For years, I have had an inkling, in the back of my mind, that I might be a loner.
When I truly, TRULY think back, I’ve displayed “party of one” tendencies for most of my life. In Kindergarten, my teacher remarked to my mother that I often sat on the carpet* alone, playing happily by myself. Not to say I didn’t have friends, but I also didn’t wail and moan if I wasn’t constantly surrounded by them.
Then, second grade and the bullies hit. One, in particular, was named Ashley Butler. Ohhhhhhhh how I loathe that name, even all these years later. Actually, Miss BUTTler was the only real bully, but she made it feel like the world was against me.
I started to realize that people can and will hurt you, whether you’ve done anything to them or not.
For the next ten years of my life, I had a fairly typical childhood that one has when occasionally being harassed by bullies, but not being the class reject, either. Having friends, but not being voted class president (though I was almost always elected representative.)
In high school, I never could quite fit in with people. I had friends, sure, but I also had the Redneck Princesses of the school (rough redneck girls who didn’t realize they were rednecks, but who were also quite popular) who loathed the fact that i really didn’t care about them. I didn’t think at night “I wonder what Brie or Amy will think of this outfit if I wear it tomorrow?” I had a friend who wondered things like that, but I thought she was foolish.
My thoughts ran more to, “How can I avoid making eye contact with Angie if she passes me in the hallway?”
I began to develop strategies to cross over to the adjacent hallway if I were ever walking around between classes and encountered someone who made me uncomfortable.
I didn’t really care if I seemed like a standoffish bitch, I was just trying to survive high school.
In college, I thought the world would be different and I would make friends that would last a lifetime.
I joined a Christian group (maybe that word should be in quotations) and, my freshman year, I encountered a few people who were “like” me. The punk listening, plaid pants wearing, funny and outrageous kids of the mid-nineties.
That year, I also encountered horrible acne and a prescription for large doses of Accutane.
Anyone in the know will tell you that using Accutane will quite possibly fuck up your emotions and your life.
These “Christian” friends I’d made, the ones who were more “normal” than I, were some of the meanest people I’ve ever met. Mostly the girls. They would pick on me behind my back for having a crush on handsome boy in our group, then claim to be my best friends.
They would practically yell at me about piddly things and one in particular (who honest-to-God had hair on her chest) told me to “stop being so emotional” when the medication got the better of me and I ended up in tears.
These were people who were clearly not following the “love one another” rule.
The “friends” in my dorm were just as bad. None of them realized I was saddled with crippling depression, made that much worse by my medication (I was naive to the side effects before being prescribed this horrid drug, because I blindly believed my dermatologist knew best. FALSE.)
My sophomore year of college, I lived with a true-to-life cokehead, whom I had actually met through the “Christian” group. She decided that wasn’t the life for her, and I wasn’t about to judge her for it. I did, however, move out after she kept losing job after job, dropped out of school, and invited all her cokehead friends to dirty up our apartment.
During this time, my affinity for solo activities deepened. Jaunts to go running on campus, for walks around town, etc became more common place. I sort of wished I had someone to share them with, but I was okay.
Then, I actually had a best friend after a while. We had a solid five year rollercoaster of a friendship that abruptly ended on my 25th birthday. She’d begun dating a boy who was a previous patient in the rehab facility where she worked (recipe for disaster) and basically ditched me for this lowlife (who screamed at her, left bruises on her, etc).
I think it was at this point that I realized I didn’t need to devote that much of my life to any one person, because it ended up biting me in the ass. This girl was quite unbalanced, and I didn’t take note of it before, even though people told me things like. “She’s insane,” and “You really need to break up with your best friend.”
I have always been the one people go to when they need advice, or someone to be seen out at a restaurant with, or an ear that will endure hours of venting and a mouth that will offer empathy.
This is most often not reciprocated (earlier this year, someone whinily lamented to me, “Why does nothing ever go right?” about some minor issues she was having, but when I later expressed my frustration at something in my life, I was met with dead air), but I have learned to deal with it.
I am now at the point in my life where I can go for weeks without talking to certain people, because I know if I attempt to make plans and the plans aren’t exactly what they want to be doing right at that second, I will most likely be turned down.
Unless they need me.
So now, I wait for others to reach out to me.
Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t.
I have people who claim that I am their “favorite person” or “such a dear friend” that I haven’t heard from in over a month (unless, of course, they needed a piece of information that they knew I could obtain).
So what do I do with this?
I’ll tell you what I’m doing: I’m embracing my lone wolf status. I am going where I want, when I want, and if where I want happens to be just sitting in my house, so be it. If I want to take a drive out to the cemetery and walk around, even better. Going to get tattooed? You’d better bet I’m not asking anyone to come with me.
Because now, these are my adventures, my experiences, and no one else’s. No one will be there to slow me down, or make me hurry, or give their unwanted input.
I won’t have to listen to someone drone on about their work day, assuming I want to hear it, assuming I have nothing to say because I enjoy my job. I won’t have to listen to someone talk harshly about their friends, only to have them sing the praises of the same people a week later.
I have started taking time to do more things for myself. Yesterday, a facial, next weekend, another facial treatment AND a massage.
I mean, I’ve been single for a long time and it’s going quite well. REALLY well. I think I might be the one.
*It seems all throughout grades K through 3, each room had a large carpet and we spent a large amount of time on it. In 4th grade, though, no carpet, just desks. Then, a resurgence in carpet-bearing classrooms in high school as a part of “learning styles.”