I haven’t really talked about it here yet, but I struggle with a lot of anxiety. Overthinking, too – either a cause or a symptom of said anxiety; I’ve never worked out which. It seems circular. The more anxious I am, the more I analyze situations, which make me more anxious. I haven’t found a great way to shut that down yet, but I’m working on it.
Lately a few happenings have pressed all the wrong buttons in regards to feeling like I’m always the outsider no matter how much I try to stay connected and in the loop. I don’t think people realize how difficult it is for me, how much of an effort it takes to appear as social as I do. I found myself saying to someone yesterday that I’m not really shy – that feels true, I don’t think it’s necessarily shyness as it’s not at all consistent and I can be ridiculously social and outgoing given the right setting. The inconsistency, I think, is what trips me up – people have told me once or twice that they’d never guess I was shy, but that sometimes I seemed aloof toward them in particular. Always entirely unintentional and sometimes hilariously so; the speaker was often someone who intimidated me for one reason or another. Usually I’m the most terrified of people whose opinions mean the most to me. The end result is they never realize this and a valuable connection is lost.
So that’s my own failing. The other is not wanting to bother people, so I rarely initiate contact outside of required/expected/necessary settings. I suppose that’s why I feel distant from most of my classmates, the age thing aside – most of them forget I’m older than they are, anyway. I never want to invite myself where I’m not wanted. The end result is that I’m overlooked, I think, when people do things like get a group of friends together to put on impromptu performances. I think sometimes people make assumptions that I have this busy life outside of school – which, yes, I keep myself busy, but most of that is school. I throw myself into things 100% and sometimes the social aspects fall to the wayside.
It’s the thing that’s missing, I think. The reason people don’t necessarily call me first when they have a project I’d love to work on. They don’t know me, at best they know my work, my capabilities. Maybe that I’m generally responsible and usually nice (though most of these people have heard some of my epic rants) but not necessarily anything that makes me the person they’d like to collaborate with.
Some days I want to scream This isn’t high school! Judge me on my work, not whether or not I’m your bff! Most days I’d rather people didn’t judge me at all, but I’m in the wrong field for that!
It’s something to be aware of and work on. Feeling excluded and slighted gets me nowhere.