It hurts when people don’t like you. Whether it’s a guy that breaks up with you, or a friendship that ends, or a family member who just doesn’t get you; it hurts. Over the years I have been faced more and more with people who don’t like me. I believe this is partially because I’m more jaded than I used to be. I’m less agreeable and I speak up more when I am not happy or feel slighted. I’m not exactly sure when this started happening. Maybe it’s just a result of getting older. You know, like how senior citizens seem to say whatever they want without thinking twice about it because they feel like they’ve earned the right to do so after all they’ve been through.
I think I’ve just changed a lot due to the events that have shaped my life over the last six years and I’m still working out the kinks of all this “growth.” Well, my friend Maggie calls this era of my life growth, I call it insanity... I hope she’s right.
Over the last several months I’ve been feeling a lot of anxiety about losing close connections with my friends in DC. What really hurts is feeling so insignificant in their lives. I’ve never felt this way before. But when I came back from Italy it felt different; like I didn’t matter, like everyone had their set lives, and I didn’t fit in anywhere. This caused a lot of unhappiness in my life. I was - and still am - struggling with the culture shock of being back. And much to my chagrin, I’m learning it can take years to feel comfortable in your own skin again after a move like mine.
Lately I’ve been reaching out to some of my old friends to reconnect. Most have been receptive but some, you can tell, are meeting up only because they don't want to be rude. This stings more than a little. Sometimes it’s very hard for me to not beat myself up and worry that I am not a good person, or that I’ve done something wrong to make them not want to hang out with me.
But then I think about the people in my life that I don't want to hang out with on a regular basis, and I am reminded it doesn’t mean they are bad people or even that they have done anything wrong. It just means for one reason or another they are not who I want to surround myself with all the time. I try to remember this when I get paranoid about feeling so disconnected to people here. People have their own lives. They are living them. No biggie.
I still look at some people in my life and wish I could be more like them; nicer, sweeter, more accepting. I’m driving myself crazy with this struggle to be less who I am, and more like others. The reality is, yes, I can be sarcastic, and jaded, and self-centered, but I am equally funny, and honest, and supportive. And I don’t ask for more from my friends than I give - ever.
Although I get frustrated that I still struggle with this, I’m accepting myself more and more for who I am. And, yeah, even though it hurts to know people don’t like me ultimately it’s okay, because I like me.