I’m not normal. I worry too much about what people think of me, I have mood swings, I’m irritable, I prefer to be inside my head rather than in the company of other people, I can’t take compliments, I have on occasion avoided social interaction by literally running away, I’m oftentimes unable to read the room, and having a simple conversation with someone is a source of major anxiety for me.
But so what?
That’s not something I would’ve said to myself a year ago. You see, my whole life, I longed to be normal. I wanted nothing more than to have a group of friends to go to parties with, a best friend to confide in, and a boyfriend that I didn’t scare off with my insecurities.
But I realized something. I hate parties. And as much as I like hanging out with people that I’m comfortable with, I can only do it in small doses. Any longer and I’ll have to take a few moments to myself to recharge. (Hey, I NEED my alone time.)
It’s pretty crazy. When I was in high school, I always thought I’d have managed to conform to societal norms and be what is expected of me by now. But here I am, 30 years old, and making friends is still a struggle to me.
Not to say that I’m a total social leper. I have managed to make some friends. But keeping them is another story.
Were you ever that kid in school that longed to be a part of a certain group? After months of psyching yourself out, you managed to work up the courage to speak to them. And to your surprise, they were actually nice. Over time, you managed to fit in with the group, and you all became good friends. But then something happened. Suddenly that group became too busy to hang out with you, they'd become quiet or even walk away when you joined the conversation, they started leaving you out of the loop and doing things without you, and slowly but surely, they just sort of faded you out.
Does this story sound familiar to you? Because it does to me. It’s easy to ignore when you have other stuff going on, like final exams, extracurricular activities, graduating. Eventually life goes on and you barely even remember those people. But it’s not so easy to ignore when you work with them, and the reason that they’ve decided to exclude you is because they finally realized how weird you are.
It sucks, doesn’t it? Being cast out after you were just beginning to trust them. It did for me. And I wish I could tell you how I handled that rejection with dignity. I tried desperately and unsuccessfully to get them to accept me again. But after months of their stone cold resistance, it finally hit me...what good are these people to me if I can’t even be myself?
I can admit it. I’m weird. And for the longest time, I hated myself for that. But I’d rather be by myself and happy than with a group of friends and miserable.
Instead of being ashamed about it, I’m just going to start owning it. And if you're socially awkward like me, I encourage you to do the same.
I want this blog to be a safe place for outcasts like me to be weird, awkward, moody, distant, or whatever without any judgement or ridicule from the normals out there.
We’re not normal. And it’s okay.
This is my first post. Did you enjoy it? If you did, I'd be very grateful if you'd help spread it by emailing it to a friend, or sharing it on Twitter or Facebook.
Also, if you like young adult fiction, check out my new book Social Misfits. It's a story about three misfits who struggle to find love and friendship.