I hate that: when a social situation you anticipated doesn’t go the way you planned. I hated seeing M, our teacher (meta-teacher, really) sitting there, coat still on, eyes roaming to the football on tv, barely talking, only there because it was “work.” I mean it’s nice that he came out at all as a friendly gesture, but I hate feigned affection, anything that isn’t genuine. I worry enough about how true friends are anyway. I hate it now when social situations feel awkward. Maybe because I was that shy link in the chain for so long, it makes me uncomfortable to see others acting that way; and I often can’t understand why people are still shy as adults since I have changed so much. I’ve felt I had to to function in the adult world. It’s funny how much I’ve changed, and I only notice in moments like this, when I can’t look back clearly.
Tommy told me, years ago now, that I was a little bit quiet when we went out with his friends, and I did always really have to make an effort to try to talk to them. Now there would still be the language barrier, losing me for long stretches of the conversation, but I think my natural inclination would be to be chatty with them, try to find things out, to try to be humorous or fun in any way, since sarcasm never works for me in a second language. Yet, as I’ve been discovering in different ways, again and again, being stripped of the comfort of that normal personality trait can actually make functioning easier. It makes it easier for my instinct to be getting involved rather than on the sidelines. Well I hope so anyway. I think so.
Yet the further I get away from shyness, do I sometimes feel like I’m losing something of myself? Particularly because with my new pseudo-confident, optimistic, at times bubbly self, I still don’t like to show my vulnerabilities to people. So they assume that I don’t need their help and support. But really I’m desperate for it. Any time I have to pretend everything’s fine and calm seas, if I have to put on a fake smile, any discomfort or sadness inside of me bubbles up. I barely make it until I’m alone again before tearing up. The highs and lows all at once, involuntary. I think this is the kind of vulnerability, living right on the surface, that we all try to avoid, but we also want.