Sunday, September 3

Disturbing thoughts

I'm not entirely sure that I know how to make/be friends with people. This bothers me, but I'm beginning to understand why that may be the case:

1. Personality problems: I am fully aware of the fact that I tend to be prickly, awkward, and melancholic. This does not easily lead to friendships.

2. Conflicts of interest: I have odd taste in things. For instance, at the used CD store the other day I bought 4 cds: Voices of Light which is artsy and medieval; I'll Lead You Home by Michael W. Smith, a contemporary Christian album; The Long Black Veil by the Cheiftans (Irish band) with other artists; and The Dirty Boogie by the Brian Setzer Orchestra, which is big band plus rockabilly plus hard rock. So yeah, weird tastes and interests.

3. Sheer lack of practice. I realized the other day that I'd spent the 13 years from age 5 to age 18 without many friends of any kind. In fact, I think I only had one real friendship in that time period, and that one was on-again off-again anyway. I just don't know how to be friends with people very well.

There are all of these people in my life, and I'm desperate to tell them how much I like them and want to be around them, but I find myself incapable of doing so. I simply don't know how to tell them. Some of this fear and shrinking may be due to the fact that for most of my life when I told someone how much I liked them, they tended to not speak to me for years afterward (if ever again). The vast majority of my social memories before college are of not being good enough, or pretty enough, or rich enough, or talented enough, or athletic enough, or with the right taste in movies and music. Of being too intense, too smart, too sad, too ecstatic, too bookish, too large, too individualistic, and too shy.

I am beyond grateful for the love I've found in my friends at college and church, but I'm beginning to think that certain parts of me have been damaged beyond repair: 13 years alone is a very long time. I honestly don't know how to let people in; I've never had to do it before. I don't know how to tell people I love them; I've gotten mostly rejection when I tried before. I don't know how to tell people that I want to spend time with them, because I honestly can't believe that they would want to spend their valuble time with me. That sounds pretentious, but it's true: I've tried to believe it, and can't.

I have always resonated to the line in the Evanesence song My Immortal: "there's just too much that time cannot erase." Is that true? Are these things that can only be healed in heaven? Like a bone that's been broken, and healed crookedly?

Dear God, if you want me to get close to other people, You'll have to break down my defenses Yourself; I can't do it.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof, but speak the word only and my soul shall be healed.


luminarumbra said...


You are hardly the only one from the little household we had who had (or has) problems like that... even if you were the only one who is bipolar. Reaching out to people is HARD, especially when you're used to getting hurt when you do it. I can't say for sure, because I didn't interact with myself the same way other people did, but I'm sure when I started breaking down my walls and letting people in I probably made a lot of people uncomfortable. But somewhere along the lines, I had a few who would listen, who would support, and sometimes even sympathise in ways I didn't know they could.

And five years after I decided I was going to open up, I can still throw up some pretty impressive walls. But I'm making progress. And if that's what you want to do, then you will, too.

Will the bone ever heal quite right? I don't know. But rather than give up because you don't quite work right, you learn to work around it. You build muscles a little here and there to strengthen it, and learn which ways you really, really can't go versus the ways you can risk.

I'm glad to hear from you, Joi. I love you very much, and miss hanging out and chatting and all, even if I did want to burn your side of the room at times.

Archivist Meg said...

:D I'm right down the road, and I need some one to go garage selling with me. Silly boy thinks it is all junk that we don't need. He doesn't know about the pretties that can be found. And they will be mine!! I'm just a phone call away!

Anonymous said...

i like you joi. i'm always intimidated by people who sound smarter or more "intellectually fresh" than me, which you always do ... yet you have a way of not being intimidating about it. and you have so much interesting stuff going on in your head and heart. i miss seeing you. love, katie p

Kelsie said...

Hi, I'm a friend of Anne's from college. For sure #1 and #2 are things I can relate to. People think there's something wrong with a person who isn't giddy or delirious with joy all the time. Around my campus, people just tend to avoid me because I'm negative and melancholic almost all the time. Also, people tend to avoid folk with "weird tastes" or divergent views (especially on the small Christian campus).

I think I'd agree with you that making friends--and being social in general, for that matter--are things that have to be practiced or you'll slowly lose them...but that doesn't mean it's irreparable may just need some more practice. Don't let the socialites/hopeless optimistics in the world fool you, though: friends are sometimes more like double-edged swords than 'close companions.'

Mircat said...

Joi, I find you incredibly lovable--you're fun, interesting, REALLY smart, creative, funny, and different. Plus, you're honest about your vulnerabilities, and you somehow make me feel validated and appreciated every time I'm around you...WOW. Perhaps there is damage...but I'm learning in my own life that even when damage is irreparable, amazing growth can still take place, and true love can still be fully given and received. don't give up hope, sweet friend. ~mir

Anonymous said...


TLC said...

Wow...that sounds familiar (mostly, at least). We should talk sometime.

Marcy said...

I love you, Joi!!!! ::hugs:: I wish I spent more time with you -- if it helps at all, there aren't many friends I'm spending a lot of time with right now. I've always been bad about spending time with friends other than automatic time in classes and such.

And now I'm thinking of Shigure and Kyo -- "You're only a white belt in relationships... Keep training." Or something like that.

Talking with my siblings and cousins one time, I think we concluded that yes, you can improve quite a bit. It's frustrating, because the broken way of doing things will always be your first language, but you really can become fluent in a second language. It's just that when you're hurt or angry or something, you curse in your first language!

Believe me... You know how some people say it seems like God just slowly shows them one sin at a time for them to work on? Since somewhere around the end of high school or beginning of college I've felt like God's just shown me one way at a time that I'm massively screwed up or damaged from how I was "raised"! Which... is tied to sin, but is more than that too. It sucks. Sometimes it has me acting bipolar without the reason of being bipolar. But... I'll keep trying, and keep growing, and be screwed up, but stronger than many who aren't. So there, world! (=