I’m not a good socializer. At least not in crowded social situations like bars. I can be an EXCELLENT socializer in smaller situations. One on one. A few on one. I’m best with people I know, but I can hold my own with people I don’t. If nothing else, I’m a fantastic listener. (I should also add, the best part of the couple people I have slightly gotten to know is that they understand my dislike of crowded places.)
Tonight, I feel like a faker.
I want to be better. I want to get to know people. I want to drop the stupid guard I’ve built. I took a risk tonight and went to the bar with my classmates. Never mind that most of them are quite a bit younger than me. Never mind that they talk about a lot of things I don’t understand and/or have never experienced. I went. And I didn’t like it.
I don’t solidly know why, but I didn’t like it. I was wildly uncomfortable. Honestly? I don’t know much about sex or drugs, and those were two conversations I muddled my way through tonight. I was fine with talk of our classes, our workshops. The seminar tonight where we watched the most beautiful but horribly depressing movie. I was fine talking about writing. How hard it is. How grad school makes us struggle, but how we are better for it. But when it came to other topics, I was left listening. I felt weird and out of place.
Earlier in the evening, I had the pleasure of going out to dinner with people from the fiction program. (Even though I had already eaten). That was lovely. Three people. Lots of productive conversation about a myriad of topics. But throw me in a bar? I get lost. I had a few bar experiences in my undergrad years. They weren’t bad. The most memorable of them involve mozzarella sticks and darts. These times were with people I knew. Maybe that was the magic of it. Or maybe I was just younger then. Maybe this really IS something I’m too old for.
All that the evening’s risk taking served to prove was that no amount of twisting, pushing, or shoving is going to make me fit in at a bar. It’s not my mold. It’s loud and crowded and makes my brain all sparkly. People are always surprised when I don’t go to the bar. “How will you meet people??” The only get togethers we have at my school are at the bar. So then, one would assume I will struggle to meet anyone beyond my experience tonight. I’m not sure that’s okay. But I spent so many years trying to be someone I’m not that I really don’t want to play that game anymore. I didn’t come here for that. I didn’t fight tooth and nail to get here as someone else.
Everyone likes the bar, and I don’t. Is it that I won’t LET myself like it here? Because tonight was the closest I’ve come to actually feeling like I belonged in this group. Or is it simply that I’m a square peg trying to fit a round hole? The answer is anything but simple, but I’d love to find it.