I started in person networking again at the end of last year. I did it because I so desperately wanted to meet people like me. I didn’t. Like freshman year of high school, the novelty wore off rather quickly when I realized people don’t want a real person. They want the fake one. The Vanna White that smiles and nods at precisely the right moment and delivers exactly what they’ve asked for without giving more than a few unclear notes. The person who talks only about coffee, and weather, and gives light banter and says “Hey! How’s it going?” without wanting or giving a real answer. The person that is always happy and has no other emotion and loves Yellow and acquiesces every request with a bounce.
That’s not me.
So I reached out to Mom groups, and Business groups, and Mom Owned Business groups, and so many more groups via Facebook. Same thing. Don’t post your issues, don’t ask for help that’s more than basic advice, don’t express your true opinions because you need to be likable and agreeable. Your skill doesn’t matter….what they think of you does. WTF?
I’m a true Capricorn. For all you non-horoscope understanders basically it means we’re outwardly confident while inwardly ashamed and lonely. We’re severely driven and ambitious, and while simultaneously outgoing and extroverted. We blather on about personal stuff because inside we’re freaking out and have no idea what to say. Loyal to a fault and workaholics. Basically, we’re confusing and “unapproachable.”
I recently discovered I am an ENTJ in the Meyer-Briggs personality. Think Gordon Ramsey, Steve Jobs, Margaret Thatcher…even Dr. House. We all have one blaring issue in common. We aren’t well liked, but goddammit we are GREAT at whatever it is we do. We aren’t very humble about it, but we don’t claim to be the best. We always strive for more, but we won’t diminish what we KNOW we are good at. I read the description and looked like a bobble head in a semi truck on a dirt road in my level of agreeance. So I took another.
High D, medium C in the DiSC personality. Basically D “is described as direct, demanding, forceful, strong willed, driven, and determined, fast-paced, and self-confident.” and C is “is motivated by opportunities to gain knowledge, showing their expertise, and quality work.” What’s that mean? Well. Same thing as above.
See a trend? I did.
Here is the crux of this situation. By delving so deeply into my personality types, I’ve also discovered why it’s so very hard for me to make friends. I read these things all over about “find your tribe” and yet those that pretend (and I use that word intentionally) to befriend me love me only until I drop my walls, or want to do more than hide in their house helping them all the time, or need someone for more than just a bad day.
I have severe high functioning depression. I’m an introvert. I’m an external processor. I’m very damaged from people in my past and I’m more like Gordon Ramsey with temper and lack of patience for incompetency than anything. But I’m not a TV star. People love the way I am from afar, kind of like why everyone loves Sherlock Holmes. The eccentric, direct, opinionated, passionate, quiet rage, explosive temper, and undying acceptance in mastery of their craft…it’s when I want Real Human Connection that it all goes wrong.
My beliefs are awe inspiring – until we get to deeper than just the surface that I believe in both Jesus and a Goddess. I stop there, because to tell you what I believe in, see, feel and hear daily in all it’s wonderful glory means I’m either not godly enough…or I’m plain demonic. Either way, an outdated book gets thrown at me…and the person who handed it to me is gone. No conversation, no goodbye…just a feeling that I should have lied to stay in this club that has false promises, and deceitful and disingenuous people.
My past is broken and fragile and filled with stories that most can’t believe could happen to anyone, let alone simultaneously and continuously to one person. But instead of sharing and healing and filling the cracks with gold to become something new and beautiful, I’m left to my own devices when they realize my stress is a chronic condition and to heal I need to tell my stories over and over because that’s how I process. Ironically, my rape is the one thing I’ve fully healed from because I’ve told the story over and over. Who knew trial would be therapeutic for me. Instead, I’m told to take a pill and use a journal…”because it’s getting old.” So I shut down. I stop talking. And I change the bandage again.
I am very transparent and direct and I will NEVER lie to you, even if that means I will scream out how stupid you are being and point out all the facts that say so. Not ARE. Never “are.” Because you aren’t stupid. I care very much about words, how they are said, how they are phrased. Because I’ve been scarred more deeply by words and phrases than when I was physically abused by boyfriends. I wish people would just hit me, at least then I could feel like I could fight back. So when you tell me to go away…I will. Always wondering, always questioning what I did. But I won’t ask. I’ve learned not to ask. People aren’t direct like me. “It’s not you, it’s me…” Lie #1. So I leave. Tail tucked between my legs feeling rejected and abandoned. It becomes my new norm. So each new person I meet I hold even further away, because I don’t want it to be you too. The older I get, the less I try. Just like my skin, or my body after baby…I don’t bounce back the way I used to.
I have friends. Very very dear friends that truly DO love me for who I am. And I am blessed with a husband that not only loves me despite my faults, but does everything in his power to counteract the negativity and weight and devastation I feel so often from being around others. But he bears a heavy burden, and my dear friends are all in other states. I can’t curl up on the couch with them over drinks and chips and just word vomit when it’s been an exceptionally shitty day. If I could, maybe my desire to be a recluse and a professional hermit wouldn’t be so strong. I long for the zombie apocalypse…a reason for me to pack up my husband and son and go away. Forever. To protect them from people. But though I would thrive…they would wither and die. They aren’t jaded the way I am.
So here’s what I don’t understand. I made these friends – somehow – in my past. I’ve made friends through out my life, even though I’ve lost a lot of them for a multitude of reasons. But since moving here, that’s one major void that hasn’t been filled. Having that one unconditional friend that stays longer than a few months. I’m asked to totally change, or it’s too much of a bother to get to really know me in the first place. I’m too much to handle. I’m afraid of new people, and thus I don’t pursue others. Experience has taught me that they will always hurt me, in unimaginable ways. So I’m surrounded by loose acquaintances, at most. I can’t find my tribe. Each day I get lonelier. But I can’t change who I am. Even when I’ve tried…even when I wanted to.
4 years is a LONG time to be that lonely. 4 years is a long time to be depressed. 4 years is a long time to go without real human connection.