it’s a big world & i’m old news to you;

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately and most of it is unpleasant. I feel like I’m regressing to my seventeen-year-old self or maybe my twenty-three-year-old self but either way it’s not great.

I’m worried that everyone is doing cooler stuff than I am.

Yeah, that sounds silly when I write it out. But honestly? I work with people who have done so much. People at my company have directed award-winning films, acted in independent films, been on television shows, worked as professional athletes, owned highly-rated local bars/restaurants, and lord knows what else. I? Have done nothing.

And I’m worried that, by virtue of everyone being cooler than me, no one is really going to like me.

It took until my last job to finally know the feeling of fitting in. I had a group of girlfriends in elementary school but I’m so far removed from that – and most of those people – that I don’t consider that to count. I had a group of friends in middle school – until they all decided the new girl was prettier and cooler and stopped saving a place for me at the lunch table (and, you know, speaking to me at all). I had friends in college but hung on the periphery of everyone else’s social groups and my study-abroad experience involved nearly the entire group disliking me. At my last job, it took months but suddenly I fit in and everyone liked me and it didn’t matter that they had been the cool kids in high school and the Greek kids in college and I had been the awkward loner. People just liked me. I always felt in the middle of things, like I was welcome and included and wanted.

I don’t want to give that up. Yet suddenly, I’m noticing how desperate I am and I hate that it probably comes through. I’m loud and I’m obnoxious and only half of it is because of my personality. The rest of it is because I’m afraid if I let myself fade into the background everyone will forget about me and I won’t matter anymore. I’ll be left out again. Because I don’t have a lot about me that’s interesting, it’s even worse.

For some reason, I also worry that if people really like someone else, that means they have less capacity to like me. If I’m not everyone’s favorite, that means they can’t like me at all – in my mind. The rational part of me knows it doesn’t work that way; the seventeen-year-old inside hasn’t learned that yet.

Because I have no definining characteristics, no exciting experiences to talk about or any discernable talent to speak of, I have to figure out how else to make people like me – and how else to feel like I matter. And sometimes it’s really, really hard.

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3 thoughts on “it’s a big world & i’m old news to you;

  1. Pingback: at seventeen; « either eat this soup or jump out of this window

  2. I can relate to a lot of this. When I was in elementary school I was that loud and obnoxious kid, the leader of the pack, always talking. I look back now and think how annoying I was and kind of a bully. At some point around 6th grade I learned how to keep my mouth shut rather than being loud and awkward, and then I suddenly found myself, as you said, “on the periphery of everyone else’s social groups.” I slowly became friends with a group of girls in 8th grade, but then I was out with bronchitis one week and they basically forgot all about me until I forced my way back in again. I’ve stayed friends with them, but have always felt more comfortable one-on-one with any of them than as part of that group. Sometimes when the group gets together I will be talking to one and she will suddenly turn to say hello to someone else and then start talking to them instead, which makes me feel horribly boring and awkward.

    So what I’m saying is, I think I understand what you’re talking about here. And because of it, I’ve had to place more focus on individual friendships than being part of a group, and I’m mostly OK with that. I’d rather be close friends with a few people who really like me than part of a group where most of the people think I’m boring. But that’s just me 🙂

    • I’m so glad someone else gets it! I definitely would rather be close friends with a few people than have a group of people who think I’m boring, but sometimes it just gets hard when I want people to like me and just feel like I’m not “cool” enough or whatever. Such is life, though. 🙂

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