Friday, March 21, 2008

The other half

I have some social fears, like the fear of accidentally farting loudly while laughing, having something in my nose while talking to someone, or overstaying my welcome . Example: I have one friend and she and her fiance are such gracious hosts, so laid back and at ease, that time flies while I'm hanging out with them. Hours later, it will hit me: maybe I'm not reading their signals. I'll become hyper aware, looking to see if I can interpret anything as a sign to get lost. But I can never find a sign with these two! So I mention that I should get going and am met with, "No, please. Stay a little longer." The fiance follows up, "Yes, stay." No sarcasm, nothing. In that moment I'm unsure what to do and the following thoughts run through my head:
Do they want me to stay? Really? I'm sure they want me to leave but are being nice. No way. But they're not Southerners, they won't say shit to be polite and then talk about how I didn't leave once I'm gone. They truly want me to stay. But I've been here for three hours already, surely they want to do their own thing? Wait, what do I want to do? Well, I'm having a good time and I do want to stay for a bit longer.
I stay a bit longer but end up feeling so concerned that ten minutes later, I leave. Why? Because I'm terrified of being where I'm not wanted.

Tonight, I hung out with a colleague for a bit whom I don't know very well. He invited me to a concert that his friend from out of town was playing in. After the show, I waited with him for his friend to show up and then I left, thinking that he'd want to hang out with his friend by himself.

I walked to the train and stopped for a bit and looked up at the bright moon. I felt sad that I was going home but it wasn't until I was on the train that I understood why: my actions weren't based on what actually went on. He didn't tell me that he wanted to only hang out with his friend. He didn't give me a cue to leave. I left because I assumed that he wanted me to go. I left because sometimes I leave people and places a lot earlier than I want to because I don't want to even risk feeling unwanted. Hence, being concerned about not being wanted means that sometimes I miss opportunities to be social and make new friends.

I know where this stuff comes from. I know this is old, old, old shit that I still struggle with. But man, how long before I let it go? How long before I stop assuming that I'm an outcast? Why can't I just be in the present moment?

G.I. Joe says that knowing is half the battle. I got that down. The other half is doing something about it.

(Yes, I did just end this introspective blog post with a quote from G.I. Joe.)

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