This question comes to mind for two reasons. The first three years that I spent in college were not fun. I felt like a misfit loner. The more I tried to make the effort to fit in with people that I just didn’t fit in with, the more I drove people away. I wasn’t trying to be vulnerable. I was just trying to have boring conversations about everyday things and not make people uncomfortable. But I failed. They could sense my feelings of unworthiness? The groups of people I tried to hang out with were often just spending most of their time with old high school friends who happened to attend the same college. These were people who already knew each other pretty well and mostly talked about their high school related things and experiences that I could not relate to. But being vulnerable with these people in order to form a better bond didn’t really seem like an option. The place was mostly just a superficial cesspool of mediocrity? No, it wasn’t that bad. But drinking a lot of alcohol and throwing up seemed like the ultimate badge of coolness in my dorm anyway.
So I have a second reason for my question. I also read the online diary of a 30ish man who seems very lonely and sad. He is very intelligent and writes very well, but he just seems to feel like a misfit loner. He has a lot of health problems. He also is very lonely for female companionship. Once in a while he mentions thoughts of suicide. He also has money issues. He wants to be a writer. I like to read his diary but I feel that if he was someone that I actually knew in the real world I would shy away. I don’t think I would be up to the task of helping him to face his problems. I would feel like I was failing him if I knew all the things that I know about him.
I think there is a dark place people get to these days where talking to normal people about the depth of their problems is just too scary for them. They will just tell you to seek professional help. And the professional help will likely just prescribe some medication. And where does that leave these people?
Most days I’m not in this kind of dark of a place. But sometimes I do find myself there.
Anyway, I need purpose. I am a misfit loner. I don’t really want to be. I think that my tribe is too scattered and too afraid to express who they really are to actually find one another. So I want to be a catalyst to help people in my tribe find one another and find meaningful ways to engage and collaborate. I’m not sure how I will accomplish this yet, but I am putting this intention out into the universe. I have been flailing without direction and purpose for too long.
Perhaps the difference between vulnerability and neediness is a bit more hope that something can change? It’s the belief that there is light at the end of the tunnel and it’s still worth traveling down the dark tunnel to find it? Or I guess that feeling that you can go it alone? You don’t need someone to help. You aren’t looking for the answers from someone else but looking inside yourself? But is that unhealthy too?
I guess I didn’t really finish my college story. So I eventually gave up on making friends with any of these people. I spent many a day in the cafeteria eating alone as quickly as possible. That was fun. I didn’t mind being alone so much as it being a publicly visible thing. Then it became shameful, something was wrong with me.
Eventually, I decided there wasn’t something wrong with me as much as I just chose the wrong school. The place was huge and we changed our classes every 10 weeks. There was no time to get to know anyone. I need time to get to know people and form friendships. So I got a job on campus that allowed for more stability, and luckily I did start making friends.