What it feels like…social settings edition.

Ever run through the entire night out with friends in your head and think about all the times you were awkward or said something dumb for a few days after..maybe weeks if you felt you really made an ass of yourself? This on top of the weeks in advance of the party where you stress about going and having to “perform” and act “normal”. And hating small chit chat so much and wishing so much you could talk about the things you actually like to talk about. To the point that you just decide being quiet is probably best for everyone and then people just assume you are really shy and maybe you are a little shy but really you just don’t know wtf to do or say?

Now imagine that happening every single time there was a party or event..your entire life. I will say when I am around people more like me..artists mostly..it’s a more comfortable thing with slightly less anxiety moments. Only when I moved to CA did I have the opportunity to experience a relaxed way of being with truly like minded souls. But when I’m not around those people…it’s uncomfortable work and exhausting. I used to over drink to relax at parties but even then I don’t like to drink and had less control over things and I hate being in a state of mind where I’m not in control SO much that it just wasn’t worth it anymore. Took a few years to get it through my head that was not helping and I was doing something again I didn’t enjoy doing but eventually I got it and it’s not an option anymore. Honestly..I think my autism protected me from becoming an alcoholic in a way. I don’t know if that’s a thing but I do know I never ever liked drinking and getting drunk and the loss of more control I felt. Hated it actually. I did it because everyone else was. Especially when younger. And growing up in WI. Where if you weren’t hunting or fishing..you were drinking or doing both.
I did not ever feel like I fit in there. Ever. I faked it a lot there. I guess I “masked” a lot there. And I hate that I felt I always had to be something I wasn’t all the time there.
With everything. As a mother I didn’t fit in. As a woman. As a daughter. As a sister. As a friend. I felt like I was just there waiting for a time when I could just not do what was expected of me anymore and then I could be happy. Maybe if I moved away.…

But I moved away several times and surprise..still dealing with the same things. Can’t run away from yourself. You heard it here first. But boy all the many many things I did to try. Life long trying to figure out how to just fit in somewhere ANYWHERE! Always feeling like nope..I don’t fit in here either. Even with a wonderful group of artists..even with them…I did not feel like I fit in. I love them dearly. So much it makes me tear up because they are the closest thing I’ve found that makes me feel normal. But even with them I felt off..different. Even with them. And I can’t explain how disappointed that made me feel. How really isolated it made me feel. It made me think it must be me. I’m broken somehow. I’m ruined maybe by the trauma I experienced. But really wtf is wrong with me?? What is it??

Until recently…I beat myself up so much about this. And even now I still go back and forth between this is just how I was born to no I need to try harder I’m broken somehow. But I have tried my entire life. I really have. I forced myself a million different times to just try it you’re just being a stick in the mud just get out there and do it. And I have. And I never enjoyed any of it. And I still don’t know what the answer is. I still don’t see any answers for this. Everything I am reading is telling me to embrace who I am. Be okay with who you are. You simply don’t get into being social and comfortable in a social environment. In some ways I feel relief about that and less guilty at home doing my little things and in others I feel the ache of not being part of “normal” things. I still have this desire to just fit in and enjoy being part of a group and comfortable in social settings.

It’s an interesting new thing for me…to feel utter relief and conflicted. Maybe I just need more time to sit with this diagnosis. Maybe I’m expecting everything to magically make sense now and that’s just not how things work. It took a life time to learn how to not truly be me…maybe I need a bit more time to unravel it and sit in my newly understood skin. We will see.

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