All these years I've been beating myself up over it, thinking it was some sort of selfish defect. If only I'd put myself out there and all that. Well, I mean, I should still put myself "out there," but only as much as I feel comfortable doing. For the last number of years I've tried to push myself beyond the point with the aim of coming across as a non-shy, non-selfish, non-awkward, got-my-crap-together, well-adjusted person. But really, though I may have my crap together and be on my way to being well-adjusted, that wasn't actually who I was. I've been trying to be someone I'm not for years now.
I even remember in ninth grade there was this pseudo-scientific personality test going around - thanks to our Bible teacher, of all people - and for some reason I kept thinking I was the "Popular" type, the one that was funny and the life of the party, that sort of thing. But my classmates kept saying to me, "Will, you're not funny." Only now is that starting to sink in! They knew me better than I did. For the most part, they didn't like me, but neither did I at the time.
Oddly enough, I enjoy public speaking and acting, though I'm nervous as all get out when those things come up. I force myself through those things anyway, and generally I do pretty well. But that's performing. Socializing and small talk - those aren't performance things. Even if I performed perfectly for a time, how long could I sustain it?
When I was in grade school, I was lonely to the point of absurdity. I was willing to do or say almost anything for the sake of attention. I think I got into being this character that I really wasn't. I'd always try to say the weird thing or make the awkward joke. It's gotten so perverted now that I actually like making awkward, off-putting jokes and references. It's time to wean myself off of that.
One thing that I know that I like? Chemistry! Why didn't I take this before? But many people caution that second-year in any given subject is much different than first-year / high school. I hear psychology mentioned in this way a lot, and I enjoyed its first-year introductory course and snatched an easy A+. So it's really still up in the air whether or not I have a future in sciences or not. But I know for sure that I most definitely do not have a future in literary criticism - well, I've known that for some time now. I tried teaching, but discovered that I don't have the heart to wrangle people the way they need to be. Honestly, my Japanese cooperating teachers deserve most of the credit for holding my classes down. When they left, it was bedlam. And I wanted to be anyplace else but there.
I also need to be doing more things. Even if I'm not working (and I don't want to at the moment, because I don't have to), I really need to be doing something constructive. All I've been making lately are excuses. I mean, I'm either reading my chemistry text, answering a zillion questions in it, practising my singing, or taking Paul someplace on any given day, but maybe that's not enough? I do waste a lot of hours sitting around. I did choose to buy that DSi. (This may pay off, though. There's a girl who takes my bus who hauled out one, and I never would have thought. When I see her next week, I can ask what games she's playing or whatever. It's ridiculously facile, but easy things sometimes work.)
I don't mean to burden random readers or even my friends with lame, trite woe-is-me bullcrap, but I have had pathologically low self-esteem since a certain point in my childhood. (Paradoxically, it's the kind of twistedness that lends itself to surefire turnoffs such as false modesty.) Basically what happened was that the guidance counsellors suddenly told me that I was special. Instead of demurring like John Locke, I took the message wholeheartedly, and the next thing I knew they were telling me that there was such a thing as "too special."
There was this book they kept showing me called "The Mouse, The Monster, and Me," and I felt like, no matter what I did, I was always the mouse or the monster, but never me. There was nothing I could do or say to please them. Or, I should say, nothing that was in my capacity at the time. I'm sure if I shut my mouth and did everything obediently, they would have said I was perfectly well-adjusted and closed my file. I probably should have also considered actually reading the book. After the "Wait for William" debacle in first grade (I was just as slow as its protagonist, but also cursed with a (misplaced?) pride that could be injured), I was categorically turned off by anything they shoved under my nose. Also, I think it would have been good if they tried to meet me halfway. Like if someone had watched a Star Wars movie once, that would have been helpful.
So yeah, close Dundas. ;-) I have no fondness for it. Let the kids go to Cardigan or Souris, where they'll make more friends. The extra ten minutes on the bus will be well worth it.