If I’m Not ____ Then Who Am I?

Have you ever found yourself on the outside of a conversation? Where you want to say something but there’s never an opening and there never feels like a right time to say what you want to say? And the more you think about it the more your input sounds redundant or stupid and then by the time you’ve convinced yourself that what you have to say is funny or important then the subject has already changed? And now you’re just left with the lingering feeling that you were left out.

Okay so this is a constant battle I have with myself every time I go out of the house. I can’t interject myself into conversations because I don’t feel what I have to say is worth anybody else’s time. Because of this I end up just sitting quietly in a corner somewhere whenever social gatherings occur. I bring this up because I tried something scary today – I went to a social event.

Work was having a Christmas meal for everybody who worked on my department and there was a Quiz Night too. I am a sucker for quizzes – I will never say no to a quiz – and so agreed to go. The actual quiz itself was great and I actually had fun and felt like a normal human being. This was because people were looking to me for the answers.

I have always prided myself on intelligence. I won’t say I’m intelligent but I do like to learn things and my Dad has always instilled an importance of education in me. The only problem that I find is that now I don’t have a personality outside of being “The Intelligent One”. When I’m around smarter people I find myself empty and adrift, not knowing where I belong. When I can’t be The Smart One I find myself unable to be anything else because it’s what I’ve come to know myself as for so long, and the only personality trait I actually value about myself.

To this point my evening was crippled in two ways. Firstly I didn’t win the quiz. My team came second. I spent the rest of the evening running through reasons we didn’t come first – The other team probably cheated, the questions were tailored for older people and not people of my age, the quiz didn’t involve any of my specialist subjects, my team was basically me and one other girl holding the team up. I refused to admit that I lost because another team was better than us because where would that leave me? Empty and without a place to belong. If any of the above were true then I could still cling to my intelligence because the reason wouldn’t just have been that I wasn’t good enough. But I still can’t bring myself to admit it. I’m not sure if that makes me a bad loser or mentally unwell.

The other reason things went downhill is because I can’t interject myself into conversations. This means that before and after the quiz I was basically sat silent eating my food, drinking my lemonade or just waiting to be included in something. During the quiz people relied on me to give answers, they needed to interact with me because I had something to offer. Outside of the quiz nobody seemed to care and I struggled to interject anything because I knew as soon as I opened my mouth all eyes would be on me and I would have been expected to say something momentous or life changing when I simply didn’t have it in me.

Nevertheless I am giving myself credit for actually leaving the house for a social event. The last time I did that was probably a good eight or nine months ago. But I can’t help but feel all of the inadequacies I have been fighting for so long – being alone, being not good enough, feeling stupid, being unpopular – all of these things just rush back to my mind the moment I say goodbye to the people and I suddenly remember how miserable me and my life are.

I didn’t want to end this on a sour note but this is how my evenings out end. Whenever I say goodbye to the people I am with my mind switches to negatives and I find myself just wanting to lock myself away and cry for days on days. This isn’t practical though so I end up just pushing the emotions down and not talking about them and then another social situation will roll around and I’ll feel horrifically miserable again at the end of the night.

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