looks like a hot dog
Recently, I’ve been doing a lot of introspective thinking. Okay, not just lately, much of my life has been composed of thoughts, feelings, expressions, etc. that I just keep to myself. I feel like there is a strong importance to keeping some intimate things to yourself but when it’s everything, that can be destructive. Over the years, I have let my own mind rot itself to the point that I’ve become a stubborn, antisocial introvert who is scared to be himself.
I don’t really know if there is something in my past that triggered this or what. I clearly remember that up until my sophomore year in High School much of what I did was to please others. I was willing to ruin anyone else’s day as long as the next person thought I was “cool” enough. There wasn’t much I did, said, or thought that had its origin in my own mind. I was the creation of my schoolmates. I wasn’t Austin.
During the summer vacation between my Freshman and Sophomore years, I had a change in personal philosophy. I don’t recall why particularly though. I could say it was because I was becoming a truly better person but looking at the bitter, withheld person I find myself as now I don’t know if that’s a necessarily fair statement. I had decided that I wasn’t going to be mean to people in order to gain the approval of others. Actually, when I returned to school I completely stopped hanging out with the group of friends I had been and made new friends. Friends that I would remain close with until only a few months ago.
A week ago, I started my sophomore year of college at Wesleyan University. In the past week I’ve experienced numbing nerves. I’ve felt hundreds of times that I’d rather drop out of college than have to deal with the pain of sitting through a class in which I don’t know anyone. I’ve felt so paranoid, that I find myself sincerely convinced that everyone I walk by is staring at me and judging me as harshly as they can. I don’t know why I feel like this - they obviously aren’t.
The only reason that I sincerely believe I have these feelings is that I treat others this way. People always speak about getting or giving second chances. I very rarely even give out first chances. I’m a harsh, unforgiving person and I hate that I’ve let myself become that way. I remember in one of my first classes at Wesleyan we had to introduce ourselves. As I was introducing myself, one of my classmates asked me a question and after I answered gave me what appeared to be a judgmental look (being my overly paranoid self once again). At that moment and for the next week I went on feeling inside that my classmate was nothing but a bitch. Unfortunately, I was the only bitch in that class. Actually, that classmate has grown to be the closest friend I have out of all the other people in that class. No thanks to me going out of my way to befriend her. She gave me the biggest chance anyone could.
What’s wrong with me? Why am I so assuming of people? Why am I so judgmental towards others when that’s how I fear they are being towards me? Why do I let preconceived notions and ideas have such great control over my thoughts and feelings?
I’m not writing this as a confession. I’m writing this as a call for help. I want to be myself. I want people to like me for who I am - not what I think they want me to be. I want to put myself out there and believe in who I am.
I’m honestly going to start pushing myself to let people get to know me. It won’t be easy. But that’s why I’m asking for help. I want to be a part of the social world. I don’t want my life to be sitting at home in my bedroom anymore.
I can’t do this alone though. Sure, much of this is up to me but if you see me struggling, give me a little boost. Ask me to hang out. Ask me to meet a couple of your friends. Give me the opportunity to put myself out there. I feel like a lot of the time people are too busy for me. I honestly do. I feel like just about every friendship I have right now is falling apart because I have great barriers when it comes to being social. And, understandably people don’t want to deal with that when they’re going out and trying to have fun. I just need a few helpful souls to open my mind, to help me garner the many social skills I lack.
I really don’t want my life to continue the way it is. Actually, I don’t think my life can continue the way it is. Unless I change, I’ll probably end up in a mental institution because of myself. So please, if you read this and you can help me in any way thank you so much. I just want to be happy and break free from the barriers that are so securely holding me down.
To remind me that this is my life, and my story. When I look at this, I remember that I am strong, and that I, not those around me, am responsible for my own happiness. And by that same token, no one can bring me down. I’ve got this; I don’t need to be saved.
Thanks to James at Tar Heel Tattoo for this amazing work.