When I was 16 I decided I would be happy. And I was--determinedly, fervently, vibrantly happy. I radiated it. I laughed often. I was delighted easily. I danced and played. And because of this, I was always surrounded by people. It seems that "happy" is something to which people are attracted.
What those "friends" didn't understand was that their simple presence made me nervous. I had no desire to be the life of the party--but I was. I didn't want to be the one people called to talk to--but they did. I didn't want boys to ask me out, or girls, for that matter. What I yearned for was darkness.
I don't really know how to explain this. I lived miles away from civilization. We had no lights in the night except for the stars. I would wait until my family slept, and then quietly leave my home and walk in the night. The darkness pulsed with sounds. It felt, tangibly, like a blanket, wrapping me up, hiding me from the world, keeping me safe. I would walk for nearly two hours, then return home to sleep.
And the next day I would be "happy."
There is a part of my soul which will always long for solitude, I suppose. I was walking with Sully recently, and I told him that when I think of what I truly wish for, I picture myself in a small home in a secluded wooded area. The nearest civilization would be at least forty miles away. I would be alone with my thoughts. I could walk, once again, in the darkness.
Sully was startled. "You're not serious, right?"
I was serious. He said he never would have supposed I felt that way. He pictured me living with a few very close friends and family members, laughing, making meals with them, spending time just being with them. I believe that to someone like Sully, the solitude I crave would be oppressive.
Ambrosia told me that when one goes to a party or social gathering, there is usually a person everyone is drawn to--someone everyone wishes to meet. She said she sees me as that person. I admitted to her that in social situations, I probably am that person, but it's defensive. The line of logic says:
1. I'm in a place with more people than I am comfortable with.
2. I do not wish to feel intimidated.
3. I do not wish to get hurt physically or emotionally.
4. If people like me, they'll be nice to me.
5. If I am the person who is warm and friendly, people will like me.
Conclusion: I will be warm and friendly--I will make myself accessible for a short period of time and as a result, people will like me and be nice to me until I am able to leave.
This does not mean I don't like people, nor does it mean I don't like spending time with them. It means that I have difficulty managing random feelings of fear that spring up, especially now. For me, it often feels that the only truly safe place is a dark solitude, where I cannot be seen or touched by anyone.
I'm not going there. As inviting as it seems, I have too much to do in the real world. But sometimes at night, when my family is sleeping, I long to walk outside in the darkness--just me and the night creatures, none of whom have any interest in me.