Or, more accurately, a Very Timid Introvert. …Like the Very Hungry Caterpillar. Only not as colorful, and with less eating. Sadly.
Sometimes, I like being introverted. A lot of the time. A majority of the time, I may even venture to say. But then sometimes, I take a step back, look myself up and down, and go, “Gosh, Anna, you’re pathetic. What the heck. Really?” I need an extrovert to follow me around (or, rather, to lead me around) and make me do things by doing them first. Or maybe I just need a babysitter. Or a psychologist. Either works. I guess they aren’t too different, in this case. Ha. Though I would never trust a psychologist enough for them to be any good, so we should probably just stick with the extroverted babysitter.
But mostly, being introverted is nice. It’s comfortable and pleasant, and it means I get to spend a lot of time just thinking about stuff, and it means I get to spend a lot of time getting to know myself. And it means I don’t mind being alone, and it means I don’t get lonely quite so easily because I’ve always got so much going on in my head. I guess it’s different with every introvert out there, but that’s what it means for me. Or at least a tiny little piece of what it means. There’s quite a bit more to it than this, but it’s a start. And it’s good.
But not always. Because sometimes I get really, really, really-to-dickens fed up with myself. And then I write stuff like this. And I’m sorry. I’m not as big a loser as I make myself sound. ;) I’m just annoyed with me. Sooooo, what does Anna do when she’s annoyed with herself? Naturally, she posts somewhat angsty and depressing things on her blog for the world to see (or, like, the sixteen people out of the world who read my blog. …or actually it’s prolly just like fifteen. or fourteen.)
Deal with it, yo.
You stand at the back of the room. It’s a social gathering, a house full of people you don’t know and faces you’ve never seen before. Well, most of them, at least. There are a few familiar voices here. You stand near them, and whenever they move to a different room or wander out to the deck, you follow them. Like a shadow. Like a lost child. Which, you suppose, is exactly what you are in this place. A shadow and a lost child. You’ve been with these people for the whole evening, now, and you haven’t spoken to any of them once. You haven’t said a word worth listening to for hours.
Honestly, the only reason you came was because there would be food. But once dinner is served, buffet-style, cookout-style, you decline it. Because eating would mean you have to step forward and find a plate, and wait in line, and move away from your anchor here, the one person you knew before coming. You decline dinner, say you aren’t hungry, though you really are, because you don’t have the energy or the courage, right now, to put yourself forward, and you know you can find something to eat later in your dorm room, alone. So you don’t take advantage of the only reason you stepped out of your comfort zone in the first place.
You leave the gathering early, of course, and walk back to your dorm alone. Somehow you manage not to start crying until you are within the safety of your own all-too-familiar prison – your empty room and your tired mind, which won’t stop running in circles. Really, you just want to go home. Though at the same time, you recognize that you aren’t really sure where that place is anymore.
You stand before the mirror, staring yourself in the face. You realize that sometimes, you don’t know yourself. Because you spend so much time being timid that you forget, sometimes, who you are inside. You whisper that you hate yourself, but that’s not true. You only hate the person you are now. The possibility of who you could be is still beautiful. But who you are now is just messed up.
Your roommate spends an hour doing her hair and makeup. She’s going to a dance, and she’s invited you. She’s adamant that you accompany her. That you dress up and go socialize with her. You say no. You’ve said it a hundred times over. But she’s determined to get you to come. You retreat to your bed, lofted six feet off the ground, where she can’t reach you. You tell her you have too much homework to do, but really, you’re ahead in just about every class. But homework, at college, is a good and acceptable excuse to get out of anything.
Your roommate’s friends knock on the door and burst into the room. They head off together, laughing and talking, too loud. Your roommate waves goodbye, and tries one last time to convince you to come. You shake your head. No. You’re sorry, no.
And you are sorry. Honest. You feel rotten, not only because you’re ditching your roommate when she wanted you to be her partner. You also feel rotten because you’re too afraid to get off the bed and go to the silly dance. You’re too afraid of the noise and the lights and the people. You’re afraid of being in a new and unfamiliar environment. You’re afraid of things that are harmless. So you just hide alone in your room, with all the lights off, and watch lame movies until you can pretend you’re someone else.
It’s the last swing dance of the year. You’ve only been to a couple, over the course of the semester, and you really want to go once more before the end. But there’s no one to go with you. You are inches away from just giving in and staying in your room, only you really want to go, just once more. So you put on a dress and pin back your hair and walk to the dance by yourself. It takes a lot of courage to walk in the doors and still wear a smile.
You find someone you know, at least a bit, and stand next to them. But they have their own friends to talk to, and you end up, inevitably, standing in the corner alone. As usual. And you don’t know what to do with your hands, and you feel stupid standing on the edge alone and motionless when everyone else is dancing. But you don’t really know how to dance, and you don’t have a partner, and you don’t have anyone to talk to. If there were more people in the room, you wouldn’t mind so much. Because it would be easier to hide. As it is, it’s incredibly obvious that you’re the only one standing against the wall and not talking to anyone.
So you leave as soon as you safely can. Someone sees you as you’re slipping quietly out the door and asks why you’re going. You smile and say you have a lot of homework to do. Really, you have none. You’ve already done it all. You realize how many times this excuse has saved you, and how many times it has been a lie.
You sit quietly near the side of the classroom. Your classmates are engaged in a debate, and your mind is working miles a minute to keep up. But you remain silent. As you have every day in class since the semester began. You don’t know how to say any of the things your mind is thinking, and you know that if you remain silent long enough, someone else will ask your questions or make your statements for you, and more eloquently than you could. So it all works itself out, in the end.
After class, you are packing up your books when the professor comes up to you to return graded homework. He says, only half-joking, that he needs to begin calling on you in class, to make you talk. You hang your head and shrug, and leave quickly. It would help if he called on you, yes. But you shout at yourself in your head, angry because you wish you could do better, because you know your professor wishes you could do better, and you don’t know how. And honestly, you don’t want to know how. You just want to stay at the back, in the shadows, on the sidelines, and watch everyone else do great things and then leave quietly when they’re through. You don’t want to be noticed. You don’t want to speak. You just want to be left alone.
And you hate yourself for that, too, because you know you could do better, and you should do better, but you don’t even want to because it’s too difficult.
You find yourself wishing you were normal. Until you remember that there isn’t really such a thing as a normal person, because everyone is so unique inside. So you stop wishing you were normal, and begin wishing you were just…different. Although you know that if you were different you wouldn’t be yourself at all, you wish it anyway. Not all the time, no. But often enough. You wish you were someone else.
[on a side note that is so unrelated to anything in this post it isn’t even funny, I’ve been watching Little Dorrit over the past few days (almost done with it now), and it’s got Andy Serkis in it, who I have only ever seen as Gollum (Gollum’s Voice?), and my. gosh. I didn’t realize how brilliant he is. I am absolutely terrified of his Rigaud. And when I say absolutely terrified, I actually mean it. When his name comes up in the credits before the episode starts, and I know he’s going to be in it, I freak out quietly to myself and reach for the security blanket. Serkis, you have my utmost respect (and terror). And you have a rockin’ awesome french accent of which I am in awe. Also I recognize so many of the actors in the series from other stuff I’ve seen them in and it makes me happy. Ok, I’m done now. ;) ]