I'm genuinely confused by why people get upset when I don't spend time with them. I'm not the kind of person who falls off the face of earth for weeks at a time without any explanation. I’m the kind of woman who keeps her family, friends, and acquaintances close through what I consider sufficient phone, text, social media, and 4-dimensional contact. It’s not enough for some people in my life.
One of my friends described me as "distant" when her FaceTime calls weren't answered. My mom recently got bent out of shape when I didn't want to go grocery shopping with her. Another friend was ready to cut me off when she thought I was even considering missing her birthday...hundreds of miles away from where I live. This has gone on for several years and I'm often labeled as the bad guy.
I try not to be a flake but I've been known to cancel trips, skip flights, and reschedule meet-ups at the last minute. It's not you, it's me. I'm moody and prone to depressive episodes. If I wake up and it's cloudy I already know the day will be a challenge. We all need alone time but I guess it takes me a bit longer to charge and recharge before and after expending energy interacting with people, even if those people are ones I enjoy and love.
I'm not sure exactly when my sociopathic tendencies kicked into gear. I remember being a social butterfly in high school. At some point in my twenties I began to change. It probably stems from around the time my first long-term relationship ended, when I was 21. That breakup was tough. I lost ten pounds and felt lost in my self-identity. That summer I developed a kind of anxiety I'd never experienced before. In the fall I started taking an antidepressant to calm my nerves. The following spring I'd adjusted to my new-found freedom of being single. I started stripping and partying more than ever. My new occupation afforded me a lifestyle of excess. I drank a lot and was influenced by my friends to go out a lot more than I did when I had a boyfriend. Maybe those formative years permanently exhausted me. After some time I made a 180 degree shift and pulled back dramatically.
I’ve spent a good five years fake smiling, fake laughing, and being chummy with strangers and acquaintances for the sake of earning money. That’s half the job of stripping right there. These days I find myself wanting to preserve my energy as much as I can. I’m quiet in my Uber rides and avoid small talk when I’m not working in my club. When I’m at the occasional social gathering I opt for one-on-one conversation and stray from group dialogues. When I can’t separate myself from larger groups I appreciate that there are so many other voices that I can at least get away with only speaking now and then. This is how I think.
There will be a time when I stop dancing and take on other employment and it’s possible that then I’ll be able to give more of myself. But then again maybe I won’t—and that’s fine too. If I decline an invite to instead spend hours alone in silence it's usually not a direct reflection of how I feel about someone. I simply have an insatiable desire to be one with my thoughts and my own energy. Sometimes I avoid lengthy phone conversations and hang-outs because I know I'm likely to become bored or irritable, and consequently a buzzkill.
I prefer to touch base throughout the days, and see my friends when schedules permit--without going out our way to link up. I'm an introvert, even when it comes to sharing my energy with people closest to me. My love language isn't particularly the same as those I care about so we've got to find common ground—and I’ve already accomplished that with some. I do appreciate the ones who don’t pressure me and are unconditionally understanding. I'm dreaming of a future where I can say no to making plans or enjoy a silent car ride and not be made to feel guilty about it. I’m hopeful.