Monday, October 31, 2005
So, I'm out of work for the moment. I'm still employed, but there just aren't any shifts at the moment. So I'm home. All the time. Alone. In this city I moved to a year ago.
Now that I have all this time to myself, I've been thinking. That can be a good thing. That can also be very, very bad.
See, I'm a pretty insecure person. I worry. I worry about everything. I worry when I'm awake, I worry when I'm asleep. I worry when I'm having breakfast, I worry at the gym. I worry everywhere. I worry that I will say the wrong thing. I worry that I've said the wrong thing. I worry that no one will like me. I worry that I'm not good enough. I worry that I don't fit in with non-disabled people, I worry that I don't fit in with disabled folk either. I feel completely and utterly alien much of the time.
Having said that, I'm often amazed that I actually have friends. A couple of them really good friends. But I still worry about them too. I am never secure in the fact that they are indeed good friends. When I was in high school, it was usually me calling them, asking them to do stuff. Most of the time I got the "sorry, I'm busy" response. I have one friend from high school who's stuck for 17 years and counting. That's something. You'd think I'd be able to figure out what is right in that situation and use it in others. Doesn't seem to work that way though. I mean, obviously it has to do with differences in people, etc. You're not going to get along with everyone, much less create intimate bonds with them. But every now and then it happens. Now, I have to say that it's not always me getting shunned by others. I do my fair share of shunning. Many people who come my way just don't interest me for various reasons. They're too needy, boring, egocentric, fake, shallow, angry, whatever. The ironic thing is that I'm needy, angry, possibly a bit egocentric and shallow. Not all the time, but I think we all have these traits in us. I'm no saint, and certainly am far from perfect. I have hangups, character flaws, social ineptness. Lots of them. But ultimately I believe I have the ability to be a good friend, to those who I chose to be a good friend to.
Since I've been out of work, I've been noticing some things. In the 2 1/2 weeks I've been away from work, all contact with colleagues has been cut off. My overanalyzing mind is having a field day with this. Since I moved here, I have made what I feel is quite a bit of effort to get a social life. Now, considering my background of ineptness and self-doubt, it probably felt like more of an effort than it was seen as. I've initiated socializing at least twice with pretty much everyone I want to get to know better here. I've had people over for dinner, I've gone to plays, movies, coffee, museums. What I've found is that, although these people have accepted for the most part, I have gotten very little of that back. With the exception of perhaps 2 of these people, and one of those only very recently, I have not been called, invited, sought out. I am at my wits end. One friend here, who I met almost immediately upon moving here some 1 1/4 years ago, calls me quite frequently and we have great long chats. She has not once initiated meeting and in that time we have only actually met up outside of work twice. I voiced my frustration to her and she said she was just really busy and that she felt phone calls were just as good as seeing the person. I disagree. See, the way I see it is she only calls me when her boyfriend is not home. So, it's not actually making time for me, which is what a friendship does, but rather it is fitting me in to her alone spots. We also email quite frequently and she is very encouraging and supportive of the things I do and the fact that I am out of work and that I find it extremely hard. So now I am unsure as how to proceed. I do not want to lose her as a friend, as my pattern in the past is to just cut people off when I feel there is something wrong in our relationship. But, nor do I want to accept things the way they are. I know I cannot change her, and I have already expressed the way I feel. What is left?
I also have a similar situation with another friend. I've known her for much longer, and she was the only person besides family I knew when I moved here. But she has not made much effort to socialize either. We have done some lunches at work that she has initiated, but now we no longer work together and I rarely see her. She emails me too, frequently, but it is short one or two line sentences. She has only called me when I have called her and left a message. Last month was the first time since I have known her that she has initiated getting together, and that was nice. We went to a play in a neighbouring city. She's had a rough year this year, and I do understand that. The thing is, I just don't fully understand what is not exactly working. Is it that I am overanalyzing? My relationships through time have usually been complicated and tense at times. I can get really close to someone and then something goes wrong. I start to realize they are getting too intense and all we talk about are their problems, or they start backing off from me. The whole notion of being yourself and let things go as they may is a bit foreign to me. Not that I'm not myself, but I'm so completely guarded. And because of all the experiences or lack thereof, that have separated me from my peers, my wholse sense of what is normal is whacky. I worry about things like am I calling too much, what to say, what to suggest to do, does the other person want to see me, what if they see through me. So it festers. And it festers. And then... kaboom! it's gone.
I really would love to get to the point where I can have somewhat stable relationships with people. I'm tired of struggling. I know these things always take work. Nothing is ever easy. But I have a feeling it should be a lot easier than it is.