He wanted me to explain it…
Tell him why I wore distance affixed to my soul like a badge of honor.
And I wanted to tell him. I really did. But I didn’t know where to begin. How do you find the origin? For as long as I can remember I’ve felt that people are bad. That they were put on this earth to judge me. Nit-pick. Find my flaws and highlight them. I feared strangers as a child, but if I’m honest I feared people in general. With people come hidden agendas, and intentions, and I was always taught to be on guard. Not trusting people was ingrained into my core, and I’ve lived wielding a sword for a lifetime now.
I am the Warrior of Avoidance.
I knew something wasn’t right when I was 11.
I didn’t want to go outside and play with other kids. Just the thought of it would render me sick with chest pains.
I wouldn’t answer the telephone when it rang. The sheer shrill of the incessant clanging caused a knifing ache beneath my ribs, and I would put my hands over my ears and bend low to the floor until someone else answered it.
I knew the voice on the other end of that machine was going to request something of me, my interaction, and if I hadn’t had the time to properly prepare myself (emotionally), to accept 2 minutes of dialogue, I could not pick up the phone.
Surprises were not good. A knock on the door? No. It went unanswered. Every interaction or meeting had to be planned. I had to self-talk and force myself, to act normal.
There… I said it. I never felt normal.
Truth be told, I didn’t even want to hear another person breathe in the air around me. Any social contact made my heart race into places a child should never venture. I could not breathe. I didn’t understand why. I found myself hating people yet yearning for attention at the same time.
This would always be my Achilles heel.
Talking to another soul has always ripped mine in half, and I still find myself speaking as rarely as I can. I can do it. I can do it well. But I don’t like it. I want to. I hate to.
People mistake this for being shy, stuck-up, or “backward” as I’ve been called so many times. But it is so much more.
Yes, I’ve managed over time. I have good days now. I sought therapy. I married. I parented. I have college degrees and a successful career behind me. I learned to hide it from the world. I endured it. I forced my smile upon the Universe and dove into experiences that made me nauseated and throw up when I left. There were seasons in my life where I delved into the temptations of this screwed up planet to bolster my confidence. I’m not proud of those times – but I will justify them to my last breath.
I get through. I persevere. It’s easier now. But, it’s still here, living within me…
I was… and I am, an introvert.
And I will always feel like a ‘Solo Being’ in a world of multiples.
So when he asked me to explain it. I did.
But I could not make him feel it. And he left…
Because some people cannot grasp the fact that people like me exist.
I’m the person you talk to everyday…and you have no idea. You have no knowledge of the strength it is taking me to stand and look you in the eye and actually speak.
You don’t know that people like me are silently screaming inside, and that those screams haunt and wail 24 hours a day.