“I am not my shield”

For a majority of my life, I’ve never really had “friends”. When I was younger, I played in a basketball league with other kids from my school, in middle school I sang in the show choir, and in high school I got involved in student government and acted in every theater production I could, but interestingly enough, as the number of people surrounding me grew, the more of an outcast I felt. Everything was great during school hours, when I was planning an event with this person, or rehearsing lines with that person, but once my mom picked me up, there I was again, alone.

I was lucky enough when I started college, to really make those connections with certain people that I was previously lacking. I told myself going in that this was my time to have “real friends”, to have a deeper relationship with the people I meet and in certain cases I’ve been able to do that, but there’s still this fear in the back of my head.

You see, my college and my home are about 2,500 miles apart and eventually, I know I’m moving home. But the real questions are, what happens then? Do these “friendships” I’ve made last? Do these people I have surrounded myself for the past four years simply fade away and will I just be there again, alone?

I tend to be a generally happy guy, a guy that’s usually optimistic and works hard to keep that persona up. But we all have those moments. Those moments where we can’t take it any more. When shit just hits the fan. Well, that’s when I decide to stay in my room. That’s when I feel like I need to stay away from everyone because I can’t let anyone see me when I’m not at 100%.

Although these sad moments don’t make up a majority of my life, I feel so shameful when they occur. There’s this constant pressure to always be happy and as soon as I’m not, I feel like I’ve just let everyone down. There’s this constant need within me to force myself to be happy because once I’m not, I’m being judged by those around me and I’m not doing what I need to be doing for my friends.

I am not just one or two adjectives and I can’t be described in one sentence. I’m stressed and I’m relaxed, I’m loud and I’m quiet. I’m happy and I’m sad. I am both my securities and insecurities.