I stared at my ceiling with tired eyes and resolved to commit five solid minutes to hashing out this problem in my brain. "Problem" seems to severe of a word. Issue? Question? Problem?
Problem seems to be the most appropriate word to me.
I've been feeling a little down lately. I'd love to blame it on pregnancy blues, but it'd be a lie. I've been feeling this way on and off for over a year.
Sometimes I find myself getting sucked into this weird hole of anti-social introversion. I first noticed it when I was working on my thesis. I stayed inside all day with the curtains drawn, writing and rewriting my paper draft after draft after draft. I avoided socializing, because the thought of having fun or going out when I still had another draft due was too much to handle. The only person I wanted to talk to was gid. And maybe the take-out food guy on the phone.
My thesis is done. I've defended. I've published. But I still kind of avoid people.
This is going to sound silly (because it is) but it's like my belly button. I was born with a suupper outie belly button. When I was a kid my family would joke when I'd wear swimsuits or leotards; it would stick out stubbornly, even with the spandex trying to flatten it. Around the time I got into middle school it started making it's way in, and by the time I was in college it was as much of an innie as it used to be an outie. Sorry I talked so much about my belly button- that was a weird comparison.
I don't want to go outside if I see people I know hanging out in the courtyard. I keep my curtains drawn, even when the weather is nice. I dread things that used to be super fun like lunch dates with a friend (even if the person really really is a friend). When I go on campus to visit gid for lunch, I strategically avoid the building I took classes in. I've gotten pretty bad at answering text messages. I've started exchanging small talk for silence. Silence used to make me a little uncomfortable.
I'm worried that I'm starting to not like people very much. Not all people!! I probably like you, whoever is reading. (No guarantees, of course.)
It's a bad sign if I'm starting to feel closer to people over a digital platform than I do in real life, right? That's something I've always thought other people would have a hard time with. Not me.
Last night a girl from church texted me, asking if I could cover her shift in nursery. I responded yes, and then, realizing it was friday, and sunday was only two days away, started feeling really uncomfortable. Church gives me major anxiety lately. I have to pump myself up before and sleep afterward. I don't look forward to it. Once I stepped out of class because I started having a hard time breathing. That could've been because the baby was in my lung space, to be honest...
Has this ever happened to any of you? I've never felt like I don't belong so much, particularly in a place that insists that everyone belongs.
I used to really love sundays. Sunday was the day to recuperate, the day to invite friends over for a nice relaxing dinner. Maybe even play games. I used to love church.
And as I type, I'm cringing with closed eyes, because I know this is probably too much honesty. (Who do I think you are, my therapist?) I was reading an article the other day about being aware of the image you create for yourself on the web and one of the top warnings was to be cautious of how honest/frank you are in your writing. "It has the potential to turn readers off or offend," the article said. (My baby just started kicking really hard-- I wonder if he's trying to send me a warning to not publish this post on pain of losing readers.)
I don't care about readers nearly as much as I care about being authentic. Sorry little baby...
To be fair, I do better in small groups, and especially well with long time friends. I even talked with a girl who I've never had conversation with for over 15 minutes today. She said I was "funny" and "outgoing". I paused, smiling at her and actually took a second to check if she was being sarcastic. She wasn't; I don't think. I think I come across a lot more comfortable in social situations than I really feel.
I don't have a problem with introverts. Most of my closest friends hate social situations. The thing is, I want to be more social, so I should just keep trying, right? Fake it till you make it, right?! The only problem is I'm not sure how much longer I can keep that up. It's exhausting. I'd rather just not.
So I stare at the ceiling. It's a creamy, almost buttery color and right now all I want to do is to paint it a muted gray.
I think my five minutes of hashing is up.
ps- my belly button is starting to become an outie again because of my growing belly. maybe the belly button example is an appropriate comparison after all. maybe pregnancy/having a baby will force me to be social again.