A Social Introspection

Story Published 9 Oct, 2023 · 648 Words

Ever since I was a kid, I've always hated going to kindergarten. I always cried as my parents handed me over to my teacher. Some days it was a stomach ache, on others, it was a headache – I always thought of reasons not to go. It wasn't that I was getting bullied or having a hard time; I was just scared of 'going'. It was the same throughout school. I never really enjoyed it or even felt comfortable. Every morning, I wrestled with my inner anxiety, knowing that I had another day of school ahead of me. I commuted to school in a van with around ten other students of different ages, and I dreaded that more than anything. Dealing with people was a challenge. I always had to put on a facade in front of them, an effort, made even worse by the soul crushing anxiety. It was as if I was walking into a war zone. Many times, I've felt like I'm missing a crucial piece of myself that would enable me to form deep connections with people. Over the years, I've made numerous efforts to forge genuine connections with others for reasons beyond mere acquaintances. It baffled me how my classmates seemed to effortlessly form bonds. Most of the people I engage with result from calculated decisions. Nothing comes with the flow. Loneliness does creep in at times, and I do have solutions for that, like having lunch with a so-called friend. However, if that person were suddenly replaced by someone else in the middle of eating, I wouldn't really mind. That's how my mind works. I lack that emotional attachment that keeps me connected to an individual person, so such transitions don't faze me. Throughout my school years, the concept of friendship remained a mystery to me. After I finished school and delved into managing my startup, friends essentially became long-term investments in my mind. Even now, as I attend college, the people I know and the effort I put into being interested in them are primarily aimed at maintaining a certain image of myself. I don't want to be left behind. However, even in these efforts, I never became overly familiar with anyone. There's always a certain distance, a meter, that I unconsciously maintain, never getting too close. Am I afraid of being judged? Is that why I don't open up with people? Or do I simply lack the ability to resonate with others, much like how bad my memory is. Preventing connections from progressing beyond the initial stages. Where I'm stuck in a perpetual cycle of, getting to know them for the first time.To be honest, I haven't fully unraveled this puzzle. To mitigate it, I try my best to emulate the behavior of others, even behaving like an extrovert to avoid appearing socially inept. But despite my efforts, I can't seem to crack the code. This isn't to say that I have any trouble being social. I'm familiar with almost my whole class in college, and I usually encounter someone who says hi when I walk around the college as well. I don't feel like an outcast. I just feel like I'm missing something. A deeper connection. A depth to my relationships that goes beyond the surface level 'How was your day?' It is very common in Canada to greet people with surface greetings. While I am not against it, it doesn't feel right to not continue a conversation after someone starts it. Because people do it out of habit and not expecting anything in return. I've encountered people who express similar feelings when they're going through a gender crisis. They feel out of place, unable to relate to the norms associated with their respective gender, and they struggle with that. It's quite ironic that I find myself having more in common with the LGBTQ community than with anything else, in this peculiar crossroad of self-discovery.

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