Back in 1999, I was insanely jealous of my best friend at the time Heath. He was everything I wanted to be: popular, center of attention and highly intelligent (although I’d like to think I was pretty smart at the time). He was very much a ladies man and our personalities clashed often. My sensitive side was on full display and I got myself easily upset over some of the jokes he made. Being shy and reserved, I found it really difficult measuring up to his other friends and yet was still accepted by him. I buried myself in schoolwork as a coping mechanism to deal with my social anxiety problems and my lack of friends. As it turned out, I became very talented at an early age.
14 years old and I can still relate to elements of my 13 year old self. I believe my social skills stopped maturing around that time and parts of my personality are exactly the same. Having speech therapy sessions as a child probably contributed to this and as such I’ve always found it hard holding conversations and keeping them going. Part of me holds back for fear of a “Porky Pig” moment elapsing, one where I stutter or get caught in an awkward moment of silence. Half the time I really don’t know what to say to people because my brain is so scattered and consumed with thoughts. I’ve never been one to spontaneously engage in conversation and come out with random things to talk about like many of my friends easily seem to do on the fly. I guess I wasn’t born that way (gay reference intended!).
I’ve always held back for fear of being bullied. I hate being insulted and criticised in a non-constructive way. I instantly shut down and wish I could escape. I’ve always felt really self-conscious and drowned out in groups to the point of being invisible. I’ve often opted to blend in with the crowd rather than stand out and be noticed. And I’ve naturally been quiet and introverted all my life, my mum calling me “the quiet achiever” which is a perfect description even now. On the surface, I’ve always seemed like a mysterious person but there’s always a lot going on underneath. Sometimes it’s easier to wear different masks to hide what I’m truly feeling inside.
The above has not stopped me in my pursuit of making good friendships. Alas many have fallen by the wayside, crashed and burned, left me for dead and fucked off into the sunset. The longevity of most of these friendships have always been minimal with only a select handful lasting a few years. I’m actually elated that I still have friends from high school who still keep in contact with me on occasion but that’s as far back as it goes. In social situations, I literally push myself to break the ice and make conversation because it’s very much a rarity for someone else to approach me and start chatting away. My social interaction has somewhat gotten easier over time and now it’s a great feeling when people actually recognise me thanks to my blogs and my continuous involvement with the local music scene.
Jealousy has also been a recurring theme in my life. Social media is very much a breeding ground for creating it. Seeing statuses and photos of friends going out and partying has often triggered my jealousy gene. I found the only way of dealing with it is to distract myself and keep busy. Sometimes you have to block things out that affect you in a negative way. I’ve never been Mr. Popular and probably never will be despite having more friends than I’ve ever had in my whole life. Going from being loner to having decent friends who love me has certainly taken some adjusting but I feel very humbled by it. Jealousy is a disease because we’re trying to obtain what we simply cannot. All we need to be is ourselves.
I think the lesson to learn is to be grateful and accepting of everything you have in your life. You don’t have to be popular and the center of attention to find happiness. To be content with life, you really have to step back and focus on all the positive aspects of it. It’s far from easy to do. I have the tendency to overanalyse things such as not being invited to a party. As personal as it may appear, there’s always rational reasoning behind it and it’s something that I’ve been slowly learning over time. I won’t compromise on being myself but I know I have flaws that need working on and resolving, everyone does. Nobody’s life is perfect and I’m not Mother Teresa, but I think each day gets a little easier to being able to love my life 🙂