In Which I Admit To My Nutso
August 10, 2010, 9:37 pm
Filed under: daily, Pittsburgh

Over the past few years, I’ve gradually cut back on my socialization in person time, and increased my socialization on the internets time. This is a good thing in some ways: it has enabled me to keep in touch with friends who live out of the area. We chat online. In some cases, almost every day. I swear I talk to my Asian friend more than I talk to Kevin, but I never, ever see her. In other ways, it’s not so good. I do not see real people most of the time. I get most of my socialization digitally, and it leaves something to be desired.

Speaking of my Asian friend. She is doing something totally awesome. She is completely burnt out from her PhD program after two years, and is taking a leave of absence to spend a few months traveling around central and south america with her boyfriend, working at organic farms. While this is something you could not pay me a bazillion dollars to do, because hard manual labor and I do not get along, I am totally jealous of what she’s doing. Freakishly jealous. The tips of my fingers are turning green with jealousy. I’m leaving green fingerprints on my computer as I type this.

Why am I jealous of something I would never do? Because she’s grabbing her life by the horns. She’s finally recognized how unhappy she is with her life right now (something I’ve known about her life for a long time!) and is taking steps to fix it. She’s doing something I generally mock: she’s leaving the country to go into the wilderness and find herself. Hopefully she comes back refreshed with a new look on life and a clearer head to decide what to do next.

I don’t need to do hard manual labor to find myself. I don’t even need to find myself: I’m in Pittsburgh, exactly where I want to be. I’m thrilled with what’s next for me: starting the PhD officially at the end of August, doing something that really, really sets my pants on fire, with people I really, really like. I’m also really good at it, which is a total bonus.

However. However! I have to get myself out of this rut. I only socialize online, unless it’s with Kevin’s friends. I guess they’re technically my friends now, but really. They’re more his than mine. When Kevin has the whole weekend sucked up by drumline practice, I am on my own. My best friend works all weekend, so I can’t play with her. The vast majority of my other friends are elsewhere. I don’t have family (that I like) in the area. I spent almost all weekend by myself this past weekend, except for a few hours late on Saturday when I went into Oakland to hang out with drumline people after practice was over.

I was so miserable.

The funny thing is this: I am an introvert. I don’t like being around people for extended periods of time. At the end of social gatherings, I am exhausted and need to recoup. I have cried after really stressful gatherings, even if I looked like I had a good time. When I’m with my close friends, the ones who I really mesh with, it’s not a problem. Interacting with them isn’t nearly as exhausting, although I do sleep well afterward. And yet, I hate being entirely alone for extended periods of time. You just can’t win with me, can you?

And so, I’ve been inspired in the past few weeks by Asian Jen. She’s taking her bull by the horns and going to South America to harvest coffee or something insane like that. I can do something to change how I’ve been feeling about being by myself and only interacting with people via Google Chat or the Twitter. That’s why I went out on a limb and accepted Emily’s invitation on Friday to go to the pool with her and her kids. And then accepted another yesterday to go with even more people from Twitter. I was afraid it would be weird, me with no babies, hanging out with women who do have them, at a pool. People I’ve never met before! People who I’ll have to CONVERSE with!

WHAT IF I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY OMG WHAT IF THEY DON’T LIKE ME HOLY CRAP WHY AM I DOING THIS I SHOULD GO HOME.

Is exactly what I was thinking as I pulled into the parking lot on Friday afternoon. It was like starting 9th grade at a brand new public school all over again. My knees sweated exactly the same way.

And yet. And yet! It was so nice. It was nice to be out, it was nice to have people to talk to. It was nice to make real friends. Not that my friends I talk to via Google Chat aren’t real, but they can only do so much when Kevin is busy all weekend. It was nice to feel like I was making my own friends, not just tagging along with Kevin. It was nice to feel included, even though I technically don’t have the credentials to join a mom group.

In my own, less dramatic way, I am stepping out my comfort zone and trying to figure myself out, just like Asian Jen. And I don’t have to pick mangos to do it.

If you want to be my real, in person friend, and you aren’t a crazy, rapist stalker person, let me know. I’m going to start going to TweetUps locally, and I’m going to be there with bells on, even if it means I have to curl up with a glass of milk in bed later to recover. I’d rather cry at the end of a social gathering because I’m exhausted than cry because I don’t have anyone to hang out with.

This is me stepping out. Will you join me?

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1 Comment so far
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Yes please! Hang out more often. I too was alone all weekend feeling sorry for myself, and yet we were only a mile from each other.

It is so very hard to make new friends as an adult, and even more so in Pittsburgh as everyone already knows each other from high school.

Doing the “mommy group” thing is fine for me, but just b/c you have kids doesn’t mean you will mesh as friends. I have made better friends via twitter and Burghmoms than any of my mommy groups!

Comment by TwinMamaTeb




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