Wow, who knew moving to a foreign country by yourself could be lonely?
Last time I wrote something on here, I had just been rejected from Georgetown. I was confused and upset, and devastated. Georgetown is one of those schools you see on tv shows or in movies about children possessed by the devil, and this fame-factor alone was alluring. I liked the idea of going to a school with that kind of name-dropping power, and I kind of thought that because I had seen it on tv and in movies, that those tv shows and movies would have prepared me more for going to school there, had I actually been accepted from the waitlist. Obviously, I have no way to verify the validity of that statement (though, if I had to put money on it, I would bet that it wouldn’t have).
So, in an impulse move I’m still not 100% sure happened, I moved to Scotland. Edinburgh. The land of whiskey and kilts and Jamie Fraser (what? You thought I wouldn’t find a tv show to give me crazy expectations of Scotland in an effort to control some aspect of my moving there? Completely unrelated, if anyone wants to go to a stone circle with me and go back to 18th century Scotland, let me know, because that’s a thing that can totally happen probably, according to tv).
I knew there would be some adjustment and transition in my move, but I had forgotten how exhausting and nerve-wracking and scary the first few weeks of college felt. Before you have friends and group chats and study spots and brunch plans, and it’s just you alone, desperately trying to find people to talk to.
Fun fact: parakeets often chirp to themselves in a mirror if they are in a cage on their own. A lot of times, they think it’s another bird rather than their reflection. Whether this is due to actual belief, or just because they’re lonely enough to convince themselves of it, they do it. They will stand there, often for hours at a time, chattering and clicking and chirping to themselves, because parakeets are social animals.
So, it seems, are humans. There have been a lot of times when I feel like a parakeet alone in a cage, just trying to enjoy my own company.
Making friends is probably the #1 torture tactic I would use as an interrogator. Just sticking two random people with no common interests into a room and occassionally tapping on the glass and saying icebreakers into the speaker system: “Uhh, coke or pepsi? Discuss.”
And obviously, eventually, they’d find some common ground and conspire to escape, at which point I will have been discovered to be a really terrible interrogator, but the point is this: making friends sucks.
Those beginning stages, when you have to act super normal? Like, you can’t even send them memes yet, because, what if they don’t like memes? What if they think you’re clingy? Or you can’t show up to coffee in sweatpants and a t-shirt, you have to put in effort. Blossoming friendships are, essentially, relationship equivalents to Sunday mass. Polite, uncomfortable, but your mom is really proud of you for participating at all.
Anyway, I’ve digressed so far from the point, which, oh yeah, I haven’t even gotten to. Is that digression? Doesn’t matter.
In the first semester of last year at Fordham, I was really, really focused on putting my best foot forward. So focused, in fact, that I actually ended up tripping all over my feet and somehow they landed in my mouth and this metaphor has gotten really out of hand and kind of stupid.
I smiled and said yes to every single invitation to anywhere. Dinner in the city? I have $4 left in my account but I’m gonna say yes. Coffee? I’ve had four cups today but what are a few more heart palpitations in the grand scheme of things? Oh, what’s that? Going out every single weekend night, even though the routine of going to one specific bar for two hours and then one specific pizza place after got old 3 weeks ago? Let me grab my purse, did I mention I have 4 whole dollars left??
I wasn’t a social butterfly. I was more like a social…moth, a lot less flashy and pretty and attention-grabbing, flying towards the light that was the elusive “happiness”.
Because guys, I don’t know if you know, but college is supposed to be the best four years of your life. And I wanted it to be. And I thought if I just socialized and partied and talked to enough people, I’d find my place. I’d run into people at a party that I just clicked with, and then we’d have all these crazy adventures and fun stories. But it never happened — I had fun times with good people, but it was like a seatbelt that just wouldn’t click in properly.
And now I’m here. Starting again. But this time, I’ve made it my mission not to agree to things I don’t want to do. Not that I’m not eager to make friends or that if someone asked if I wanted to get food after class I would spit in their face, but just that I have no intention of signing up for things so that I seem like a super fun, relaxed person. Sometimes, I’m going to say no to things, because Netflix exists and my bed is comfy and I’ve already taken my contacts out.
And on another note, I’m not going to chase people anymore. I always reach out first to others, because I’m terrified that if I don’t that they’ll forget me and leave me and 10 years later people will say, “hey, weren’t you friends with them? what happened to that?” and I’ll have to say, “well, one day they forgot all about me and everything sucks.” So, I chase people. I text and I facetime and I email, and I try to stay involved in their lives. And the funny thing is about this, is I’ve noticed that a lot of people don’t do it. It seems that the ratio of texter to textee is not at all balanced. Like, the other day I got a text from a girl and she asked how my cold was doing, and I was completely shocked that someone had texted me first. So, formal request to textees: send a text first once and a while. That panic you feel when it says delivered and you see them tweeting but they haven’t responded? Welcome to our world, bring this experience back to the rest of your life.
But I’ve realized, if people don’t want to make an effort to be in my life, I shouldn’t want to keep them there. It’s just a miserable experience for everyone. Plus, there are so many people in the world. So many. And I’m gonna sit here sad because Karen from my Linguistics lecture didn’t add me back on Facebook? (Yeah, I probably am, because that’s just kind of rude. It’s Facebook, not Twitter. There’s a huge gap of friendship there, Karen.)
I was going to tie in this whole quote that for some reason is framed in my bathroom back home about a butterfly and if you chase the butterfly it will leave but if you don’t it will come land on your shoulder?? Which, by the way, I have found exactly zero evidence for. But the thing is that this post is kind of already too crowded with cliches, so I guess it just has to go here at the end.