28 June 2006

It's Sabotage

But unlike the 70s era cops in the Beastie Boys video, I'm sabotaging myself. It is probably readily apparent to those of you who know me that I've been unhappy for quite a while now. Those of you who read this blog know I'm dissatisfied with my job etc. But that isn't the whole of it. I feel completely stagnant in all areas of life and recently I realized I haven't made a new friend in years. Years people. That is not good. I've been thinking about that a lot in the past few days, about why I'm so loathe to exert myself to make new friends.

Part of the reason is that I'm shy and a born observer. I don't say things unless I think it is important. But I remember enjoying social activities and looking forward to them in a way I can't these days. Cocktail party sort of situations are my own personal version of hell, because I feel I have nothing to say. I don't really know how I went from being the preschooler who told a man at my mother's salon that his smoking of cigars would turn his lungs black and he would die or told the woman at our apartment's pool that she shouldn't wear bikinis because God wanted her to be modest. As I was thinking about how different that child is from the adult who doesn't think she has anything of interest to say to anyone a long-forgotten memory popped up.

In 9th grade my biology teacher arranged a field trip to a local university to see its science department. The trip included a visit to the planetarium right before lunch. Because our teacher treated us like 5 year-olds she arranged us into boy/girl pairs we had to eat with, and because of a coincidental packing of lunches rather than buying lunch at the campus cafeteria, my friend and I were assigned to eat with two of the most popular boys in the class. We were tangentially friends, so it wasn't as socially awkward as it might have been. However, we were talking about the planetarium and constellations when I mentioned that as a little girl, I knew my birthday was coming when Orion arrived on the horizon. One of the boys, I don't remember whom, surely thinking himself clever, flippantly asked why I didn't just look at a calendar. I think I gave a half-hearted smile while the boys laughed, but I do remember completely shutting down for the rest of the meal.

With that memory all the mortification of Jr. High rejection and the sinking feeling of smiling when you want to cry came flooding back. I don't blame those boys. It was Jr. High everyone had their own issues and insecurities to deal with and this isn't the defining moment of my life. I had lots of intervening years in which I participated and enjoyed social activities. Additionally, I alone decide how to live my life. My decision now has to be whether I'll let something that happened 12 years ago dictate who I am today.


aquamarine said...

This is one of the reasons you and I are such good friends. We have similarities in personalities that make us being in a room together, not talking, comfortable and enjoyable. Talking is good, but we had lots of fun just being together listening to Hootie and the Blowfish. Good times. LOL.

My feelings mirror that of your social areana. I just feel the energy to exert myself has more cons than pros. So, I hear ya, sister!

Maybe we can work through this one together. Strength in numbers, you know!

aquamarine said...

okay, so I had to much sun today, and ment, arena....not areana! What ever THAT is.

Scully said...

Ack! Mama Darlin' I just lost a long comment I was going to post. Anyway, summary in bullet points:

-- H&tB takes me back to high school every time I hear it.

-- The social arena IS exhausting because social anxiety turns me into a blithering idiot when faced with small talk. I either can think only of inappropriate comments like what famous person I think they look like or an inside joke they could never possibly understand enough to find funny.

t said...

I also think of which celeb people look like and think of inside jokes. Sometimes I tell not inside jokes and others around me don't get them. I can't think of comebacks fast enough either. But anyway, this social anxiety gets me down too. My husband and I had to leave a family get together because I couldn't take it anymore. At work, people take it as being rude if I don't say 'good morning' or 'hi' to them when I arrive. I just don't like saying 'good morning' since no morning is ever good. And there are just times when I don't want to say hi at all because I don't feel like it. When the office has get togethers after work, I never go. I don't want to hange out with these people outside of work! I spend too much time around them as it is. Anyway, I know what you mean. I hate making new friends too, but if I hadn't, I wouldn't have met my husband so I'm glad I at least made that new friend!
BTW you've got plenty of interesting things to say. Don't worry about the 'celeb lookalike comment' thing; maybe that can be an ice breaker.

aquamarine said...

Yep! Small talk is like cyptonite!

I have been trying the questions method, about them, showing interest in who they are. It is definitely a work in progress because most of the time I feel like it is none of my business. But people in general like to talk about themselves and what they do.

Esperanza said...

Was I with you on this one? Who were the boys? Do remind me... And I also think, it is just the nature of us single olders people to get more shy as we get older, well, I have, but I'm working on climbing my way out of it!