A Tiny Call For Help

I know very well that I’m only one tiny organism out of billions, and that my life does not matter much in the long run, that nothing matters, really, seeing as the sun will one day expand in a red wash of fiery energy and engulf the earth and instantly vaporise every single living creature on it, but…

                   …I skipped school today.

So many thoughts are swirling in my head, a crowd of vultures pecking at my skull for attention. I’ll try and stand still and let them descend, one by one, until they pick me clean. I would like to be a skeleton.

My loathing for school has reached an all-time peak, to the point where it is making me physically ill to attend classes. One of the main reasons for this is the impersonal nature of the educational system, where you have all these students crammed into a small space, chattering and laughing and socialising, while I’m left dangling at the fringes, trying to suppress immense anxiety at my own awkwardness. Today, in class, I sat next to someone who I had interacted poorly with many times, and almost had a panic attack right there in class. I seem to have a lack of ability to tolerate people at all, especially in crowds, and feel so starved of solitude my soul is withered with the deprivation.

Motivation for my classes have plummeted. Even some of my favourite subjects, like English, hold little allure for me anymore; every single class is so regimented and dull, it’s more like a game of connect-the-dots than actual learning. Teachers talk to us and we parrot back whatever they say. Hundreds of students clip-clop down the corridors down like automatons, faces gleaming with fixed, metal smiles. The entire affair is an object of horror, like lying down in a casket crawling with cockroaches. I want to scream. Hard little bodies are tickling over my tongue and down my throat to skitter among my organs. I want to scream.

After one of my classes, during which the teacher publicly showcased by incompetency for not keeping up with the coursework, I walked slowly by myself into the bathroom, locked myself in a cubicle and cried until I felt like I’d squeezed all the juice possible from my face. It was very dramatic, and stupid, but I was in so much pain, over everything, that I simply had to release it, though silently, so no-one in the cubicle next to me could hear. Then I just picked up my bag and strolled out the school gates and caught the bus home, even though I still had two more classes until the end of the school day.

Just like that.

A sense of surreality now overlays everything. I’m so detached and dead inside, even reality has begun to thin, and what lays beyond I do not want to see.

Honestly, what I’m writing may sound lighthearted, but it’s not. I’m really struggling. I hate saying that, because I don’t matter, but I just have to write it out, if only for the sake of catharsis. I’m really depressed. Social isolation at school has only grown worse: it seems as if I can’t relate to the other students at all, like they’re these gleaming, shiny, highly-developed creatures while I still remain stunted and unseen and strange, an abnormality from the Old Age. I can’t stand the lot of them. Teachers used to tell me I’m talented (before I started getting serious about my writing dream), the school counselor told me it would be a shame for me to drop out when I was such a bright student, but how can I POSSIBLY be a halfway-smart human being if my grades are falling like shot birds and I can’t even manage basic social interaction with my peers without a panic attack?

That’s the worst thing: the attacks from the inside are far stronger than the external. My desired path in life is to drop out of school, get a part-time job and obsessively pursue writing in my free time. But the self-doubt is overwhelming, clawing up my throat like goblins, until I can’t swallow, I can’t breathe, I can’t think, I can only choke and choke and choke. If I can’t even talk to the kids at school, how on earth am I supposed to land a job anywhere? And what places hire a highschool dropout? But the biggest doubt of it all squats squarely on my chest like a bloated slug the size of a bed, slime dripping into my eyes and mouth and nose: I doubt my own abilities. I doubt them so much I can’t even see anything except the slug, taste anything except the slime. I live in the swamp, every minute of my life, trying to keep the marshland out of my lungs. To take a gamble on my own writing and creative talents when I’m sure I’m delusional and fooling myself, is terrifying. I can’t speak for the terror. Even now, every word I write is atrocious, so terrible, that it makes me cringe. You are an idiot, the voice screeches. You’ll never be a writer. You’ll die with your words unsung, your books still locked away in the library of your heart. Quit dreaming.

Unfortunately, writing is the only skill I have. Anything that requires the slightest social interaction is odious to me – I do have social anxiety – and I have trouble relating to others which I’m sure is some terrible, personality defect. But I must get a part-time job to help my mother somehow, who barely scrapes by as it is without a drop-out daughter. My existence will be a stain upon her heart, and I don’t think I could bear to live in this world anymore if I were not able to get a job, if I failed my mother, my mother, who has already gone through so much.

These words are disgusting smears of excrement on the page. I blame sleep deprivation, to preserve my waif-thin ego, as last night I was so caught up in the web of my thoughts, so feverish with anxiety, that I did not sleep the entire night. At this rate, I’m afraid of becoming a downright dysfunctional human being, one of those twitching, haggard, neurotic ladies who cart around plastic bags like old ghosts. I’ll end up homeless, trailing the streets with my ragged dress and broken dreams, too dirty and lowly to even gain admittance to a public library and enjoy the books I so love.

I just feel so wrong. So broken and wrong, so bad and stupid, so silly and pathetic, so hopeless and useless. And I don’t know what to do. I fear that if I wallow in the black sticky pool of my thoughts any longer, I’ll drown. Today, while on my way home, for the briefest of seconds, I contemplated just running out onto the road on the off-chance I car would hit me and end this suffering. I obviously didn’t, but I was frightened that I’d even considered it. It would have been so easy.

The world is so loud. The cars are so loud. Everyone talks so loud. Everyone is coarse and hard around the edges. My aura is starting to gutter like a candle flame in their presence – soon, it will wink out, I know it will, it’s just a matter of time. Existential depression lurks always in the corner of my mind, an elegant demon in a gray-suit and with eyes cold as the universe. Books hold no allure. I can’t write. I can’t write.

I don’t even know what I’m writing about anymore. Words that once seemed to me a ticket to bliss now hang like fleshy growths from my body, misshapen and bloated and veined. None of my stories work, and each time I try to begin a novel, it runs out of steam before it leaves the station, sputtering and disintegrating into a mass of rusty parts and wheels. What do I have? Nothing. Not even hope. I just don’t…know…anything.

A Private Diary Entry: Bravery

scared

Dear Diary,

I am scared.

It’s strange, how shameful it is show your fear. You’re seen as feeble. Someone who revels in their own pain, and has the impoliteness to rip out their own intestines and show the pinkish-grey coils to others. No thank you. We don’t want that. I am scared, and I wish I knew why. I wish I could clinically extract my fear, distil it into a test tube, and then view it under a microscope to determine the best way to destroy it.

Do you ever find yourself curling your lip at your own behavior and thoughts? For a moment, you are disgusted and shamed by your own neurosis. All my life, I’ve been this tangled knot of fears and insecurities and anxieties. It’s pretty much like walking around as a human-shaped tangle of nerves. A network of live wires. I get thousands of shocks every single day, until I’m twitching and buzzing in pain. When you’re so…aware, so self-conscious, so sensitive, when loving yourself is harder than inching a nail through rock, everything hurts. It hurts so much. Honestly, it’s as if you don’t have a skin, that you’re just exposed to the world, slabs of red flesh lined with muscle laid bare for all to see and poke and prod at with surgical instruments. Lift up the gleaming organs. Stab the heart until it spurts and gushes a red fountain. It’s as if you’re entire soul is a festering canker sore. You’re a cat, festering with sores and itches and rashes, missing an eye, fur ripped out in places, crawling with fleas, and, most of all, mewling in pain, and yet they still beat you. Again and again and again.

I care too much about what people think. I’m terrified of being disliked. And this is at counter purposes with my desire to be individual. To be brave, and strong, and not care what people think. I fear everything under the sun. I fear the world. I fear it all, and it swallows me until I’m just a dark rush of shrinking. I try to be strong. We all try to be so strong, because we’re told that breaking under pain, curling up into a fetus to nuzzle at the imaginary flesh of our mother’s womb (Safe. Safe. Where has safety gone? I’ve lost it, long, long, long ago. I never feel safe. It’s all danger) is weak. Weakness is frowned down upon, in both men AND women. Strength and toughness are admired in our society, along with persistence and grit and being true to yourself. So, we are strong. We show ourselves to be strong. But being strong can sometimes be a cover-up. It doesn’t mean we aren’t hurting, hurting so much we’d rather fold ourselves into shadows and collapse into dust. I don’t know why I’m weeping a bit writing this. It’s just life. It’s all transient, and it all ends. That’s the thing about pain though – it always seems the most important thing in the world in the moment. Battling with anxiety, trying to handle social situations without looking like a fool, keeping your head up in a world that doesn’t understand you, feeling so wrong, so off, so defective, feeling so delicate and yet being told that we have to be TOUGH, tough and confident and assertive…it’s like being stabbed every day. Everyday. Wounds. Come home to lick the wounds.

I know I’m an overly neurotic, anxious, depressive, melancholy and obsessive person, but the knowledge of that does not make it any better. Only, it leads to self-hatred. Look at me. My insides are curdled with these thoughts. I feel lesser than others for being haunted by so many demons. Like I’m unhallowed. Add to this the desire for perfection in one’s art, and you’ve got an exhausting cocktail of angry shadows that seek to chew apart the deepest recesses of yourself. My writing has been taking a nosedive, along with my confidence, if it isn’t obvious already. My jewel, once so bright, and faceted, and tough, is being squashed like a mere grape. Squelch. I know it takes persistence. I know it takes hard work. I know I have to get used to misery, and create art despite the misery, even when it hurts. To run even when it hurts. Nevertheless, when you’re knee-deep in it, it’s hard. Especially when being bombarded by the talents of others. This envy is pointless and no-one cares about it, but I think that if anyone reads this diary entry, and feels the same way, and feels less alone for, then I will have accomplished my goal. I so want to love you. I so want to love everyone. I want to hug and love people. Why is that so hard? Believing in yourself is hard. Loving yourself is hard. Why is it the hardest to deal with ourselves? Why are we so often in conflict with ourselves? I wish we could separate the parts of ourselves into different people, and send them off to situations that require the specific functions. That way, I could send my confident and happy self into the world every day, rather than the hunched, scared self, wringing hands and giving weak smiles. It’s just life. We’re all going to die. But boy, must we suffer between the interval. There’s nothing I wish for more than to embrace other people who are suffering. When people suffer, and expose the rawness within themselves, a bottomless reservoir of affection within me rises up to the surface. I love the rawness. I love the pain in their eyes, not for some sadistic reason, but because it makes me feel close to them, makes me feel connected, as suffering humans.

I think I could only fall in love with someone who shows me their vulnerability, their suffering. There’s nothing I love more. As suffering organisms, all swimming in the same consciousness. If you’re suffering right now, I wish I could hug you. To wipe the tears from your eyes, and know, together, in our hearts, that this is all we have, this sun, this moon, these stars, this us. Just, to cry, and to know. I’m so idealistic when it comes to love I even laugh at myself, but it’s the bad kind of laugh, the kind of laugh you laugh to cover up the true pain underneath. I hate that about myself, you know? Independence is something I try to pride myself on. I use it to hold my head high and weather the batterings of life. I tell myself to be realistic. I tell myself not to hope for too much, for fear of getting disappointed.

Disappointment hurts more than any other emotion. It’s a grey wound, deep, and very, very quiet. When we’re sad, we cry, when we’re happy, we smile, when we’re angry, we shout and fume and seethe, but disappointment is silent. We just sit there, a little dumbfounded at the intensity of the pain, while the hurt nibbles at our soul like so many ethereal piranhas. We allow ourselves to be eaten, to be chewed, and do not run away, so stunned are we.

But, yes. Deep inside me, down where the glowing fishes and shipwrecks lie, there is a deep yearning larger and older than the universe for love. For true love. A grand, tired, sleeping fish, with sad eyes the size of countries filled with pale glitter. I tell myself it’s just a fantasy. I remind myself of my own parent’s divorce. I tell myself no-one can love me until I truly love myself. I tell myself love is transient. I tell myself there are more facets to love than that of the romantic. I tell myself I’m not worthy of love, that no-one could love anyone as messed up as me, as unwanted, as socially shunned, as misunderstood. Who wants a broken toy? No-one. I tell myself that I don’t need true love, that friendships and soulships and familial relationships are enough. I tell myself that a relationship won’t complete me, that life is dissatisfaction. That love can’t fill the gaps in my being. Nothing works. I’ve never even met true love, yet I yearn for it as deeply as mothers yearn for their lost children. The entire concept caters to my sensibilities so perfectly it makes me weep just to think of it. I yearn for it so hard it sometimes feel like my heart is ripping to shreds in the process. I yearn, oh!, how I yearn.

And how I loathe my own yearning. Sylvia Plath summed up my feelings perfectly in one of her quotes: “How we need another soul to cling to, another body to keep us warm. To rest and trust; to give your soul in confidence: I need this, I need someone to pour myself into.” The moment I saw this quote, grief stunned me in the chest, hard as a smote from a loved one. None of my family members understand the slightest bit of me. I want to be understood as much as I want to be a writer. I need to be understood as much as other people need to breathe. To grieve for something you have never known! To feel safe, secure, loved, understood by a single person. To be in someone’s arms, and to wake up in the morning to their soft comfort. To love. Love. Needless to say, if I ever loved, it would be with complete and utter devotion. If I ever loved, and were betrayed by that love, I would shrink from the world. There is no middle ground when it comes to emotions, when you’re an INFP and a HSP. It’s either splintering joy or crushing despair. I’m afraid of dying alone, and never being loved. I’m afraid I’ve idealised love too much. I’m afraid of loving too much. I’m afraid of losing the love I have not yet received. I’m afraid of pushing away love. Of being too socially awkward and in too much pain to open myself to love. I’m afraid of people being disgusted by me. I send the wrong messages. I do this stupid thing where I push people away, and act cold and aloof when what my heart really is screaming to do is to talk to them, get to know them. And this empty screaming inside me goes on and on. For instance, right now, dear diary, there is this one person I would really like to get to know. I keep bumping into him, and I’m afraid that he hates me for my coldness, my unresponsiveness. I would love to get to know him. I find him quite fascinating – incredibly logical, systematic, and grounded, yet kind and heartfelt, full of integrity and wisdom. I’m afraid of being too enthusiastic, and pushing him away. I’m afraid he won’t like me enough to let me talk to him.

I’ve kind of let the relationship (if it could be called that) devolve into mutual hostility from pretended apathy on my part, when all my heart wants to do is be amiable. This has been bothering me a good deal, and I’m afraid of not talking to him soon enough and thus giving my silly brain time to build him up in my mind, to fall in love with a fabrication of my own imagination. I’m afraid of falling in love with ghosts. I’m afraid of being seen as too obsessive or weird. I’m afraid of passing up an opportunity to get to know a good soul. Someone I can connect with. You can see that kind of stuff, in the eyes. The next time I bump into him, I’m going to try and strike up a conversation, and if it doesn’t work, if he brushes me off (a stab of rejection, deep into the sensitive flesh of my soul), then I’ll lift my head, put on a brave face while my heart cries, and move on. That’s what I always do.

Maybe if I yearn hard enough, I’ll disintegrate.

I’m going to write for a while, and then go to bed. I’m going to find solace through my distasteful words, and dream of better worlds. Of better “Me”s. Of true love. I’ll probably sniffle and a shed a few tears. And then I’ll wake up in the morning and scoff at this entry and scoff at myself and scoff at my words and toss my hair over my shoulder and go out into the world with a flat smile on my face.

I’m brave.

Love,

Anne

Anthem For Misfits

Anthem

I’ve suffered from an inferiority complex all my life.

No. It’s not just my own problem. It’s because of you.

You were so sure, so bold. So confident. You still are.

But the problem is, with that assurance came cruelty. Indifference. You batted me down, like an alleyway of cats swiping at a single desperate starling.

Your words were etched in stone. My own opinions, qualms and dislikes, even when I did voice them, evaporated like smoke. I was a ghost among the living, unheard, unnoticed, unheeded.

When you’re introverted, it’s hard not to be intimidated by extroverts of facile tongue.

When you’re sensitive, it’s hard not too feel weaker than your less soft counterparts.

When you’re a dreamer, it’s hard not to let the words of realists get to you.

Every word I hear in my day-to-day life is another nail hammered into the coffin.

You can’t be a writer. You don’t have any talent. Besides, it’s really hard, and takes a lot of time.

Thud. Thud.

You’re too sensitive. And optimistic. You need to start thinking realistically.

Thud.

Why are you so quiet?

Thud.

Only unintelligent students who will get nowhere in life skip school.

Thud.

You have to go to university to be successful. Otherwise, you’ll be a failure. Washed up.

Thud. Thud.

You must work at a job, even if you hate it. You must give up precious minutes of your life and stand at a desk shuffling papers and twittering on phones. This is the contribution of every good citizen.

Thud.

Follow our rules. When the bell rings, then you can go home. When the man turns green, you walk across the road. When everyone rushes in one direction, you better follow.

Thud.

You’re dead. You’re dead and buried, at least three feet down beneath the earth, and you can’t breathe. Thick earth clogs your throat. A thousand beetles scuttle industriously over your body. Rats chew out your eyes. You’re dead.

And how fantastically easy it is to live a life this way, with a tombstone weighing on your heart. There is nothing less stressful and more simpler than to coast along the path ordained for you, passed from hand to hand like a well-trained little puppy.

After all, that’s what they told us, and look at what tough, grand, glorious, knowledgeable people they are! Navigating through the perils of society like it’s only a little trip down to the corner store. Their words must be right. They understand the harsh realities of this world, and while they go out and succeed, sipping wine in their million dollar complexes, you’ll be a raggedy, homeless person by the curb with only the bitter dregs of broken dreams in your mouth.

No. I refuse to believe it. I refuse to believe what they say. I refuse to be buried. I refuse not to trust my own words, my own instincts, my own intuitions. I refuse to feel inferior every time you ignore me, talk to me, hate me, avoid me, look down on me. I refuse to see my strengths of sensitivity, creativity, quietness, insight, and understanding as weaknesses.

Enough.

I’d rather be a pigeon pecking at crumbs on the sidewalk than live on jeweled fruits in a gilded cage.

I’d rather be out in the open air, and see the sky, the clouds, the stars, than be buried in the most comfortable coffin.

Yes, I’m not like you.

I like to talk to flowers more than people. They can teach me more of life than you ever could.

I like my own company better than that of others. Our conversations will sparkle like stardust. You don’t like talking to me? You think I’m too strange and awkward and quiet? Good. Because I don’t like talking to you either. After conversing with you, the taste of lies and high-pitched laughter that lingers in my mouth reminds me of blood. My eyes are shiny and bright and blank as copper pennies after trying to light up for you. No more.

I like to be quiet, and I like silence. All the better to hear the mice chewing through your soul. Oh, did you know your face was cracking? Look, it’s splintering like plaster. Goodness, what squeaking. I wonder when they’ll burst your skin open and crawl down your chest in a tidal wave of furry grey bodies.

I like to daydream and imagine. It makes my existence happier. Sure, I might lose my keys. Misplace my money. Forgot phone calls. And maybe my imagination will not earn me a single dime – after all, like you said, I can’t become a writer, right? But don’t slap me across the face for it. Don’t rip my books out of my hands and slam my head into the jaws of a mechanical grinder. My brain works differently from yours, and, in the long run, you’ll lose more than me.

I’m soft. I’m sensitive. I’m a daydreamer. I’m quiet. I’m an introvert. I’m a misfit. I’m scatterbrained. I’m awkward. I’m solitary. I’m not like you.

But that does not make you better than me.

But we both have dreams, don’t we? Only, you sure like to crush mine, grinding your heels into my fingers until they break and bleed. You sure like to discount me. And I don’t need that. I have enough self-doubt as it is. I don’t need you to make me feel worse.

And your dreams of making big bucks and living the high life? They don’t touch upon the pulse of life. They are dead, shiny dreams, like slaughtered animals with hairy golden pelts.

We are different. I chase my dreams. You chase yours. Just don’t try to kill mine before they’ve grown their wings. Don’t try to put me down before I’ve even taken my first shaky step.

We’ll see who’s happier in the end.

Introverts Have “No Personality”

Introverts

There are downsides to being a hermit hidden in the cave of your own mind.

Namely, that people, and, frankly, usually extroverted people, find you boring.

I can’t express how much this sense of my own dullness has worn down my self-esteem over the years. No matter how much I tell myself I do not care what other people think of me, deep down, I do care. A little bit.

I don’t mind the fact that people gravitate towards extroverts in social situations; I mean, that just leaves more breathing room for us to hide in a corner and whip out a book. What I mind is the fact that introverts are written off has having no personality, just a bland cardboard cut-out of a person strutting among real blood-and-flesh humans.

Am I the only one who has noticed this?

I used to feel a sinking feeling inside my chest every time I talked to someone while hanging out with an extroverted group of friends; because while they would dazzle the newcomer, I’d be standing to one side, feeling like the congealed food at the buffet that no-one wants to touch, just, you know, standing there, with a raincloud over my head, staring down at the metaphysical puddle of rejection pooling about my shoes. It’s an icky feeling. It makes you feel unappealing. It makes you feel a bit worthless.

It’s like if I’m not charismatic and talkative and bright as a firework, I’m nobody.

It’s definitely got something to do with the extrovert ideal salivated over by our society. Look on television, and all you see are bright and vibrant personalities, who chat freely and an express their sense of humor and wonderfulness in front of millions of people. I get that. People like stimulating people, and it’s easier to be stimulated by someone chatty rather than someone who talks quietly and seriously and avoids looking at the camera.

But that doesn’t mean introverts are boring. It just doesn’t. It’s like personalitial (it’s word now, yes) discrimination. It’s like saying all Asians are good at math (Side note, as an Asian-Australian myself, I am living proof of the erroneous nature of this statement. Mhm). You get what I mean? You’re generalizing an entire group of people, assuming they all have a particular quality, when we’re individuals. We’re not a homogenous group of silent sentinels, dull as a brick, or a wall of bricks. We’re individuals, do you hear me?

I’m sure some introverts are boring. There are boring people of all shades, of all nationalities, of all races, of all genders, of all sexualities, of all personalities. But just because we’re a little more reserved than your average Jane giggling with the boys, doesn’t mean we’re boring. It doesn’t mean we don’t have a personality. We just need a bit more teasing and coaxing and time for us to get comfortable with you, and for our own unique personalities to bubble to the surface.

Then again, what constitutes having “no personality”? I mean, that’s a rather subjective statement, isn’t it? It almost seems to suggest that having a personality means to be extroverted, doesn’t it? Well, that’s wrong. That’s messed up. It’s like saying the word “beauty” is synonymous to being white. Deliberate but subtle exclusion through the words we use that permeate our everyday lives and subconsciously embed certain concepts of the world in our heads. You’d be surprised at the power of language, and of what you see or hear constantly, through the media, among your social circles. We are absorbent creatures.

You know what? Seeing as we can’t change the mindset of society, my fellow introverts, let’s just leave this post with a secret flutter of joy in our hearts. Let’s think about it this way. We’re like the jewels at the bottom of the chest. The phoenix bird underneath the pile of pigeons. It takes work for people to break through our barriers and discover our personalities. Maybe the reason people say we don’t have personalities is because we’re so reserved, initially, though being reserved technically is a personality trait.

We’re not easy to get to know. But for the people who try – and they’re the only people who worth our time, anyway – once they dig through the layers, go hunting a bit, put in the effort, they can often discover something quite wonderful. I know that. Well, I don’t know if my personality is anything special, but I know that there are millions of introverts out there with beautiful hidden personalities, strange quirky sense of humors, sweet oddities and mannerisms. Even though I’m an introvert myself, I find lots of introverts downright adorable.

So, yeah,  we do have a personality. But it’s up to you to put in the effort to get to know us, and discover that personality rather than brushing us off as being boring. We don’t deliver ourselves on a platter, eyeballs arranged tastefully next to hands, with a side dressing of hair, for you to tuck in (This concept is getting weird, fast. Just like to say that I do not, under any circumstances, condone cannibalism). We don’t come ready-made. You’ve got to assemble the phrenological components yourself, read the manual. You’ve got to cook and carve your own pig. And you know what?

We’re worth it. We really are.

Feeling Isolated As A Kid

Image

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

I Want To Be Anyone But Me

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I Want To Be Anyone But Me

I want to be anyone but me.

I hate being introverted.

I hate the shiver of anxiety I get when I talk to someone new.

I hate the fact that I can’t talk and be bubbly for as long as I want to.

I hate that social interaction makes me feel like my cells are withering after an hour or so.

I hate that people think I hate people. I don’t. I just hate the feeling I get when around too many people for too long.

I hate people drawing me out of my book to talk to me. Just, please. Can I have a little bit of peace?

I hate the fact that my mother thinks I have a mental disorder because I don’t want to be around people all the time.

I hate how she puts me down and hits me because I had a mental breakdown after a day of work and university.

I hate that no-one around me understands.

I hate that the people who ‘get it’ are in books or on the internet.

I hate that I can’t live my life in a hut somewhere on a remote island and just live on wild plants and read and write everyday.

I hate the fact that I completely understand why Emily Dickinson became a recluse.

I hate knowing that so many careers are closed off because I can’t stand extended periods of social interaction.

I hate that the only times I am happy are when I am reading or daydreaming.

I hate feeling so out of place. Everyone seems to be swirling around in the maelstrom of life while I teeter on the edge of it, an observer, peering into the dark, thrashing masses and trying to make sense of it all and never succeeding.

I hate having to please and satisfy the social demands of extroverts.

I hate feeling shame for stealing away to be by myself.

I hate people’s reactions when they find me, all alone with my thoughts, happy as a breeze, in some corner. Why the pity and scorn? Why? I’m not weird just because I’m not mingling. Stop it. Stop making me feel like nothing.

I hate introversion being mistook for submissiveness. Especially since I’m a feminist. They. Are. Not. The. Same. Thing.

I hate having to keep quiet in class even when I know the answer to the question the teacher is proposing, simply because it uses up too much of my socializing battery to speak, my voice echoing through the room, everyone watching, everyone listening.

I hate knowing that I could be a great English teacher but being barred by my introversion. Teaching? Got first-hand experience. Could I do it? For years and years and years? Day in, day out, laughter, chatter, talking, talking, talking, students, teachers. Help.

I hate being highly sensitive.

I hate that I can’t stand next a busy highway without wanting to curl into a ball and wail because of the noise.

I hate that I pick up on everything, social cues, gestures, until I convince myself that everyone hates me.

I hate that I can’t stand my raucous students after thirty minutes.

I hate having to leave the room to go to the bathroom when a bloody or violent and frightening scene appears in a movie and seeing the derisive glances of my friend, ‘Oh, what a wimp, what a soft, weak, little, fragile thing.’

I hate having to move to a different seat in the classroom with everyone watching my migration because one of the fluorescent bulbs above me is flashing.

I hate that I feel like crying if someone looks at me the wrong way.

I hate replaying every social situation or blunder or painful experience from the day. Over and over again. Like a tumor I can’t rip out.

I hate the fact that my own mother doesn’t understand and in her fits of frustration at my sensitivity (life is hard for everyone! Pick yourself up! Why are you crying just because you’re tired of noise and people and talking? What’s wrong with you? You have a mental disorder. SHUT UP. It’s not sensitivity. Don’t use it as an excuse. You’re lazy and didn’t get enough sleep. You’re useless. How do you expect to survive in the workforce? Whack. Slap.) Her physical assaults only sting but the emotional pain burrows deep inside my soul.

I hate being an extreme right brain thinker.

I hate not being practical.

I hate having my head up in the clouds so people think I’m either crazy or weird. Or both.

I hate liking the humanities more than the math and sciences. Math and science are practical. They will get me a ‘proper job.’ It’s where the money is, darling. Now go and study those scrawling numbers that are like barbed wires sticking into your brain, prodding and churning it into a grey mush.

I hate how I’m not suited for any job in the world except being a writer. That’s going to pay the mortgage, isn’t it? Sitting at my desk, typing words, not knowing if I’m just fooling myself and not selling any stories. Not to mention the self-doubt. Besides, your parents will need you to support them, one day. Give up your dreams. Stop being fucking foolish.

I hate people making me feel dumb for liking the soft subjects, the arts, literature, philosophy, anthropology, history. I’m sorry, okay? My brain just isn’t intelligent enough to chew through quantum physics and calculus. And I’d rather die a million horrible deaths than force myself to study them because something deep within me roars and screams and tears at its rib cage enclosure when I do, screaming to me that I’m wasting my time, my life, my abilities, that I’m trying to sieve cement, that I hate this so much, all these dead numbers and formulas, that the only way I could ever push through it is if I daydream and imagine the numbers coming to life and peeling away from the page and pirouetting across the ceiling, telling me about what life is like in a textbook and the students they meet everyday.

I hate that I don’t like the practical subjects, which means I can’t get a practical jobs, which means I’ll be poor forever. Or so they say. Or so my mother says, with her disappointed glare. Only my mother can look both disappointed and affronted at the same time.

I hate my mother’s wrath when I told her in high school that I wanted to drop math. I hated her threats. I hated her telling me I was her only hope and that if I didn’t study some practical subjects, she would die in poverty. Did I want to do that? Her own mother? Sell your soul with a smile, dear.

I hate having weird, off-beat thoughts. I hate having once made the mistake of voicing them once. I hated the judgmental stares and the silence.

I hate feeling like such a freak in a left-brain society. I hate the fact that health and engineering and accounting or whatever are where the jobs are and the art courses are being cut back at universities every year. Arts degree? Pffft. Hope your parents are rich. Literature and writing is a luxury, darling. First, go off and study something practical, like pharmacy. Then you can save up money to dabble in your quaint, little writing hobby. Besides, who knows if you’re good enough to make it? Don’t take the risk. You’re probably not good enough. Only one in a billion make it. You can’t make it.

Money. Love. Money. Love. ‘Money!’ they scream, gold fever fizzling in eyes, lips stretched wide and teeth whisked with gleams, a billion faces, clutching banknotes and throwing them like green birds into the air. Love. Love? It’s a job, honey. You’re not meant to love it. A starving, disheveled writer at his desk in a garret, nibbling on a piece of bread and fighting for crumbs with the rats. Now, now, you wouldn’t want that would you? That’s it, get in line, become a good, hardworking citizen of society. Join the ranks! Collect your retirement money. Live for the weekends. Don’t think too much. They say that helps.

‘She was such a quiet, strange child,’ said Society.

‘Oh?’

‘Oh, yes. In kindergarten, wouldn’t talk to or play with any of the other kids. Best friend was a cat.’

‘How queer.’

‘I’ll say. And she reads, all the time. And she always looks off into space. She gives me the creeps, to be honest.’

‘What does she want to be when she grows up?’

‘Ha! Get a load of this. A writer. The stupid flake wants to be a writer. When her parents are in a state of such indigence. Irresponsible. Flighty. Morose.’

‘Does she need to see a doctor? We can book a psychiatrist for her. There’s something terribly wrong. Yes. Not quite right in the head.’

‘Yes,’ says Society, and pats the heads of laughing, gaggling children.

I hate me.

What Introverted Women Are Attracted To

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What Introverted Women Are Attracted To

**If any of you who read my blog or are just stumbling across it are needing any life advice or guidance, especially if you are dealing with any sensitivity or introversion issues (or even need some help understanding introverted women), please send your Skype username to dreamerrambling@hotmail.com. Though I can’t guarantee I can speak with everyone, I will try my best. These sessions will be free, as I’m just going to be practicing my life coaching skills and developing my own techniques and learning how to talk and counsel people. Thank you for helping me practice and taking me a step further on this new little journey of mine, and I hope that I can help you in the process too. Please no spam: I don’t want to find myself contacting any creepy people, so it’d be good to send a message along with your username telling me a little about yourself. Thanks. Keep dreaming.

Introverts are some of the most misunderstood people on the planet.

And since men can find women incomprehensible, female introverts are doubly misunderstood.

So, to enlighten people on this topic, I present you a list of what introverted women are attracted to:

1. Introverted women like men who listen.

We may be quiet but we have a lot of thoughts whizzing around in our minds. And if you’re lucky enough to have an introverted woman divulge her deepest thoughts, you better pay attention. If you don’t, we’ll feel miserable and that we’re not worth your time.

2. Introverted women like men who respect their ‘cave time’.

Honey, I swear I’m not ignoring you. It’s just that after a long day of work and socializing, I’m beat. So when I hibernate in my room for a couple of hours, don’t try to talk or disturb me. Not unless you want your head to be bitten off.

3. Introverted women like men who don’t disregard their ideas as nonsense.

We may not talk much but our brains are always working, thinking, pondering and musing. On the rare occasion when we voice our deep thoughts, please don’t put them down and call them nonsense. That just makes us feel like we are nothing.

4. Introverted women don’t like superficial men.

Don’t be one of those guys who always gravitate towards the extroverted and flirtatious woman who has her cleavage hanging out. Nuh-uh. Those guys are not worth our time. We don’t like them. Period. We want men who think of us as mysterious and fascinating and always want to know what we’re thinking. Oops, was that a Twilight reference?

5. Introverted women love compliments.

We’d rather have no attention most of the time and happily be a wallflower but when it comes to love, we desperately want to be noticed and appreciated by you. Though this isn’t the case for all introverted women, as a group, we can be more susceptible to lower self-esteem, due to lack of acceptance of our personality type and the ideal female partner often being portrayed in popular media as sexy, bold and talkative. After all, if you think back to school, weren’t all the popular girls loud and brassy? As a result, we would like some validation and be shown that we are loved for who we are.

6. Introverted women like men who don’t pressure them to socialize.

Don’t be one of those men who force their girlfriend/wife to hang out with people when they don’t want to. You’ll just make her miserable. You’re essentially rejecting who she is. You shouldn’t be dating an introvert if you don’t understand what introversion is.

7. Introverted women like talking about deep and meaningful topics.

If you’re one of those guys who like casual chit-chat and not thinking too much about life and all that – do you know what I mean? Like one of those men who just live life for the hedonistic pleasure of it and evade any questions that go deeper than ‘what’s your favorite beer?’ If you’re one of them, give up. There is no way in hell a sane introverted woman would be attracted to you.

8. Introverted women like men who read.

Reading is one of the most solitary human activities. Thus, most introverted women read a lot. It would be nice if you read too, so we could be book buddies and have something so close to our heart in common with you.

Did I miss anything, fellow introverted women? And men, what did you think of this list? Did it relate to you introverted men as well? Do you men like introverted women? I’d love to hear from you.