Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Friends

I have changed significantly over my lifetime. I know for a fact that I was one of the most painfully shy children ever born. I flamed into a giant pair of blushing cheeks whenever anyone not in my family addressed me, whether it was at school, in a store, or even in my own home. I had very good grades except in any class involving public speaking. I didn't even like to be in a concert, surrounded by other kids holding instruments, because I thought I could feel someone in the audience staring at me, criticizing me.

Near the end of my junior year of high school, I remember watching one of my friends during math class. She joked with the teacher, something inconceivable to me. That was a small but very momentous minute of my life: I knew that in order to "succeed," whatever success meant to me at the time, I had to get over my fear of people and fear of being judged.

From junior to senior year, I tried to break out of my shell. It was easier than I expected, mostly because my high school went from seventh through twelfth grades, which meant I had known most of my class for that entire duration. My graduating class was only 165 people, which isn't a hugely intimidating amount. In retrospect, I am so glad to have made the conscious decision to stop being shy in high school rather than in college.

College, at the Art Institute, was a whole different creature. The weird students, all older than me, and their bizarre clothes, hair, shoes, piercings, tattoos, they overwhelmed me. I regressed a bit, turned inward again. My friend, who I recently moved back in with, helped me turn outward again. She brought out the brashest, brassiest part of me. I banished my demons once more and joined in with "regular" society.

Every time I start a new job, I start inching my way back to that shy student. After a few months, I start poking my head out of my shell and try to fight back my trepidation. Okay, to be honest, it's not a few months, it's usually a year. Yes, I need a YEAR to get over my crippling fear of people. Don't judge me!

I always manage to get help in socializing myself. At my first job, it was Carlos. He influenced and colored my life more than anyone else so far, excluding family. He put me at ease, made me laugh, helped me befriend everyone else there.

At my second job, it was Carlos.

At my third job, it was Carlos.

We worked together a lot. Weirdos, both of us.

I don't know how he did it, but he just slid into my life, past my defenses, and made himself at home. I have not been the same since we parted ways- even though it was my choice, the feeling that remained was decidedly not selected by me.

During my third job, I met people that I remain friends with today. They are close friends that will meet my children, should I ever have them. They have been with me through a lot (mainly the dissolution of my professional relationship with the company- it was like an acrimonious divorce, but I didn't get alimony), holding my hand, providing shoulders to cry on (read: rant and rave), handing me drinks when words and screaming weren't enough. They saw me through my eventual disenchantment with this industry, which I believe is akin to a little girl slowly realizing that Prince Charming? Really just Joe the Plumber with a crown.

I credit my friends with a lot. They deserve it.

My problem lately is that I don't have such a friend at Sony (yet). I know that person is around ... somewhere. But where? And why aren't they here yet? Though I have been here since last November, I still feel like the new kid in school, the foreign exchange student that doesn't get the inside jokes and doesn't know the lingo.

The most disappointing thing, to me, is that I thought, up until a couple weeks ago, that I'd met that friend. It was a sufficiently funny story- we met in Santa Monica, nowhere near work, and discovered that we worked for the same company- coincidental, accidental, unconventional. I like to meet people in odd ways, have a strange conversation with them, hit it off.

We did usual friend-like things in the usual places. The friendship was progressing swimmingly. I thought to myself, 'Hmm. This might be the person that helps me get over whatever remaining fear I have about Sony. Good, it's about bloody time!'

Then.

Sigh.

Nope, won't work. I don't know what happened, exactly. But I don't think we're friends anymore. I know some people get into a new relationship and completely disappear; I'm happy that I don't generally have friends like that. Maybe this one is like that? If that's true, it's better to know now than find out later, after we've become closer friends and abandonment-via-dating would hurt me more. It's still left me perplexed, though.

And, in a way, this experience has made me a bit unhappy at work. I don't know what to do when I'm either fighting with or just not getting along with people that I see in the workplace. It confuses and frustrates me, which makes me angry, which then makes me lash out at others (ahem, such as my sister or my neighbors).

Anxiety. This all leads to anxiety.

Anxiety, I think, leads to heavy drinking, which is the cause of many bad things. I'm not at the point of heavy drinking (yet), but contemplating it. Idle thoughts about tequila are not healthy.

It's amazing how much of an influence friends can have. Family, it goes without saying- they are blood relatives, know you better than anyone else possibly can, and are able to push your buttons effortlessly. I know this from experience- having a sibling just a year younger than me taught me a lot. But I didn't expect that my friends would have this sort of pull over me. It surprises me every single time.

Luckily, one of my Rhythm + Hues friends decided that we needed to have a little time together and pulled me out of my self-pitying mope. He is fantastic and I love him to death, and he was exactly the dose of wonderful friend that I needed yesterday to restore my faith in people and give me my mojo back. (If you're reading this, I cannot for the life of me find your blog! What's the URL??-- edit: here's my lovely friend, here! And his lovely artwork!)

Between the Frenemy and the Almost-Friend, I'm sure there will be banshee-wails and/or beaming superlatives blogged soon.

Meanwhile, someone pour me a drink.

2 comments:

Diana E. September 16, 2009 at 6:27 PM  

losing a friend is tough... whether through a fight or that slow fading away... you've made me think here about the people i miss who were once so important to my life...

jeanny September 17, 2009 at 11:56 AM  

I hope you have great memories with them!