Feeling Isolated As A Kid

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I hated school.

I was a good student, but I did it all with gritted teeth and vindictive fury towards the entire education system that valued obedience and memorization and class participation rather than free-thinking, creativity and introspection.

Primary school was alright.

One, there weren’t any academic pressures.

Two, I was oblivious about being ostracized socially and spent a good deal of my time, all alone, cooped up in the school library. And that made me happy. This was back when libraries were still quiet. The world seems to get noisier every day.

Three, I still hadn’t faced my individuality. Basically, every time I felt a disconnect with my inner self and my surroundings, I ignored the discord and simply molded my mind and thoughts to fit in with others. Dialogue of moi rejecting myself:

What? This conversation is shallow. I don’t care about sport. I don’t care about what you are going to wear to the party. Why am I smiling so hard, why does it hurt so much, like my face is plastic being stretched? No, no, just smile, be happy, why isn’t this making you happy, something must be wrong with you, talk, talk, TALK. Be normal. SMILE.

But highschool. Highschool. That hellhole sure topped the cake.

Highschool was perdition. I felt like I was being scorched every day. My self-esteem and my sanity were being burnt off, slice by slice, until I was left raw, exposed, a twitching mass of muscle that frittered its way from class to class like a robot on overdrive. Mouth clanking open into smiles. Talking until my cells withered from exhaustion. People, everywhere. I felt like a sardine crammed into a tin case, the oiliness clogging up my brain and my lungs. And the libraries were noisy! Full of gaggling students. My haven was gone. My soul was left homeless. People had even desecrated this? They had already taken almost everything I held dear. But now, they had taken away this? This glorious depository of literature?

No-one understood me in highschool. I repeat, no-one. Sure, I had a couple of nice, sort of close friends. But they had barely scratched the surface of who I was. No matter how hard I tried to be genuine, I always tried to present a façade. Partially because I wasn’t sure who the real me was. Partially because I wasn’t sure I could express the real me through oral communication when written communication is a medium I feel far more comfortable in. Partially because I knew that people would not accept the weird, quirky, eccentric me and that even if I revealed that part of me, they would not understand. Different wavelengths with different signals can’t communicate. I do not mean that in an egotistic way. I just mean that I was different. It was like trying to cram two jigsaw puzzles together when they obviously don’t fit. You can’t make a picture, no matter how hard you yearn for completeness.

I was pretty much a loner. I hate to use that word, as it has such a negative connotation, as many adjectives describing introverted and sensitive people do (touchy, anti-social, quiet, boring) but I was. I drifted away from my group of ‘friends’ because I felt no personal connection with them. All my conversations with them were held on an entirely superficial level, they didn’t like or understand me and I was wasting my break times in pleasing them, being this artificial, extroverted clown, painting a red smile and hoping it would not crack and splinter into a bloodied grin.

So, I spent my lunchtimes alone. I hid from people, in whatever nook and crannies I could find in the school, retreating into books, my own thoughts, music, because I was so socially drained. I feel energy sapping away from me just by being in a room of people. It makes me feel self-conscious and insecure. And some people might say this is because I have no confidence. But since when did confidence equate with extroversion?

The worst part of highschool was my jealousy. I didn’t understand why it was so unfair. These laughing, happy, chatty people were incredibly happy. And they fit in with society. I wasn’t happy fitting in. But I felt ostracized, jeered at, demeaned and lonely when I was being true to myself and catering to my introverted needs. I had a lose-lose situation. They had a win-win situation. What could I do? Wasn’t I stuck?

I still struggle with this. Highschool isn’t the end of social situations. All of society is a swirling pot of interaction. Some bob and float to the top, happy as can be, while others sink.

I sink. I sink everyday. I sink to my watery death, hair trailing, fingers scrabbling at the water like frantic spiders, mouth open in a horrible, drowning gargle.

So this is what I grasp onto when I feel terrible about myself. When I feel like no-one in real life understands me or accepts me. When I sing songs and cry to myself because a lack of validation, a lack of belonging, is a starvation of the soul and I’m so hungry for people to see and understand me. Me. This essence in this flesh-sac. I retreat into my imagination:

One day, I’m going to have a small cottage, near nature, a bubbling brook, a grove of trees, away from civilization, remote. The entire house will be converted into a library. I will sleep on a bed constructed of books. I will read to my hearts content and write everyday. I will have a bevy of felines to comfort me. I will grow my own garden, to sustain myself. And no-one can bother me there. I will create my own validation, through my words, my imaginings. I will validate myself. I will create a place where I belong myself. I will shape my own reality.

And maybe, one day, I will float.

– Dreamerrambling

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13 thoughts on “Feeling Isolated As A Kid

  1. If you read my journals from high school, you would read the same feelings, reactions, and experiences you have expressed in this post. Not as beautifully written, but the same nonetheless. I want to say to you now about feeling awful “hey, it’s not so bad. Things will get better”, but if someone said that to me when I was feeling crappy, I would have wanted to punch them in the face. So, I won’t say that. All I will say is: you’re understood and keep writing.
    By the way, when did libraries get so popular and loud? I liked it better when libraries were uncool.

    • Thank you. And the loss of quiet libraries, at least around where I live (one of my libraries has installed a television screen for playing video games. My soul hurt at the sight), is one of the greatest tragedies of the modern world. I honestly believe that. Silence isn’t golden anymore. My dream of living in a remote cottage somewhere can’t come soon enough…but with these fantasies, I’m always afraid, as most people are, that they will only ever live inside my head. Your words, at least, were golden. Thank you.

  2. You sound so very sad in this. I never really fitted in either, and I often used to worry about getting “found out”. I also, truly believe, that none one other human being on this earth really knows me – and that includes the man that I have spent the last 15 years living with. I gave you trying a long time ago. I know who I am, and that is all that really matters. BTW – I didn’t notice ANY typos, I just wasn’t looking – your writing flows in a way that it probably wouldn’t matter if there were glaring mistakes!

    • Thank you. I honestly believe that as well – it’s one of the reasons I’m so wary to enter into any relationships. And that is so true. We can take comfort in knowing ourselves. And perhaps reaching out to others across the globe through a little blog who know us more than the people around us ever will.

      • Exactly. But despite feeling that nobody totally understands me, I am still in a very fulfilled, happy relationship. He knows that I am good, kind, reliable, responsible, and loyal (among others) – and actually, most of the time, that is enough. I know I have said this before, but I do think it is relevant – I am a lot older than you, and I do think I have grown into myself as time has gone on. It starts to be okay to some of the time be different. And I am sure the same will happen with you 🙂

  3. I remember in middle school hiding out in the bathroom, just so I wouldn’t have to be out on the lawn or whatever you call it in middle school (this was after lunch time). Hated it!

  4. Sounds a bit like my school experience. As I get older I am more TOLERANT of rules and people doing things the ESTABLISHED way but it still makes me want to be sick when I see it. The workplace can be worse than school though I think teenagers can be the cruelest most superficial of all (major generalization). I think adults are just as bad, just more polite and will be nice to your face. Anyway, I was a freak in school and had to be home schooled part of it (before that was a popular thing to do). Having crazy religious parents didnt help either (not saying religion is crazy, Just that my parents were fanatical at the time). When I hit my mid twenties, people seemed nicer. I think part of what drove me to computers is that in school, being a nerd was not cool but if you work in IT being socially awkward, nerdy and preferring to stay away from people is the norm (despite having to interract with people who have computer issues which I can do in small doses and I love helping people). Most IT people are introverts (or at least that has been my expeirence). Thank (deity of your choice) that adult life is not as bad as teenage life. I am having flashbacks to some dark times.

    • Sorry. As you get to know me, you will see that I can be scattered and sometimes do bursts of replies. I do that with emails too and drive people nuts. I seem to contradict myself saying adult life is better but the workplace can be worse. What I mean is, teenagers are more outwardly cruel whereas adults are more likely to backstab. Though in general its easier to be socially awkward as an adult. Where I struggle is I get depressed when I see injustices in the world and the awful things coporations do.

      I noticed you say you hate politics and until my mid 30s, I did too. However now I am more interested in them because I believe that we should do all we can to stand up against the “sheeple” and try to relieve the suffering of others.

      Wow, I really need someone to talk to, With my wife buried in her school work and adjusting to life in this little town, I feel a little isolated.

      I am glad your blog is here. I feel more listened to here than I do on FB most of the time.

      Sorry for being scatterbrained. I just am

  5. This was beautifully written (as are all your posts). It was like reading my life story. A wonderfully articulate, yet heart-breaking story. And like you said, the suffering doesn’t end when you enter the adult world either. And it’s so scary to know that it may never end, and that we may have to endure it for a lifetime. I am very happy being an introvert but I too envy extroverts, in that they can go out every day and just be their authentic selves, in a world that was made for them. (How blissful that must be!) Whilst we just try to enjoy every little scrap of happiness and comfort we can get.

    As you’ve probably guessed, I too am a highly sensitive, extreme introvert. With the added bonus of having social anxiety. Life is good! 😉 Anyway, I’ve now put my life in the hands of Susan Cain. She is the best hope we have of ever finally living OUR way, and for also having a more balanced world.

    One can but dream.

    Please keep writing, and take care.

    • Thank you. Ohmigosh. I can’t. I’ve been going through some of the comments on my blog, on the brink of tears, and now, at your comment, my eyes started watering a little. Happy, grateful tears, of course. I have social anxiety as well! I know it’s not something to be proud of, but, hey you’re not alone. It’s terrible to live with, but it’s, in some ways, I part of who I am, this awkwardness in social situations. I love Susan Cain, she is the brave advocate of introverts. I will dream with you, and, even if enough people dream, and try to put their dreams into action, it will become a reality. I’ve started elucidating my friends on introversion and extroversion, to spread my own little bit of awareness, and you could do that too. Thank you a million times and you take care of yourself too.

      From a fellow dreamer.

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