While lying in bed last night my brain, as is its wont, decided to punch into overdrive and basically review my whole entire life until this moment. Of course, the conclusion I remember drifting off to sleep with was “How on earth did I end up as this semi-reclusive computer junkie with the social skills of an overprotected Laura Ashley printed virgin?”
Ok, so perhaps my brain exaggerates because there’s certainly nothing virginal about me – and I DO have social skills, they’ve just become considerably rusty. (But yes, I am a computer junkie. I spend a good 45% of my life on this thing, so that part is no exaggeration.) Granted, despite the emotional backlash that embodies the M episode of my life, I have a steady, semi-romantic live-in boyfriend who is happy with me just the way I am. (Perhaps I exaggerate here too. I’m sure he’d love it if I could get my mood swings under control so we could have an entire week without me either freaking out about something or being overkill with the enthusiasm. Hell, I would too.) But I can’t help seeing the relationship as an accomplishment – especially considering the curve I was starting on what, 5 years ago now? Yes. 5 years. I’d rashly vowed to myself that I was never going to fall in love again and that men were good for one thing only – and that only if absolutely necessary. I recall that upon my first meeting with J, I announced that I hated men, and made no bones about who I was or what I thought about anything. In fact I believe I was grossly blunt on occasion. Of course, that backfired because he liked me regardless. Imagine that. And I hadn’t even been pretending.
Up until that point in my life I had made a huge effort to be what people expected of me. This is, of course, why previous relationships had failed, since I wasn’t being true to myself and the other party was inevitably missing something. It never occurred to me that a guy would like me just the way I was. Why? Well, lets just say we’re still working on that equation. (Of course, it might have something to do with how repressed my family is about things like sex and relationships. Even though I was encouraged to ask questions, it was done so with an air of disapproval that never made it easy to do so.) Of course, where I got the idea that I had to change myself in order to be acceptable to members of the male species is a subject of much mental debate. It’s enough for this post that it was there, and deeply ingrained.
So, that is an accomplishment. So is completing my University degree. However, said degree and the amount of work involved definitely had a negative effect on my social life – which perhaps was, in part, part of my subconscious plan. Following in the wake of the M episode it gave me the excuse I needed to hide from people I knew. I could avoid that stomach-dropping dread I’d get when someone would ask me how I was, because there was no way on earth I could give a decent answer. No way to express what was going on in my head – and worse, it was nothing they really wanted to think about. Thus, it was also an excuse to avoid the whole M topic altogether, because no one at the University knew him, or about him and thus couldn’t ask me about it. I could pretend to be just another bookish chick with an academic ambition, end of story.
Ii really hit home this week, 5 years later, while I was sitting at a barbeque and stumbling over words while attempting to speak with people I used to chat with every single day of my life. Is it really any wonder I failed to reconnect? I’d spent so much time severing the ties because I was fucking embarrassed. So embarrassed over the fiasco with R and the karmic backlash of the M episode, that I just wanted to hide. And I did. I buried myself in classes and in J and trying to build a life out of that that I forgot most everything else. I realise it’s no excuse in the long run, because I’ve been a bad friend. As a result I lost contact with so many people – and I regret it.
So: to those of you who, in the last five years, have needed a friend and found me absent in more ways than one – I apologise. I realise it’s too little too late, but for what it’s worth, I really am very, very sorry.
However, for those of you who’ve stuck around despite my selfish rock-hiding and sporadic communications: Thank-you. Thank you so much. You have no idea what it means.
Listening to: Snows of the Sahara – Enigma