I’m sorry if I seem uninterested
Or I’m not listenin’, or I’m indifferent
Truly I ain’t got no business here
But since my friends are here, I just came to kick it
But really I would rather be at home all by myself
-Here by Alessia Cara
The first time I heard Here by Alessia Cara I instantly related to it. I felt like the song was written about me on some levels.
I’m not good with socializing. I suck at going out, I suck at being in large groups of people–even people I have known for years. Actually, I pretty much suck at talking to everyone in large groups and people I haven’t known for about a decade in general.
I have severe social anxiety. It takes me days to work up to making phone calls, I have a hard time running errands without planning every step of the time I have to be out in public. Over the years there have been hundreds of events that I have been interested in going to but have skipped because I couldn’t find anyone to go with me.
There have been events that I have dragged myself to where I’m that socially awkward turtle in the corner playing on my phone and pretty much hanging out by myself. Since having Monster I’ve been the helicopter mom always with her baby. It’s not because I think that Monster needs constant supervision but she’s become my beard for social gatherings, the part of my identity I feel like people can see and understand so I use her to hide behind.
The unfortunate side effect of being a socially awkward turtle is that a lot of people take my inability to talk to people (who I would really like to be able to talk to!) as disliking them. There are a number of people who have complained to friends and family over the years saying I’m unfriendly and unsociable and it’s not true at all. It’s just when I’m with new people or in large groups my brain shuts down and I don’t know what to say.
Recently I was at an open house for C’s cousin and his great-aunt asked if I stayed home with Monster. I burst out laughing and blurted “Hell no!” before I could think twice of it. Here’s this nice, seventy-something lady asking a reasonable question and I’m bursting out my curse words and laughing in her face. I didn’t mean to and I immediately regretted it but that little filter that warns me not to say things seems to be faulty and goes out whenever I’m in social situations.
This is why I usually stay quiet and hang out in my safe corner with my phone.
I appreciate everyone who invites me to things even though I never show up. I appreciate the people who understand the effort it takes to go out in the first place and don’t force me into conversation. I promise, it’s not you, it’s me.
When I’m hiding in the corner on my phone it’s not because I don’t want to be there, it’s because I don’t know how to interact with people. It’s not that I don’t like you, it’s that I don’t know how to talk to people in general and less so when we’re in a group. It’s not that I dislike the people we’re with it’s that the part of my brain that processes social situations is broken and I just can’t process that many conversations at once so I sit and I listen but I’m always happy to be included.