This is (for me) a short post. 500 words or less including these sentences.
Any kind of abuse makes trust difficult. Being surrounded by people not your age during childhood and adolescence makes connecting with peers difficult. Being abused by teens and adults makes connecting with older people difficult. Being bullied by peers and younger people makes socializing and putting myself “out there” difficult.
Can you see the connections?
When I moved to the new city, I planned on making acquaintances – people to chat with and talk to in every day life – but not friends for the first year or so. Socializing is not high on my list of priorities.
Safety, solitude, learning the city and how people here interact are my priorities.
Someday, I plan to make friends, go out more, socialize and interact.
Someday, I will go out more and stay home less.
Someday, I will feel confident about interacting with people.
But not today. And not tomorrow.
The few friends I have, the few people I do know here are wonderful people. They have established routines and friendships and social circles. Through them, I meet a variety of people and opportunities to participate in events that would not have been on my radar even a month ago.
So why reflect on this now?
The topic of friends and “knowing” people came up recently in a conversation. I call 1 person friend here and have met members of her family; people I am slowly including in my circle. These people I go out with and socialize with a few times a month. The other person lives here part time, so we will meet up when she gets back.
I guess I didn’t expect the person who told me to invite “my other friends” to the public event to be surprised when I said that I only know him and his wife. It’s been about 3 or 4 months since I moved here. But he was surprised. And I didn’t feel like explaining my lack of friends at the time.
Before anything else, though, I want to feel safe and comfortable in my neighborhood. I want to feel like I belong and am part of the community before opening myself up. But, most important, I want to be able to walk outside, talk with a variety of different people, and pass by people without feeling the prickles of dissociative anxiety coming on.
I still feel scared right now. The memories come fast and furious. Too many new things all at once. And a schedule that’s not a schedule.
So, routine first. Socializing next. Then, maybe, friendships later.
Thanks for reading.