Socializing is hard.

I’m dipping my toes into the water of seeing people again. Know what I’m remembering? I constantly feel like I’m forcing my presence on people and they don’t actually like me. They just don’t want to feel mean for telling me to go away.

For most of my life, I didn’t really have anywhere to invite people over. My house was… not ok. That was true for most of my first 25 years. I would try. I love inviting people over but nothing could ever be consistent or predictable. My life wasn’t consistent or predictable. That has changed a lot since I’ve been living here. Except the last two years have been really rough. For going on two years now I haven’t felt good about inviting anyone over here.

I bless the hearts of people who invite themselves over. You have no idea how loved I feel when you make that effort. It’s such a big deal. When I’m in a dark place and my head wants me to believe that no one could actually like me, I trot out lists. “But ____ just invited themselves over. SEE! I’M NOT A COMPLETELY WORTHLESS SHIT PILE.”

I do that. Literally. Thank you for seeing me and coming over. It’s a much bigger deal than just the visit. I console myself with the knowledge of you in between visits.

I used to invite myself over to other peoples houses. I did tons of that with Jenny. I never knew for sure if she wanted me there or if she didn’t want to deal with the conflict of telling me to go away.

I still feel that way about people in my life. If I invite myself over, does that mean they want me there or that they are afraid of the conflict of telling me to go away.

It doesn’t actually take much conflict. A short simple email, “I think I’m done seeing you.” I will never make eye contact with you in public again.

I’m easy to get rid of.

I think I’m going to need to retreat back into inviting people to my house. They will come if they want to and I don’t have to feel like I’m a bad person for inviting myself into their space.

This is probably part of why I haven’t tried harder to maintain hobbies. I never feel comfortable being in other peoples spaces. I always feel like an intruder, an unwanted intruder. I am the problem.

I don’t invite myself over because I want to torment you. I invite myself over because I love you and I think you are wonderful.

I am sorry to impose.

I am sorry. I am so very sorry.

So if you ever wonder why I don’t invite myself over, this is a lot of why. It is hard.

Do you know what I think is kind of funny? I spend a lot of time feeling paranoid because I talk a lot about my social anxiety and how hard interacting with people is for me. But then I come across men who tell me that they just can’t do social interactions because they are so much harder for them than they are for me. HAVE YOU READ MY BLOG?! DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH TIME AND ENERGY I SPEND PROCESSING EVERY GOD DAMN SOCIAL INTERACTION? I PREPLAN SCRIPTS. I AGONIZE OVER PRESENTATION AND TONE AND DEMEANOR. I RIP MYSELF APART AFTER EVERY CONVERSATION CONVINCED THAT I RUINED EVERYTHING BY BEING A WORTHLESS PIECE OF SHIT. AGAIN.

Tell me again how hard socializing is for you.

I COME HOME FROM VISITING FRIENDS AND SPEND DAYS CRYING BECAUSE I’M CONVINCED I SAID THE WRONG THING.

Tell me again how hard socializing is for you.

I maintain relationships as my religion and I put as much effort into it as most people put into their education and career. I’m an incredibly lucky person that I am able to put this much time into this part of my life.

That doesn’t mean it is easy.

The people I love are very different from me. Sure, we’ll have one or two things in common about which we bond… but mostly… I’m different. I’m just something different. I don’t have a lot in common with anyone. And yet I do. It’s weird. I have things in common with almost literally anyone. I’m good and I’m bad and I’m intense and I’m experienced in a wide variety of areas.

I can bond with almost anyone if I guess the right angle first. If I fuck it up and attempt to bond on a non-connecting point I often alienate the shit out of someone and there isn’t recovery from that.

Believe me, I know.

But I guess right a lot. I do well.

That doesn’t change the fact that it is hard. I just don’t let it being hard slow me down. I cry because it is hard, but I don’t stop. Ok, maybe I do let it being hard slow me down. I don’t always have enough energy to pour into trying to create connections. It’s been a slow year. It’s been a year when the energy of pouring into relationships exceeds what I get back so every touching of base is hard and I know I need to do it anyway.

I don’t maintain relationships because they are perfectly fulfilling in every exact moment. I maintain relationships because I think you are wonderful and I want to see what you do with your life. I am curious about you. I want to know if there is anything I can do (pathetic as I am) to help you have an even more wonderful life. Because I want to see you have a wonderful life–even if there isn’t a darn thing I can do to influence that.

Why not? There is no deserve. There is no should. There is no “right” to have any kind of life. Why not help you have a wonderful life? No one deserves one. Not to have one and not to not have one. Why not work towards it if possible?

What makes a life wonderful? Oh that varies. What people value varies so much that there is no one twue way.

My daughter asked me yesterday if I expect her to have children. I told her that I don’t. I want her to have the life she wants to have and I have no desire to tell her what that will include. I don’t know what job she should do. I don’t know if she should parent. I don’t know if she should end up monogamous or polyamorous. I don’t know where she should live or if she should stay near me.

Those decisions are not up to me and I need to be supportive of whatever she decides. I don’t own her. I just get to enjoy her company for a little while before she decides who she wants to be in this world.

I’m getting to lead the life I wanted to lead in a more profound way than almost any creature ever experiences. I picked this life when I was 17. Now, going on 20 years later… I’m doing what I said I would. It is more fun and joy than I expected it to be. I thought it would be much harder.

I plan for the worst.

Having more children is terrifying. I have two children who knock my socks off. They each have areas where they do super well and areas where they are utter crap and we have built systems around supporting them in these differing developmental areas.

What am I going to do if next kid is a completely different set of needs. It’s like the problem of adopting, where it is just a roll of the dice. Only with adoption you start out with separation trauma.

My own separation trauma is so huge. I am still barely learning what it means to be a mother. I’m still learning what it means to be a person and a friend. Recently I’ve been reading through studies about what it does to the brain of an infant to have their mother not want them, to hate them in utero, to not stay with them.

It explains a lot of my sensory seeking, impulsive, self destructive behavior in life.

I mean, not really. There is no “x causes y” like that in life and behavior. Not really. But there are connections and impacts that radiate out like a wave.

Being the product of rape hurts you. I wasn’t in foster care until I was three, but then I was in foster care on and off until I was, what 16? And the three years I lived with both biological parents were full of violence, screaming, drugs, rage problems, and sexual assault.

I’m having a really really really hard time dealing with having men in my house who call me a whore.

This is getting really hard. I’m feeling so sad.

And now we are getting to the tile. Where I’ll have to be in with them all day. I’m trying to figure out how to handle this.

Talking to their boss only helped a little. I sorta wonder if I should sit down with my damn grammar workbook and dictionary (no I do not want to just use google translate) and try to write up some things I want to say in Spanish. I am not confident in verb tenses and that is a lot of what prevents me from being able to speak at speed.

I need to deal with this.

It’s kinda funny to me. I like having Noah call me a whore. Sometimes. In some circumstances, which are very highly constrained. That shit can’t just be used all the time.

It’s funny to me. I think sex work is a highly respectable and respect worthy line of work. I’m not fussed about someone thinking I might do sex work.

But don’t stand in my house and call me a whore. Ok, they said puta. WHAT-FUCKING-EVER.

But I understand that shit talk is a lot of how these men of color deal with living in an unfair system. I’m not a victim here.

I really want to stuff all of this and sit on it and grit my teeth and just get through the project.

I want to figure out how to sit there and tell stories. I want to tell them why I am making the art I’m making. I want to say that no, my daddy is not paying for this. My daddy was a violent pedophile who killed himself instead of going to prison for raping me.

No. My daddy’s money is not paying for this.

Fuck you.

But without the fuck you.

The best case scenario here is that we are all humanized more. I don’t want to attack them to defend myself. I want to see if I can be seen as a person instead of as a symbol of a system that does deserve to be attacked.

If you really see me as a person and you still think I deserve to be attacked, fine. But I’m having a hard time dealing with all the shit talk.

To be fair, things have cooled off a little after I emailed their boss. But it slowed down it didn’t stop.

I’m struggling with how to deal with my feelings. And it is a cloud hanging over my head. I don’t see my therapist till January. Fun. She’s having a great international vacation. Good for her.

Know why she keeps not getting fired? Because when we have a conflict she models fantastic conflict skills. That’s a woman who could walk through fire. If I start shouting in a way that normally triggers the fuck out of people–I make people want to fight she will say, “Oh, you have a point.” Then… the anger just kind of deflates. I drop from this huge anger posturing and bullshit upset to… oh. Yeah. I do.

All of a sudden I can feel the anger but I don’t have to act it out.

It’s kinda weird to explain.

It was good to articulate how I set therapists up as Authority Figures and it is very challenging when they fuck something up. That Fucks With My World View. I’m a strangely rigid person in many ways. I need my Authority Figures to  be kinda… invisible in how they are human.. It’s not fair. It’s why I try not to let my Authority Figures be people who are seriously in my life. That’s not a fair role.

We all fuck up.

She asked if there was a way to repair trust. I said that telling me that I have a right to be angry with her because she fucked up and she is sorry… goes a long way.

Sometimes it feels so complicated that every person who acknowledges a wrong doing is part of this huge thing in my life where I’m trying to repair the damage caused by very important people not being able to apologize for what they did.

My father can’t exactly apologize, now can he? Fucker.

But i can apologize to people when I fuck up. I can try to do better.

I can figure out how to not run from every problem but instead figure out how to repair and move on. If other people meet me part way. It is looking for that part way that is important. What does that mean? It means something different in every relationship. In every time I talk to anyone.

I  need to get better at figuring out what someone going a certain distance means. It’s so much work.

I love you. I’ll probably keep trying. Hard isn’t really that much of a deterrent.

I don’t know how much my mother loved me, but I believe she did love me a little. In many ways I was the joy that came out of a lot of sorrow for her. But she also didn’t want me. These things are complicated.

There’s a line in a Reba McEntire song that I never really got until recently. “I don’t need any more accidents in my life.”

Man. That song. The class issues. The gender issues. Respect. What does it mean to be worthy of what. What is survival.

And my breakfast is ready. The day is starting. No more time for navel gazing.

3 thoughts on “Socializing is hard.

  1. Quiet One

    I’ve been trying really hard to maintain my silence these past months but sometimes I just have to say something.

    The Spanish language, especially Mexican Spanish is almost always heavily laden with profanity. I listen to my co-workers practically cuss each other out casually and everyone laughs about it.

    My father called me a cabrón more times than I’ll ever remember. It was never meant will ill intent.

    It’s weird, what they are doing is wrong, absolutely. However it’s not such big deal to them, the impact of what they are saying translates into English a lot worse than they intend.

    Talking to them might actually help.

    Reply
    1. Krissy Gibbs Post author

      I did this today and that’s pretty much how the conversation went. We spent a lot of time talking about the difference between the Spanish among the different countries the guys were from. Apparently some of the Salvadorean dudes are running into problems on multiple jobs because they… use words folks react to. It isn’t just me.

      Reply
  2. Valia

    On a rather small level (based on what you write), I think I can understand about finding socialization difficult.

    I feel the same way myself sometimes. I know so many people – people who have been a part of my life in 1 fashion or another for 10-20 years … and yet I can’t say that I really KNOW those people. A lot of them seem quite happy to see me when we happen to be in the same places … but it seems (to me) that many of them have no interest in interacting with me outside of that … and the times where I’ve reached out to indicate that I’d love to form a closer friendship and see people outside of munches & parties … not a lot comes of it.

    I wasn’t good at forming deep/close friendships (partially due to moving so much, I think) when I was growing up … and I guess it’s a skill I still haven’t managed to acquire now that I’m 46.

    Reply

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