe because of my outrageous personality and antics while teaching my Zumba classes, but I promise it’s true. Each time I step in front of a class that’s not my own, I have to fight the urge to run. My stomach starts churning and fluttering. My chest starts to tighten. My mood starts to falter. I wonder how I’ll even get through the class. Will they like me? How many people will walk out? Will they judge me based on my appearance? So far my nerves haven’t got the best of me. But believe me, they’re always lurking behind my smile.
These anti-newbie emotions reach into every facet of my life. In college, I have to sit in the back row of every class because I fear all eyes will be on me. Online course are a God send to me. Unfortunately, not every class is available online so I must brave being on campus. Each day I survive is a small victory. When I go out to eat, I request booths because I feel the enclosures will conceal me. Being seated at a table makes me feel exposed and uneasy. Are people watching me? The answer is probably not, but I still can’t shake the feeling. I’m not a fan of bars or clubs either. How can I stay hidden in those kind of places? I can’t. Trying to relax while sitting on bar stools or standing around the edges of a dance floor is almost a painful event. When I go out, I can’t wait until it’s time to go home. My friends don’t know that I suffer from social anxieties. Well, until now anyway. When they ask me to go out for a night and I say “no,” they most likely believe I just don’t want to spend time with them. So far from the truth. I love the people in my life and cherish the ones I call “friend.” I just can’t bear to be around large groups of people that I don’t know. Sad isn’t it?
I wish I didn’t have this issue. I wish I could go out and enjoy life without worrying about who’s watching me or who’s judging me. I wish little things didn’t have such an adverse effect on my life. I wish I could just….be free.