I actually have a giant wheel in my room that I spin whenever I want to do some sort of personal history entry/explanation on why I'm so fucked up. Today I decided to delve into my solitary tendencies.
In short, my mother neglected me as a child. Okay not really, she just never played with me, which sounds horrible. The reasoning was that she didn't want me to depend on my parents for entertainment, and in that released me from any dependence on external influences for entertainment. They also started letting me play outside by myself at the age of five or six. I'm not sure what I did when I was out there, but I remember going outside for hours alone and being entertained.
I had a pretty active imagination as a kid, and I would have internal conversations with myself a lot. Sometimes I would be thinking about the situation I was in and play out different scenarios based on taking different actions. This is probably where the desire to write comes from since the basis of my type of writing (novels) is 'what if this happened?' (And then 100,000 words worth of finding out.)
I don't know if my poor social skills caused my loner-ness, or my loner-ness caused my poor social skills, but the two were always intertwined when I was younger. (Now I'm actually pretty skilled socially when I want to be, but I don't often want to be.) I was a huge dork in elementary school, and worse, completely oblivious to how huge a dork I was. Not even my athleticism could save me from that fate. I guess that's kind of a good thing since I often didn't realize when people were making fun of me.
Even though we lived in a planned community and I knew lots of kids that lived nearby, I always had one or two really close friends, and that was all. This phenomenon, a hallmark of introverts, has stayed with me throughout my life. I never was a group or clique type of person, which is probably equal parts introversion and the complexity of my interests. I don't know many people who lettered and won championships in two sports (real sports that made cuts, not track, football, or lacrosse), Captained the Math League and Science Olympiad teams, and published three poems. Kind of hard to peg that to a group.
Then at the end of sixth grade we moved from Rochester to Syracuse. It was probably a good time to move as the graduating classes of several elementary schools were funneled into one middle school so there were a lot of people who didn't know a lot of people. I continued my tendancy of having one best friend and a few other people I knew fairly casually up through eighth grade when that friend moved a few towns over. Ninth grade saw me start to get to know a few different people, and tenth grade (first year in the high school) continued that trend as my transition into the honors program gave me classes with those same people.
For the first time I actualy tried to fit myself into a clique, mostly because I had a few friends in that clique and liked one of the girls in said clique. Unfortunately it was not meant to be as they'd been fairly established friends for a few years and were not soliciting members. I remember conversing with a tall friend (who wound up attending the same college as me) about how I wished I were in that particular clique. His response was "yeah...but you're not." Ouch.
I can't say I blame them, cliques are by definition very wary of new members and I really didn't fit in anyways. I didn't have a lot of confidence which made my dorkiness much more apparent and I was still pretty socially oblivious. If I had the confidence I do now, I probably would have been a shoo-in, but I still had some growing to do.
Luckily my class schedule worked out so I had lunch with the people I considered to be my close friends so I saw them fairly often. My typical weekends either involved having them sleep over, or just hanging around my myself. Loner-ness had attached itself to me like a vice made out of superglue (which is then comprised of tiny vices) and was never going to let go.
I can honestly sit around by myself for days on end, perfectly happy with little to no human contact. Being imaginitive and a writer is probably the biggest reason as to how I can do this without going crazy. "Who needs your world? I shall create my own!" Some of my happiest times have been sitting alone in my room and reading or writing.
That last sentence two paragraphs up is kind of funny to me, because heading into senior year, I did have the confidence. It was that knowledge that made me realize I was better off saying fuck-all to cliques and existing as my solitary self. I remember having been afraid to bring Star Trek books to school to read during study hall for fear of being made fun of until senior year. I had had enough of worrying about being 'the dork' and decided I was fine with being myself, because I was pretty awesome. (Still am.) And no one ever said a word to be about said Star Trek books.
That same senior year I probably got to know the most new people. (Funny what confidence can do.) But I didn't make too many new friends. I'm not really the 'making friends' sort. At that time I was nearing being a hundred percent comfortable with being myself, even if people would think I was weird hanging alone in my room friday nights while everyone else partied and drank.
Every once in a while I run into someone who either intimates that I am a loser, or says it explicitly. (The internet is kind of good for that.) It amuses and annoys me depending on my mood. Amusement because it's a terribly close-minded thing to say (and because it's the fucking internet...everyone here is a loser). Annoyance because introverts get such a bad rap in society. For whatever reason extroversion has emerged as "the right way to be," and introversion indicates that there is "something wrong" with a person. A flawed perception since studies have shown that people are split pretty evenly between being introverted or extroverted.
I like what those experience have molded me into for several reasons. I like being able to entertain myself without much external stimuli, to go to places that others find boring and find only amusement. I like writing and being able to create my own worlds where all the shitty people die and all the good people get tons of bitches and hos. And quite honestly, I like spending time with myself because I like myself. Let's face it, I'm just awesome.
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