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.