Being me is, for many reasons, frustrating. Being my friend is probably, for many of the same reasons and also many different ones, more frustrating.
I had a rough start to friendship when it really counts (ie. at secondary school where, if you’ve read any of my blog, you’ll know that things weren’t exactly great) because I didn’t have any friends.
I was good at not really having any friends: I developed a plasticine face, so that the hurt wouldn’t show when I didn’t have a partner/group/someone to sit next to. I pretended that it didn’t matter that people wiped my ‘germs’ off their books after I’d handed them out. It doesn’t matter so much that your insides hurt when your outsides don’t show it because nobody asks.
As I got older, I did make friends – probably partly to do with the fact that I’m not as monstrous strange as people believe I am and also because I met nicer people who actually gave me a chance instead of head-butting me through a door, or similar. The problem, as with anything – I suppose – that is new and alien, is that I wasn’t very good at it, and I still struggle now.
Even when I try as hard as I can to leave the past behind and move into a new space, I cannot do so.
The problem is this: I worry that my friends don’t like me, and I worry that they will replace me.
I realise that this is a terrible injustice to my friends, because they are lovely, wonderful, fantastic, kind and caring people and I am sure that their loyalty is nigh on boundless, but there is always the little voice at the back of my head telling me otherwise.
‘She doesn’t really like you.’
‘You’re only her friend until someone better comes along.’
So, please, if you’re my friend, understand that I can’t help asking for constant reassurance; understand that, when I am jealous because you’ve been with someone else, it’s because I believe that I’m being replaced; understand that my anxiety is real and it comes from a place of being very alone for a very long time, and understand that I am trying my best to change, but it’s very, very hard.
The bottom line is that I love you. I’m very good at being alone: it takes someone special to tempt me away from my safe space.