Social awkwardness, shyness, mysanthropy and other stories to go along with milkshakes
I am well aware that I am not an easy person to deal with - having had the privilege of friends letting me know how really difficult an individual I am all through my life, it would be nigh impossible to still live oblivious to that fact. I'm not a breeze one can sail through, and that makes me rather unlikable, most of the time. Also, my literaly upturned nose renders me an air of haughtiness that is quite aggravating, seriously. I always seem to be looking down on people, even when I'm just thinking of pairing black beans with squid and cilantro. But looking at me, you would think I'm nauseated by bad smells from people around me. And sometimes, I might even be...
I usually atribute my unlovability (is that even a word?) to my extreme social awkwardness and my shyness. You wouldn't know it, at first sight, how much of an introvert I really am. How much I praise solitude, and silence, and moments that stretch on and on with only myself for company. You wouldn't know it, by seeing me at some social gathering or other, doing my best to be conversant with everyone, always more of a listener, nowadays, but still chipping in with a word or two.
Being aware of my shyness has led me, in the past, to find ways of overcoming it. In my teenage years I was the class clown, always with some sarcastic or witty ditto on the tip of my tongue, so as to disguise how uncomfortable I felt around others, to hide away my true nature, my true self, my feelings and whatever I might be going through in my life - and I was going through a lot. It was so safe to hide inside a joke, but it also had a huge toll on me. Because you have to think really fast in order to come out with just the right piece of fun at the right moment. It's draining. It's like a complete body workout. It leaves you lacking energy. And needing to replenish it, sometimes in ways that may not be the healthiest or best intentioned. Or seen as appropriate, and proper.
With age and the advent of adulthood I started realizing how drained it made me feel. I could not keep up being the clown for much longer, and my mood would alternate from joker mode to contemplative, to downright bad temper. I would alert people to please steer clear of me for a couple of hours, on those days I was really in a destructive mindset. Thus the fame of being a difficult person. Because, when you are an introvert, pushing yourself out of your shell drains you. A lot. It even drains your health. I noticed I would start feeling really tired around large groups of people, if I was expected to interact with all of those people. My friends wouldn't understand, nor could I explain. I would feel drained and tired and moody, and the jobs I had would not help, as they were usually costumer relationship oriented, forcing me to dealings with the public, in mostly not the best of situations. I would start craving hours alone and the company of milkshakes loaded with fresh fruit. Because there are foods that really help replenish our energy levels, and our good mood!
Milkshakes are those kind of foods, for me. There's got to be something about apples, bananas and strawberries that helps with this listlessness I sometimes feel, because those are the fruits I start craving on my milkshakes whenever I feel drained of energy, from too much human contact! Alright, jokes aside, I do feel replenished when I drink such milkshakes. But I have learned to protect myself from that situation. Only recently a friend of mine asked me for a dinner party at her house, and I told her straight away that too many people would just leave me feeling anxious and drained. She advised me to see a shrink. I drank a milkshake instead, and felt a lot better, but still wouldn't attend the party. I never felt comfortable, nor happy around her friends so why should I force myself to be there? I'd rather have a milkshake. There's something in the colour of these fruits combined with milk, this pastel pinkish hue, that calms me and tenderizes me. Makes me feel a lot better, and the taste of it sure helps.
These days I notice it a lot more, I think that tends to happen with age, how I feel weak and drained around a lot of people, or just certain, particular individuals. It is something that tends to fascinate me, as I am always analysing these interactions and the way I feel with them, to try and find if it is my fault, if I am the problem, or the other way around. Recently I encountered someone who at a certain point in my life was one of my best friends someone I was always there for, eager to be around and help in all I could, happy in the company of said person, or so I thought. After half an hour of conversation, I went home feeling tired and drained, and thinking "Wow, nothing has really changed with this person, and it's still a toll to be around and listen." This made me stop on my tracks, as for more than ten years I had never had that kind of thought cross my mind, in relation to that person. And all of a sudden, I found myself glad that the person in question had left my life, when in the past years I had felt really sad about it - because life does pull one apart from old friends, when moving house, or city, or whatever - and very lonesome and hurt. It made me wonder if I was to blame, and how difficult a person I really am.
I find that it's an ongoing process, getting to know oneself, and growing up. If in my teenage years I found that I was happier with being around a huge group of people, clowning around and playing the joker, these days I find that so stressful, so tiresome, downright scary in many aspects, making me flinch and feel sick to my stomach in anticipation, always wondering if I will feel good around others, or tired, or bored. I always catch myself doubting my capability of relating to others, of being around others, of being friendly and a pleasure to be with. I find that the thought of meeting new people is at the same time exciting and daunting, and notice myself become more and more of a recluse. And all the time I wonder how I am affecting my son's social traits with this. So I go and make an effort to be more sociable and socialize more, and get out there - wherever that may be - more, for his sake. Because I can always come home and drink a milkshake, right? And yet, all the time my own mind tells me a milkshake is not enough, not when I must be the one with a problem, the one who is in the wrong and not a very nice person to have around... even though I do like my own company!!