In shops, out on the streets, if I have to talk to a stranger then I will, I have no problem with that; it is very refreshing to branch out to new people even if it is just a one-off, random conversation. As a human being, I like to communicate. However, when it comes to those I know the most, my family and friends, I can barely find a word for them.
When you know so much about someone, their interests, their travels, you should just be able to produce a new conversation starter out of thin air. I did it at university talking about things in common such as discussing the course with my new classmates and gossip and so on. Although at home, with the friends I have known for years and my family, I cannot find the words. Lately I feel like there are some factors holding me back from communicating now, such as a lack of respect for my parents or tiredness of old friends that I feel I have outgrown. Like a deer caught in the headlights, I freeze.
I feel the other’s eyes on me, awaiting a movement from my lips to produce something that they want to here to make time go by a little faster and yet, nothing. An awkward silence clouds the air. Eyes now looking for neutral ground to gaze at as we collate our thoughts on what we know about each other and what has happened to us recently. And the only thoughts we seem to hear are the thoughts telling us to think of something. By that point, you begin to feel paranoid, that the other person now thinks you are awfully quiet and they are thinking negatively about you. Then, either a saving grace whisks you away from this nightmare or, it gets worse… and you say something off the top of your head.
I did this for the millionth time last night, at McDonald’s with three of my old friends, sat in pairs whilst we eat because they chose the most impractical seating arrangement for a group of people. Placed one on one with someone you know all too well that is really grating on you recently and the only time they see fit to open their lips is to blow into a half-opened packet on a straw, shooting the paper cover at your face, then finding something to say can be quite a mission.
After the multiple silent intervals spanning between several seconds and whole minutes, the times a conversation began between the two of us was came from me. Reluctant as I was, at the end of the night we are still friends and so to make the night go a little smoother, I could only find real talk for him, such as how his new job is going, what he plans to do for his first year of university in a month’s time, etc. And after about a minute of conversation I was desperately attempting to save, my friend from the adjacent table leaned over and exclaimed, ‘nice job interview you two are having there!’ The three of them laughed out loud and so I faked a laugh too, hiding my rising frustration.
In my attempt to make things better, I am met with ridicule and made fun of, like usual. At work today, a customer said that I had a very serious face after I noticed him staring at me for about twenty seconds straight before I made eye contact with him to throw him off. Since forever, people seem to point out my face rather than what is behind it. And then when I got home from work today, my dad told me to ‘cheer up’ yet again. If it was as easy as that, I would have done that five months ago. Little digs and jokes just build up, wherever you are or whatever you are doing, your mind can just bring them up and catch you off guard. And I remember all of them, vastly outweighing any compliment I ever get because they are incredibly few and far between and usually for something that I do not care about like cleaning the range at work this even ing, some guy joked asking what my hourly rates were for cleaning and everyone else got into the joke. I honestly think that I would prefer to be invisible. The only times I seem to be visible is when I do not want anybody to see, when I just want to get on and do what I have to do.
And over time, my family and friends have made countless remarks, that they do mean. I find them daily discussing me behind my back or people say things to my face, either way it all stings the same. With the lengths that I go to to be in their lives, I really do not receive any indication of my value in their lives other than to be someone who can make them feel better at my own expense. I struggle to talk to my family and friends now, I do not feel any impulse to go out of my way to communicate with them, they just do not make feel welcome anymore; I do not consider them an option to turn to.
I do only have a handful of friends and one family, I should perhaps ‘cheer up’, take a joke, but I just know when they mean it. Friends and family are supposed to be the support network for someone like me. But really, they’re the people who I want to avoid the most. I welcome some random stranger any day to have a conversation with, as long as it means I am not talking to the people that I know, the ones that I know do not really care about me. I feel like I have no one to turn to other than this blog and I have tried to branch out and meet new people; nobody has been interested. This blog is the only place for me to have a meaningful conversation… or rather a rant or vent. And I do try to talk about my feelings to people, like my dad, but he just went on to do what he normally does and talk about himself and then forget what he was talking about, and then just carry on anyway expecting you to listen when really you have lost all meaning to this conversation. I have a friend that will probably read this in the next couple of days and she was right, talking to me, trying to make me brighten up a little, see things differently, is indeed ‘like hitting a brick wall.’ I am sorry, but this gloomy individual that likes to talk about feelings is unfortunately who I have become.
While moving to university in a month and a half does still fill my mind with anxiety and darkness, memories and feelings from last year, it is the only other way for me to meet someone new again. Hopefully this time, I will actually be seen for who I am, beneath the skin. Find the one person to make it all worth it. In terms of living arrangements, I will still be hiding from the people I live with in my room just like I do at home with my parents. And I will be limited to how I can live, just like at home with my parents. Plus, I have to see the people from last year again. The risk involved in meeting a new person however ay become the final gamble that I ever take. Meeting people ast year went so terribly wrong and at a university, I am bound to make the same terrible mistake again. At least I will be able to make a conversation with them though before they ruin my life so that is something.
Much love from your friend,