A classmate said, “You don’t smile.” “There is no joy in school,” I joked back. It was more of a half-joke, because I really don’t find any joy in school. My friends know it, my husband knows it, and even my teachers know it with my daily “unimpressed” expressions that make it very obvious I am a non-traditional age student. Only my husband knows that my lack of smiling is completely intentional. Smiling means weakness and approachability. I help people who ask me to help them out and share my opinions and experiences with them only to the extent of not making any relationship stick. This time around, I am refusing alliances, jealousy, and attachments.
I don’t know why I’m doing this, actually. Maybe it’s the spirit of competition, or maybe I stayed in Europe for too long and absorbed that comfortable coldness. Being alone in college made me notice why I was so successful in high school. Yes, I was a sleep-deprived over achiever, but take away the “sleep deprived” and “over.” There’s just “achiever” left. Effortless, isolated achievement that gives me time to myself and room to think. This also reduces emotional damage in case my bipolar symptoms pop up. I still get rages every couple of weeks and these strange bouts of sadness and happiness.
I also signed up for a counseling appointment and a health check up. I don’t know if I am playing too much Diablo or stressing out about the skeleton I am drawing for Life Drawing, but I have been having nightmares about my worst days, skeletons, and zombies for the last two weeks. Hopefully, the counselor can help out with that. Maybe it’s midterm stress? I experienced nightmares at Smith too that drained me of my energy on a daily basis and made me jumpy and anxious. Since it’s a pattern, I’m looking forward to the day I don’t have nightmares anymore.
Regarding my friends on the East Coast,
I haven’t been making any effort to see them, because I feel like honestly, it’s time for me to move on. We haven’t fought, we haven’t argued, but I feel like I’m in a world so different from theirs now that I feel alone whenever I hang out with them.
I don’t want to splurge personal secrets that may hurt my boyfriend on here, but they knew things that I told them thinking they were mature enough to handle it. I was so wrong and so unsurprised when I watched one of them (who talks non-stop anyways about everything that pops into her head and was a very sheltered child) basically shout what I told her throughout the dining hall. Another friend sat next to her and shrugged, “Well, these are your decisions and shame is one of the consequences.” I learned that the motor-mouth friend also told another friend, who we all know can’t keep a single thing to herself, and I felt so alone.
I forgive my friends, because they, like many people at my school, are naive. The world works only one way and it’s obvious who the bad guys and good guys are to them. Going through the things I told them has made me learn how to stand my ground and feel invincible, so they do not hurt me when they judge my boyfriend and I and our dreams whenever I see them. They can still be my bridesmaids. Two of them can still be my kids’ godmothers. I am just tired of being verbally beaten down by them all the time and being thrown things I’ve already been hit by.
There are so many things wrong with this. I know I shouldn’t sacrifice my friends for my relationship, because they care about me. I am not sacrificing them. I still care about them. When they are hungry, I give them food. When they need somewhere to be because they don’t want to go bed yet, they can hang out in my room. When they want to see me, I go downstairs and hang out with them. I make them laugh, give them the same bad advice, and voice the same questionable opinions. We are still friends. It’s just that we are too different for me to say that we are friends, because we all have so much in common, because we really don’t anymore. My friends on the West Coast though, they’re chill, and I’ll talk about them in a later post.
Sorry about being 10 minutes late. The internet was down.
Since I didn’t learn to drive until last-last year,
I never visited many places on my own. I was often picked up and dropped off by friends and family for outings, school, or tutoring. I also had this “I will go to New York where people are more cultured and less dependent on cars” phase in high school that quickly died when I learned that I’m not a fan of public transportation, pretentiousness, or snow. Maybe it was my lack of freedom that caused my angst, because now that I can drive, I feel in control of my decisions. I drive myself to cafes, bookstores, and libraries where I can focus. I also drive myself to the gym every other day where I can finally exercise and be in a health positive environment. I even drive myself to the mall to reward myself with small purchases that add some, well, “normal” young adult fashion to my Khols sweaters and Gloria Vanderbilt jeans (Note to self: Write a blog post in the near future about my weird wardrobe). Overall, I’m officially a southern Californian who drives more than she should and can’t go a month without visiting a fancy mall or eating decent Asian fast food.
The rush of Californian traffic is also therapeutic. In my car, I would play music with the windows always rolled up, even when it is steaming hot inside, because I own my space with sound. The travel time, the background music, and the reassurance that I am going somewhere gives me the perfect environment to sort out my thoughts. That’s why I love long drives on the highway ever since I got my first MP3 player and ear buds. I would watch the road marks appear and disappear in beat with my music while my family argued or slept in the van. Even now, I enjoy long, half hour rides to my therapist listening to songs on repeat on my perfect HTC One phone and Beats Solo headphones. Something about watching cars go by and the sun shine down on a green valley or dry, grassy hills makes me take a deep reflective breath and promise to never leave southern California again after college. The New England snow is beautiful and the trees and little houses there look like they’re from a postcard, but the glow of the Californian sun is more than precious gold, it’s also a warm, reassuring feeling that another beautiful day is waiting for me tomorrow.
I’m going to disappear senior year — socially, that is. I realized that I’ve done a very bad job making and keeping friends in high school, so I’m pressing the Big Red Button on my social life. I’m the loner who sits by myself during lunch not because but because I don’t get the point in spending time with anyone unless school or club work is involved. Therefore, I understand how the friends I have are closer to other people than me, because I never made the effort. And honestly, I view that distance as a luxury.
Basically, I never got the point of friendship. We meet, get along for a while, and all of sudden it becomes a commitment. Then I would hang out with people I actually have classes with because we actually talk about something productive. Then “old” friends would scowl that they’re not cool or smart enough for me. No, I’m just talking to my friends from class, but I guess that violates their imaginary contract for friendship.
I also can’t “be there” for my friends. I know I would seem like a nicer person, but I don’t know how to sympathize with a friend in tears or how to be extremely happy with a friend who’s extremely happy about something. I think it’s because I refuse to dump emotional outbursts on my friends and expect them to do the same for me, and I think it’s working out pretty well.
The Girl Scout song goes, “Make new friends and keep the old.” I’m disenchanted at how we can’t keep both without getting hurt, we can’t choose between silver and gold without being judged, and we will eventually get tired of spinning in the circle that has no end.
I get it if people criticize me as a heartless, lazy, self-centered outcast. I really enjoy my solitude and business only attitude, because I don’t have the emotional capacity for friendship.