Bear with me people, I wrote this next post right before falling asleep a few nights ago. Decided not to post it out of fear that it sounded too self-loathing. After editing it, I realize it is still self-loathing. Deal with it.
At the risk of getting all existential right before bed, I can’t help but pose the question that’s been on my mind the last few days: When/how did I become this person I am now?
Allow me to elaborate:
In high school I was a little bit of everything. I was smart – getting A’s in all of my classes. I took calculus in 10th grade for Christ’s sake. By today’s standards, you’d think that qualified me for four years of ostracism, but despite my good grades (and my pride that came with them), people liked me. For starters, I had a best friend, the same best friend from the start of middle school all through high school (and some of college). In high school, we did everything together, and in the rare times when we weren’t there to delight in each other’s success or grieve in each other’s defeat, we told each other everything. From there, I had a small group of friends to fill my weekends with activity and adventure. And then I had what I could only refer to as “marginal” friends. Sounds harsh, but really, what I mean is that aside from my group of close-knit friends, I had various other people whom I talked to in/before/after class. I was close enough to befriend each of them on Facebook, but only a select few did I see on the weekends. It was a mutual and unspoken understanding. My weekends were booked up weeks in advance, and although this probably was not a reality, I felt popular, surrounded by love. Sure I wasn’t a cheerleader or beauty queen, but people enjoyed talking to me, laughed at my jokes, appreciated my company.
Point is, I talked to everyone. I was highly intelligent. I bore the gift of creative talents, such as painting and writing. I was a walking smorgasbord.
And if I could, I would love to pinpoint the exact moment when all of that changed. Instead of going out every weekend (and weeknight, for that matter), I’ve recently been couch-bound on the computer or in front of the television every night. When instead of getting text messages or phone calls out of the blue, I now sit by my phone pathetically awaiting hours-overdue text message responses. When my inbox remains empty, I wonder what I did wrong. Whereas I once was “popular” I am now unnoticed and paranoid.
Until recently, I was under the false impression that social interaction was supposed to get progressively more bearable as you got older. Sure, as an adult you worry about careers and money and taxes, so life itself isn’t “easier,” but in the midst of all that chaos, I thought, one needn’t worry about asinine drama and foolish text message misunderstandings. I thought high school was the time in one’s life set aside for angst and feeling left out or misunderstood. But now, as a 21 year old with a squeaky-clean social track record, I feel as though my prime has passed. This cycle is working in reverse for me.
When in the hell did this happen? When did I become a “friend” (notice the quotes), someone that people sacrifice in the name of fun? When people have to cut down the guest list, or have a choice of inviting me or someone else, why am I suddenly the person to get cut out of the equation, if I’m even lucky to be considered in the first place? Most days I feel restless, like there’s something I should be doing but can’t. I walk around a mall and instead of getting shopping fever, I mourn the loss of my former life as a somebody.
I know that college had something to do with it. We all dispersed, creating our own place in a new world. Coming back home after that is hard. But it seems as though everyone else pretty much stayed in touch, kept things as they were, minus me. I’m sure that’s partially my fault; I’m sure I left a few texts unanswered myself, a few parties ignored. But can it really all be my fault? Doubtful. It’s one thing when the aforementioned “marginals” – people whom I can easily convince myself I don’t care about – exclude me from this world, but to have some of my oldest and closest friends – people I thought I could count on – cast me aside is a feeling too painful to ignore.
I should be happy with my life, and I suppose some days I am. I have an increasingly close relationship with my family, a boyfriend who – for some crazy reason – loves me and is not afraid to show it, and I just recently found out that my internship seems to be turning out a job for me when I graduate. Then why can’t I have it all? When did everyone decide I wasn’t good enough for them?