I’ve spent a fair bit of time deliberating on whether I should go to some social event. It’s interesting how I phrase it really… as “whether I should go”. Of course, I suppose I really should… it does almost seem obligatory. And of course… if I then entertain the question – which barely needs to be entertained – of whether I would really like to go, the answer is unequivocally “no”.
Social events… where one is compelled to make conversation and appear happy. I thought earlier that sometimes, depending on my mood, I’m not very good at either one of those.
Oftentimes, I show up to an event, and then think that there’s no escape, and that there’s no exit, and I count down the time until I can leave. I do my best to appear like I’m enjoying myself… I do little circuits, looking for someone who isn’t talking to anyone, so that for a brief moment I might be blend in and be part of the scene.
It makes me incredibly nervous. I often have few people to talk to… and when I do find someone to talk, I often find myself just going through the motions, trying to string along this conversation until I can leave. I ask something I’m not really interested in, and I take on airs, a little affectation, and I feel so damned artificial. It’s quite painful really… large, noisy places, where people socialize and are happy. I wish I could say it was merely boring, but it’s really quite terrifying sometimes… I’m unsettled by it.
Back to the question of whether I should go. The nervous energy within me leads me back to this question again… I suppose I really should… but at the same time… it’s not mandatory. I suppose that may be even worse if I don’t show up. But it really terrifies me…
My suspicion… is that if I go, I’l regret it. I’ll seem awkward, I’ll find myself alone, conspicuously alone… I’ll try to smile but really wince… and I’ll clumsily look around the room for someone desperate, or someone that I once shared some light banter with… and then I’ll try to seem happy and I’ll laugh… and I’ll try to vocalize my agreement with some otherwise inconsequential utterance… or further along what someone else said in a non-committal and banal way. And by the end of the night, I hope only for pass really… that I didn’t seem so lonely, so awkward or so out of place… or that I didn’t seem “weird”.
It’s a funny thing to struggle with my age… but I suppose I’m not so uncertain of myself. If I really am given the choice, then I suppose I would chose not to go. And if it “didn’t look good” for me not to show… well… I’m not such a bumbling fool… hopefully that’s my saving grace.
I couldn’t bring myself to say yes… is that a decent excuse? The weight of this obligation… I can indeed feel it, and it does bring about some inner turmoil… but I feel I’m such a fool in these situations.
I think of drugs… the possibility of doing drugs, and a narcotization of the moment. I suppose then it might be more bearable, and I might pass as normal, as someone who enjoys themselves… but goddamn! I don’t know what I’m worried about… I suppose that I might be viewed as callous, uninterested, or a poor employee. I don’t think I’m any of those really… I just feel I’m terribly awkward and I’m reluctant to enter social situations that don’t have a clear exit.
The project is cathartic… but it doesn’t exactly illuminate. Time… I think time will make the decision… and then perhaps I might plead ignorance… that I forgot or that I assumed that I was automatically enrolled.
Do it for the students that you taught… I don’t think they’ll mind.
Do it for the sake of appearance. I’ll be honest, it does weigh on me… but still… I can’t. I am part of the team, and I’m a great collaborator… but these social events are quite difficult for me… maybe too difficult.