When you have no friends, no real social life to speak of, interacting with people is hard…
When you have no friends, no real social life to speak of, interacting with people is hard.
The most banal of enquiries – from your co-worker, your hairdresser, your mother – become fraught with danger.
When someone asks me ‘what did you get up to at the weekend?’, I squirm. When someone asks me ‘what you doing for the holidays?’, I want to run away and hide.
It’s not easy to admit how solitary your life is, when the only life worth living, we are told, is one which involves ‘going out’, interacting with other human beings, doing lots of sociable things.
And it’s the social aspects of our lives that make for the most conversation: people talk to each other about what they got up to with other people; they share stories about the fun times they’ve had with other folks.
People talk about people.
So when you don’t ‘do’ people what are you supposed to
When I’m asked about my weekends/holidays/home life, I stiffen, I shrink, I shrivel up inside, because I FEAR…
I fear that people will think me strange if I admit to how much of a loner I am.
I fear their raised eyebrows, their questions, their incredulity.
I fear they’ll misunderstand me, pity me.
I fear that they’ll try to coax me out of my shell, tell me I’m not normal.
I think this because of what I experienced as a child/adolescent.
I was a quiet/shy kid, who didn’t talk a lot at school. From the age of 10, my friends started to turn on me because of this; I wasn’t rowdy enough for them, and they didn’t want to know me no more. So, I became a loner; the girl who’d hang out on her lonesome in the library at lunch, who struggled in PE to find a partner. I experienced even more social stigma, bullying and emotional abuse as a result. Not just from my peers/former friends, but from my parents and teachers as well.
They all sent the message, overtly or covertly, that it was weird/shameful/just plain wrong, to be shy and to struggle socially, to be on my own so much.
Why couldn’t I just speak up and join in? Mix well with my peers and get invited to parties? I was a billy-no-mates; and there’s no worse thing when you’re a teenager…
I remain a loner to this day. And I like it. I don’t get lonely. When I’m alone, I’m perfectly content, happy, healthy.
However, I still carry that stigma and shame I was infected with as a child, that told me that being solitary, hanging out in your own company, is weird/embarrassing/just plain wrong.
A part of me still holds onto the poisonous notion that my quiet solitary nature is something to be overcome, transformed, fixed. That it makes me not good enough, not a proper grown-up… ‘if only she could come out of her shell, socialise more’.
So, whilst I’m okay in my own company, when I’m required to re-emerge, and interact, in our extrovert-supremacist society, with all its denigrations, assumptions, and stereotypes about quiet and solitary folk, that’s when I stumble.
That’s where my struggle lies.
I don’t want to make friends.
I don’t want help to become more sociable.
Because my *issues* don’t stem from loneliness, from being alone.
They come from not having a ‘safe space’ to exist in this world as the shy, asocial, schizoid-y spinster I am.