Monday, June 02, 2014

My friend thinks you're cute

It is not uncommon to dislike public displays of affection. But I've been conditioned to avoid showing a different PDA: public declarations of affection.

From ages 6 to about 13 I was bullied, mocked, emotionally tortured,  what have you.
I was not taught by word, but conditioned by experiences that I was not like the other girls. I was a thing to avoid, and the very thought of me was sickening. My name was the butt of the joke. "Susannah likes you" was an insult thrown at someone.

I thought I'd gotten past all that. I thought that because 20 years has passed, that hard part of my life had no bearing on my life now.
I'm discovering that that line of thinking is wrong.

I don't have a self-esteem problem in that I genuinely like me. I'm awesome. Why would I not like me? What a waste of time. I don't need anyone to tell me I'm a good person worthy of happiness, I am completely ok with my quirky personality.

The problem lies in my relationships with other people. I do not see strangers as friends-I-haven't-met. (That phrase makes me shudder.) I have my group who know me and relatively understand me. I don't like being around people I don't know.
I am also wary about how I act. Any attention from me is bad, so I've been taught, so I am not a flirty person who is quick to compliment. I've noticed this more so lately because two of my coworkers (err, friends! I'm uncomfortable when someone calls me by the less personal title) are very much how I am not. I learn from them every day. I am confident in myself, but I don't have the ...I guess confidence? to be this just chatty flirty goofy person.
I can only think of a few instances when I am that way...and each is after getting to know someone really well, and only when it's in a group of mutual friends, and only when I am joking.

This sounds depressing, and I guess it could be, but I'm not depressed by it, just frustrated. And frustrated that others don't understand where I'm coming from:
My stylists/friends tell me all the time to ask someone out, and they don't understand when I just don't see that as a logical option. Homie don't date.
I do not see the world as a vending machine of men, ripe for my picking. (which is how it seems my friends see it.)

I have been conditioned to understand my attention is unwarranted and unwanted.

I think I'm awesome, I just don't think others think it.

It has only continued because I can't do what some others can do. It's amazing the crap some girls can get away with saying because they're cute. Yikes.
I am the friend. I am the quiet big friend that the cute peppy girl brings with her. I am ignored, which reinforces the crap of my childhood.

It's not a conscious thought, really. I only recently started noticing it.

Man...this sounds depressing... I'm not, I swear. I just am learning to work around this to somehow be a normal person who can make friends.
My natural reaction to people is defensiveness. I don't like you before you can not like me, I guess.

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