I am increasingly becoming a social recluse. I often wish I could make myself disappear to avoid painful interactions. My old social care-free self seems like a lifetime ago.
And perhaps I was never really that social, but just going along with what everyone else wanted. Till I realized, some people take advantage of your kindness. And when you’re someone who find it torturous to say no, it’s a lethal combination.
Apart from people really close to me, I shy away from any other contact. Perhaps because I have been hurt before. Not just once. To the point that I find it hard to trust people. To me, trust is a very big thing. Once it’s broken, it’s devastating.
I have retreated into a shell to protect myself. Other people may not understand it or sympathize and it would take weeks for me to explain, but at some point in my life, I have to start thinking of my own mental health. If some interactions make me spiral into a downward state of intense anxiety and depression, I fight to avoid them.
I need to stay away from conversations that only flame my anxieties. Intrusive questions that make my insecurities flare up. I try not to be insecure, but it’s hard, especially in Singapore where you are expected to be a certain way. Where status is everything and where you have to fit into the norm or be considered a wierdo. They don’t have to say anything, their facial expressions give it away. I really don’t need that kind of pressure. Just to explain, in Singapore it seems normal, to ask:
Where are you working?
What’s your position?
How much are you earning?
When are you getting married?
How many children do you have?
Why didn’t I see you at the last function?
Why are you so anti-social?
There may seem like normal questions but they are intrusive to me. Maybe I have a fragile state of mind? If I had all the ideal answers perhaps I wouldn’t be as insecure? The ideal answers? A manager or professional in a respectable company, married with at least two kids. I sometimes feel that I would not face the same kind of pressure in another less money and status obsessed society.
Sometimes I feel sorry for the acquaintances who may know me because I just want to avoid the question “How are you?” Just lying and saying “I’m fine” feels like a charade to me. I’m most uncomfortable when I can’t be my true self and have to put on a mask of happiness. I’m usually unsuccessful in wearing a mask and all my emotions are plain to see on my face. On the refreshing side, when B asks me how I am, I can say, awful and we can both laugh about it. And he can tell me his day was horrible too. Sometimes he jokes around just to make me laugh and I think that’s so sweet. Or plays my favourite songs.
Perhaps people are not even judging me as harshly as I think, but I have this intense feeling that they are. I know that a big part of it is my own self doubt, but on the other hand there are a few individuals who are totally insensitive. But it is tiring to be made of glass, ready to shatter into a million pieces. It’s tiring to be fearful of people and what they will ask or think of me.
Perhaps it’s why I can’t survive in a workplace where people shamelessly suck up to the boss and then bitch about her behind her back. I was actually shocked to find out they didn’t actually like the boss. You couldn’t tell the way they behaved. Or throw their colleagues under a bus to get ahead. I find this behaviour at work despicable. It’s why I hate shows like Survivor which promotes all these bad values and survival of the fittest (more like meanest). Maybe I’m the stupid one without the Corporate world survival skills. But if that’s the case, I never want to learn. I gravitate towards the people at work who still have morals. Thank goodness that some of these nice people still exist. Few and far between though.
But my life is not all gloom. There are interactions which raise me up and I am thankful to my family and B who always lift me out of the doldrums. Whom I don’t really need to explain anything in detail to, because they just know.
And in a strange way, there are some people whom I have never met and just know through sentences typed online that give me comfort as well. I hope they don’t mind that the companionship is just at this online level, but I do appreciate their kindness. They may be just words typed online, but they do have an impact. You actually make me feel a lot less misunderstood and a lot more normal.
Just had to get this off me. The weight of it has been crushing me, and writing helps.