For as long as I can remember, I have not been great dealing with other humans. It is not that I am shy and I can even be charming when I want to be. I have just always sort of been the outsider, many times by circumstance and as I grew up by choice. And please don’t get me wrong I have shared many entertaining moments with my fellow earthlings but there always seem to come a pivotal moment in my interactions with humans where I just don’t know how to deal or how to fit in.
After growing up in Winnipeg with very few friends besides my cousin, I moved to Calgary when I was 13 and was forced to try to make friends with people I was not related to and it was hard! In high school I kind of accidentally stumbled onto a group of friends that took me in as a fellow “outsider”. The mainstay of this group were 5 guys and 5 girls, the perfect recipe for intergroup mingling. Well for the most part everyone “mingled” except for this four-eyed chubby racial mutt, me, who became a really reliable source for holding back people’s hair when they drank too much or hearing them sob about their recent intergroup mingling drama.
A specific memory of mine was one of my first high school parties, when I was about 15 years old. One of the guy’s parents were out for the night, so he invited us over. I felt pretty good about myself, this was the first party I was invited to since I moved to Calgary two years earlier. I tried to dress in something cool but not like I was obviously trying to be cool. This was a pretty big deal to me at the time. I remember walking down to the basement and all the lamps were covered in scarves and Boyz 2 Men was setting the ambiance. I am the girl who was forced to cover her eyes watching cartoons kiss until I was 13, so to say the least I had no idea what was happening. I claimed a spot on the couch and uncomfortably settled in as I watched as three couples just magically formed around me and started simultaneously making out. I felt like I was on ABC after school special and I was sure there was something I was supposed to do to stop this teenage hijinx from getting out of control but instead I sat there awkwardly, with two awkward guys who repeatedly would hit each other’s junk. It was an uncomfortable situation that was repeated too many times during high school and after school in clubs where my friends would drunkenly disappear with dudes. And I would get mad sometimes about it and they could not understand why I was being such a stick in the mud. Maybe it WAS my chronic fat girl syndrome but I never knew how to handle this situation until recently. And now I just check to ensure no one got roofied and try to make a discrete exit to go home to the familiar comfort of my apartment and cat. I also avoid clubs like the plague!
I am now 31 and most of my friends have all disappeared into the abyss of suburbia. And after discovering that I am just as ungifted romantically as I am often socially, I have kind of decided to own my loner status. While I desperately want to contribute something of substance to this world, I know I can’t sit around and wait for my magical group of sitcom-like lifelong friends and romcom destined soul mate to all of a sudden magically appear to make my life become what I want it to be. Sure, at times, alone can be pretty sad and lonely but it also gives me undefined amount freedom to do what I want to do in this life, while being who I want to be. And to me that is not a tragedy, it is a victory waiting to happen.