As an adult I thought I was spared for the most part on having to deal with or even remember what it was like growing up and trying to stay true to oneself. I don’t think anyone can truly escape all pressures of youth and society growing up. Thankfully I don’t think I strayed too far from my core at any point in life. Maybe I was just too dense and single minded to care about the opinions of others. Since I can remember, life has been about moving forward and not looking back. I’ve wanted and tried to skip every graduation I’ve had. I already graduated, why waste the time to run through a ceremony and a piece of paper saying the proof will be coming in the mail? I’ve been comfortable being me at any stage, be it my current extroverted nature or my previous closet introverted state.
Until my first year in college I think of myself as having been a closet introvert. That closet door didn’t just open. It was irrevocably blasted into oblivion within the first month of being a freshman. My hallmates were crazy in just about every good way possible for me. They forced me to reevaluate every aspect of my personal life from how I viewed myself and the universe to how I externally interacted with the world. They took a whipcord runner of 125 lbs (yes I really weighed that little) and under their protective and nurturing wings dragged my ass to the gym to teach and show me about weight lifting. After weight lifting and continuing my running I graduated at 160 lbs. Not a bad bit of work. The people who know me now wouldn’t be able to recognize the person that existed back then, personalitywise that is. The weight is… um… on its way back down.
Recently I came across an older smartphone that I had been plugged in a less used area. I thought I would reminisce over text messages and get a smile. I’m writing this instead.
I was brought back to a present moment realizing that I’m still really dense at times to social situations and nuances. It’s not always easy. I started writing this a few months ago and I’ve written on many things and random things but this one felt more exposing of my inner self and it was left in draft form. I was reading something from Seinfeld recently and it moved me to continue writing this. While I may not be at the same place he is, I can identify strongly with him. You can see what he’s like on the outside in public situations but it’s the struggle inside that resonates with my soul. Here’s what he said:
“I think on a very drawn-out scale, I think I’m on the spectrum,” said Seinfeld. “Basic social engagement is really a struggle. I’m very literal, when people talk to me and they use expressions, sometimes I don’t know what they’re saying. But I don’t see it as– as dysfunctional. I just think of it as an alternate mindset.”
What struck me when I was going through my texts had to do with some previous relationships. I am honest with myself that I have known about issues I have in relationships even if I don’t understand them and can approach them in a way that is beneficial for the other person. Basically I don’t think they could handle the type of person that I am and while in the past I have struggled to ‘fix’ myself in the hopes of making and keeping better connections (and girlfriends), being me is enough of a challenge that I’ll just stay who I am and hope for the best, being someone that gets me and can put up with me.
One of the relationships was definitely different than I’ve ever experienced. It was someone with I, and others, thought I was romantically connected with. Taking a spanish class together, dancing, dinner, etc. I did make a common choice (mistake?) of mine. I give without more thought into how it will be taken. I had a habit of buying practical gifts for the people close to me in life. That year I think it was 4 gauge long and heavy jumper cables. Hot and sexy and I know. But the health and well being of the people I choose to call friends is important. I should have realized something wasn’t going well when I presented her with jumper cables and after explaining why, she said that none of her close friends would ever do something like that. The knee jerk first thought was that something was wrong with me. Upon later reflection I felt pity that none of her close friends would ever do something like that. She seemed distressed that I was doing this. It’s this type of reaction from people that I don’t understand. Close friends of mine know me well enough now not to blink or pause when I do something like that. I’ve come to see that as a general idea, I’m not ‘normal’, which I’m totally fine with and couldn’t really be normal anyway. How I think and the way I act is the basis of who I am. I’m fine with that person.
I feel like I’m spinning out from stream of consciousness to babbling. It’s taken a while to come back to who I was and recognize myself. I’m glad to be who I am even at the cost of some possible friendships or relationships with people that don’t, won’t, or can’t ‘get me’ with all my quirks and weirdness. By no means will I shy away from trying to make connections with others, that’s just ingrained into me to be a connector, but I hope it won’t hurt so much when those people choose to not want to be a part of my life even for a short time.
I am SFA, hear me roar.