I feel connected but distant at the same time…
She didn’t get it.
It was an engagement party of my friend’s. Easily 40 people were there, 40 people whom I knew.
I’ve come a long way from the girl who never fit into church, the girl who’s nickname was ‘Flowerpot’, the girl who never really spoke up. Though I still struggle with certain aspects, I am now a youth leader in church, choreograph dance items for young girls and interact with their mothers in the church. Clearly not something you will see in my old self or a person who is “disconnected”. I’m not entirely invisible.
I get invited to things now, not everything.. but some things are better than none. I guess in a way you could view it as me finally being “connected”, I wasn’t the unknown “flowerpot” who stands and lurks in the corner. People notice me now, but do I want to be noticed? Is visibility the thing I am striving for in belonging?
But belonging isn’t always visibly identifiable, the most visible people can be the loneliest of souls. Visibility, in my opinion, was never my priority in my life, never has it been, but invisibility was not something I had strived for either, as much as I hated the spotlight. A little acknowledgment would suffice perhaps.
At the party, I was fleeting amongst different groups of conversations, many consisting of the shallowness of life. I mean deep and meaningfuls are reserved for cell groups, I understood if no one wanted to dwell into that. I wasn’t fussed with content but a sustainable one with less awkwardness would suffice. I found myself walking around the house aimlessly as no group sustained a conversation comfortably enough for me to stay, quite a few times standing at the fringe of a conversation going “so what’s this about?” secretly wishing I could join in. I sound like a sad schoolkid on her first day, but the reality is that I’m 23 and still struggling. There was a lot of Instagram scrolling that day to make myself seem “preoccupied” and texting friends from overseas for the sake of looking “busy”.
I was physically connected but emotionally distant.
I found myself forced into a group again to make myself connect by spilling the first quote to the girl next to me. She repeated it after me and seem to not understand the meaning behind it. Clearly, it did not make an impact nor spark the slightest concern, as the conversation drifted to the smell of the candles.
Constant walking throughout the house and more awkward scrolls through my phone later, with attempts to find myself to be more physically present and to portray my willingness to connect. I gave up. Maybe I’m just not interesting enough to be sustainable in this party… Cracking lame jokes and inhaling helium just seemed more of like an attention seeking brat.
I found myself leaving the party early and telling the happily engaged couple that I “will see them in church tomorrow”. I didn’t. I didn’t go to church. The less social interaction the better. The less shit I feel about myself on my incapacity to connect.
To say I wasn’t close to tears when driving home was a lie. I did not know how much or what else I could do to improve the anxiety and awkwardness within. I did not know if I could cope in the future requirement of “networking”.
The engagement party was the second social event of the day, with people I see on a weekly basis, at church. Prior to that, I was at a highschool reunion. In the midst of a group of over 50 people, I managed to find the friends I hung out comfortably with at school. I do not see them weekly but they still brought me the sense of belonging and comfort I needed in times of a massive social event.
I guess that’s why they say I can’t meet people at parties. Being socially awkward and anxious is still my biggest weakness, I’ve tried my best to hide it. I make lame jokes and breath in helium to mask my anxiety, I prefer crowded dance floors over small talks to hide the awkwardness in my social prowess. Maybe you don’t put enough effort?
23. Still learning like I did on my first day at school. I’m not a failure, just a bit slow on the uptake. Bear with me… social beings.