So, I was looking through my journaling prompts and this one really caught my eye:
What’s the one thing that people always misunderstand about you?
JUST THE ONE? angst. But there’s SO MUCH to tell.
Actually, the first thing that came to mind when I thought about that question, is how people always assume I’m friendly or social or outgoing. I actually talked about this in another entry:
“I can’t imagine you not being social!” or “You’re so social!” No, I’m a faker, I hate all of you, and you’re annoying, go away and leave me to the garden. But instead of expressing that, I smile and nod and say thanks….
So really let’s talk about it in depth, since I never do. What people see from me is most likely an eager hostess, who loves to talk and have meaningful conversations and probably interesting stories and more social grace than you’d expect from someone raised by wolves in Appalachia. I don’t know when this shift happened, but it was sometime in adulthood. As a kid and teenager I was more of the quiet weirdo who wore homemade Led Zeppelin shoes and a trenchcoat. Haha. Truthfully I had no desire to stand out or interact, because I’d never been urged to do so by my family and foster care was not the place or time to blossom into a socially developed human. My parents, my dad in particular, actually lectured me to keep my ‘head down’ and stay out of trouble. I think this likely came from his time in prison, as I’ve heard others who have learned similar, say so.
Whatever the cause, I was not urged to be social or friendly under any circumstances. My parents were borderline xenophobic, and held themselves and us in high regard; we were better than others and it was by their grace that they bestowed conversation upon people. (I still maintain characteristics of this mentality today.) Add to that the fact that I was abused and lived in poverty; I had all the traits you’d expect from a child who endured that environment. Yet there must exist in me some charm that I’m unaware of, because people started talking to me when I was an adult and began enjoying my company.
I’d say I started to come out of my shell my final year in high school, and when I moved to Utah at 19 I really began socializing. Again I don’t really find myself witty or interesting or fun to hang out with but others disagreed, and I had friends and went to parties–a lot of it was superficial, but a lot of it was also genuine. Still, my introvertedness stuck out like a sore thumb. I cried at the prospect of spending the night at a friend’s house when I was around 20–I only ever slept at home and being away from home for that long was too much to bear. I honestly thought I was insane for awhile and just suffered through these idiosyncracises, before I got older and wiser and had a better handle on who I was.
As it turns out, I much prefer written communication to verbal. I prefer online friends to friends in person. I hate and avoid eye contact. The vast majority of social courtesies exhausts me and smalltalk makes me want to kill someone. Even genuine and fun encounters are really terrible for me. Many times I’ve been out with friends, either drunk or sober, and my friends are having an obvious blast and comment on the fun we’re having and my inward response is basically