Every day of my life, I grapple with feeling like I’m invisible, or at the very least, semi-transparent. It’s like living life, but never really being a part of things, but just a spectator. Often, when people walk into a room, they don’t notice me until I speak up, as though I blend into the walls, partly in this dimension and partly in another. And when they do notice me, it’s almost in shock because I’ve startled them, or embarrassment because they didn’t see me sitting there for the last ten minutes.
I will admit, I’m a physically still individual who prefers to speak up when necessary, or at least I aim to. I tend to keep my thoughts and opinions to myself, as in the past, they were always met with some level of hostility, so it’s probably best if I kept my mouth shut. But what baffles me is that people say that I “blend” into my surroundings, as though I was some form of human chameleon. I’m often forgotten and left out of things, and most times, I never feel included.
It’s weird because as a child, other kids would just be honest and tell you you’re not invited because you’re a nerd or you’re a bit weird. But as an adult, I’m not invited because I seek no pleasure from poisoning my liver and kidneys with a gross amount of alcohol every weekend. I accept that’s a personal choice, but I’m not invited to anything, ever. It’s a bit sad and quite pathetic, but I decided to write about it because it did have me questioning what was wrong with me…
It’s not me, it’s you.
I’ve spent most of my life, teen into adult, with little to no friends. I was semi-popular at school because everyone knew me, but I didn’t get invited to birthday parties, cinema get-togethers and sleepovers. Girls are cruel. I did have a harder life than most at that age, but it shouldn’t have impacted my ability to have people around me that much. I wasn’t particularly wealthy, pretty, or trendy, but I was intelligent. As I got older, I became more and more of a recluse, preferring work to play, and grabbing a book and a coffee over a shopping exercise with Prosecco.
Now, nearly 30, I literally have no close friends. There are those who I kind of still talk to from my old job, but other than a handful of previous work colleagues who possibly only message me when no one else will respond, there’s no one. I have me, my parrot, my other half, my now-teenaged sister, and my mother-in-law; oh and my business, but I don’t think that really counts. That’s my life. These five.
So it left me wondering what the hell is wrong with me. I’m friendly and can hold a conversation with nearly anyone. Do I smell? Am I so ugly that people hate to be around me? Do I talk too much? Do I annoy other people? Am I really that painful to be around that no one wants me? Am I boring and uninteresting? Why doesn’t anyone tell me what I’m doing wrong…? And then it hit me. Like a tonne of bricks. It’s not really about me, this is about them. Most people have the same circle of friends for decades. And I lost out on that for two reasons: shitty childhood life and a migration to another country. And people don’t let new kids into the gang. That’s just how the rules are.
For such a long time I saw photos of people I knew out and about, hanging out with friends and having a good time and I felt terrible about it. I’m so easily forgotten that no one bothers with me. But that’s okay. I know that I am not the problem now. I am genuinely content and happy in my own space, and I prefer to stay indoors and write or read than venture outdoors and get so drunk that I don’t remember my own name. I don’t like small talk, and I don’t really have a lot in common with people outside of the gaming/geek world, but there seems to be such instability with that crowd. I know that I’m different, and I’m appreciative of it.
Being different and marching to the beat of your own drum isn’t a bad thing – it’s a strength. So if you’re like me, enjoy your path because you will look back at it and see it for what it really is, a life you lived by your own rules.