This blog is going to reveal probably more about myself than I am comfortable with but if it helps someone, anyone, know that they are not alone in experiencing feelings of loneliness and insecurity, then it will have been worthwhile.
The other day, something happened to upset me and I still haven’t forgotten it or gotten over the negative feelings associated with it. Over the past few weeks at Starbucks, a Chinese guy has smiled at me a lot and been very friendly in terms of his facial expressions whenever he has seen me. So the other day I thought it would be nice to introduce myself. I could tell as soon as I was doing so that he was uncomfortable because I think I violated his personal space. I had thought since he was always smiling at me that we could have some nice Starbucks conversations like people often do there and like I’ve had with others. Apparently for some reason he was sending a mixed message because there’s no way, it’s obvious now, that he wants to talk to me at all. I felt very foolish but even more so that I have been there since and he doesn’t even smile at me anymore. It brought up many deep feelings of loneliness and insecurity that I have struggled with ever since I was born.
One of the themes that I have experienced a lot throughout my life is rejection. I’m sure many others can relate and that is why I am writing these personal things about myself. I remember being little and sitting on the front lawn of my house when a feeling of deep loneliness swept over me. I have never forgotten it. Perhaps it was a premonition of what was to come, because it is true that I have been lonely a lot. Before 1991, I did not interact with a lot of people. I was sick with bronchitis and sinusitis a lot when I was growing up. I missed entire semesters of school and spent a lot of time in bed reading and writing. In junior high school, people were so mean to me that I was excused from going to school. A nice thing that happened, though, was that students got together and wrote me a note, explaining that they were sorry for the way they had treated me, and they wished I would come back. In 1991, when I was at my lowest point, I joined a Christian Church. Setting aside the religious implications of that choice, the social benefits were incredible. I went to Idaho, and socialized with others who shared my religious beliefs. This was really great for me, because since I had been alone for most of my life, I did not interact well with others, and still don’t. All went well for a while, but eventually I was kicked out of the Church (basically, if not technically). I had moved to Utah and that is when the problems began. One of the religious leaders I had met did not like me and forced me out of the apartment I was staying in with a few roommates (it’s a long story). That is when I came back to Nova Scotia and started going to Acadia University. I continued to struggle with loneliness. I remember being at a meeting where we were studying the Bible and other scriptures and everyone in the room was invited to a party except for me. Another time I read in my friend’s journal (with her permission) that her sister said I was ugly. Because of my problems with the Church, when it came time to read scriptures out loud, I became overwhelmed with feelings of insecurity and rushed out of the room, humiliating myself. When the social media platform ICQ came out, my best friend and I talked on it all the time. The vast majority of the time, we talked about my friend’s problems but one day I was overwhelmed with the fact that I was struggling with my Church and began to talk about my problems. She said sarcastically that “Oh great, we get to talk about you again.” This was very unfair, as she admitted later, because I have never been comfortable talking about myself. But it made me hesitant to share my deepest feelings with others, because I was afraid of experiencing similar rejection.
I think that is one of my main problems. I have very close friends in various parts of the world, and any of them would be glad to talk to me and help me through the dark periods of my life. Some of them are in Canada, some in Europe, and some in the United States. One is in Mexico. But maybe because they are so far away, it’s not the same. In any case, one of the lessons I have learned is that I do need to be more open about my problems because if I am not, there isn’t anyone who can really help me.
Another of the difficulties is that we all have strengths and weaknesses. One of my weaknesses is that I do not connect well with other people. I love people but maybe because growing up I had such little experience with them (just because it was my circumstances; it wasn’t anyone’s fault in particular) I’m a bit weird and desperate. I remember when I went first to Idaho, that I was very shy and people liked me better then. After a few months of being popular and a social success for the first time in my life, I had become obnoxious with the headiness of it all. I still battle that, although not as badly as before. Unfortunately, though, the good qualities I have are not those that are really appreciated by people in general. What I have, people don’t really want, and what I don’t have, people do want a lot. I have never been great looking. I have never been athletic. I have never been involved in a lot of different activities. All I’ve basically done with my life is read and write. That is pretty much all I’m good at. However, my interpersonal skills have suffered greatly as a result. I am not a bad person, but I need to improve in a lot of ways. One of the realities about me is that I am basically two people. One side of me is shy and that bookwormish girl who grew up alone. The other side of me is a humorous, bold, brazen woman who will say anything, even if most people wouldn’t. I have never been able to reconcile these two aspects of my nature which are so opposite. So people get to know one side of me, perhaps like it, but then they are confronted with the other part of my personality and they do not like it. Hopefully someday I will meet someone who likes both aspects of my personality because then I will be able to be the real me. Until I am the real me, I can’t be happy. No one can.
One of the lessons I have learned is that I concentrate more on the negative things people say rather than the positive things. I remember the incident at Starbucks more than I remember the nice things that people have said to me in the same time period. The negative things outnumber the positive things by a wide margin, so maybe that is the reason. But I still should focus on the positive because that will do me a lot more good in the long run. It is easy for me to sink into self pity as I am in the habit of doing. But I do ultimately have a strong belief in God, and know that sometime in the future I will be happy as long as He is my anchor. I know that ultimately I have a message of hope because as surely as I know that I am not popular with most people, I also am convinced that God loves me, as much as He loves everyone. He will help me overcome my weaknesss, and He will help me become a better person. Of course, I should want to be a better person simply because that is the right thing to do. But I know part of the charm of being a better person for me is that I will attract more friends, and especially friends of a deeper nature. Right now, because my friends are so scattered, I am unhappy and lonely. But I know that when my circumstances change (as I am in control of doing), things will get better and that He will be with me every step of the way. So while my life might be depressing right now, it will not always be that way because I will not allow it. With God on my side, I don’t have anything to fear. That is what it means to love God, even though I definitely don’t show it with my actions.