I attended a social function tonight. I have come to realize that I am not overly social. I want to be. Sometimes I am. I have given this a lot of thought, and although the norm is if one is not social, then they are antisocial. I'm not sure if I qualify for that. I mean, sure, just like sometimes I am social, sometimes I am antisocial. But the rest of the time I think I would term myself as nonsocial. Not actively being social or antisocial. Just simply not engaging in either. I don't really know how to be social. I am definitely not the type of person who is able to walk up to a person or group of people I don't know, and start a conversation. I don't know how, and it is uncomfortable for me. Sure, the basic fear of rejection is there, but for me I think there is a deeper underlying fear. I sometimes think that I am so unlike these people I encounter, that there is no way that I could possibly fit in. And that fear comes from lots of life experiences. After my mom died when I was ten, I realized that I was now "different" than everyone else. Add to that the angry depression that characterized my teenage years, and I was no longer a happy-go-lucky person. So I was "different" and also not happy so social things were quite difficult. There was a time in high school that things were better, and I was so ready to goto college, where I would be able to live on my own and become who I wanted to be. Five days after I arrived at college, my nana died. So once again, I was reminded of being "different." I also lapsed back into a depression that made being around people difficult. But I was able to make a group of friends whom I met through ROTC, and they were my peer group through my college years. I had a girlfriend for over two years as well. And then September 11th happened. I became depressed again. Being from New York but so far away, made it difficult for me to concentrate on being in college at that time. In the days and weeks after, once again, I felt "different." I couldn't understand how everyone seemed to be able to shrug it off, to just get back into the normal daily stuff, hang out, laugh at jokes and have a good time. I couldn't understand how everyone around me seemed OK with what had happened, while I was decidedly not OK with it. I began blowing off classes and even ROTC, I spent more time at the bar, and finally came to the realization that maybe I didn't really belong at college. Maybe being surrounded by all these people whom I was "different" then was not the right thing. I decided to enlist in the Marine Corps, rather than stay at college for two more years and become an officer. So three months after 9/11, I enlisted. In January of 2002, I attended recruit training and became a Marine. When I returned to college in the Fall of 2002, the "difference" between me and the rest of the people around me became much clearer and well-defined. I was now a Marine, trained to serve my country, waiting only for the call; while the people around me seemed alien to me. In some ways it was a shift in perspective -- maybe I wasn't the different one, maybe they were. But that shift didn't solve anything. In January 2003 I was called up, and off I went to fight a war half a world away. When I returned, there was literally no way I could see myself as fitting in with anyone there who had not just come back from Iraq. Two years later, I would come back from Iraq again, this time having lost my best friend in combat, and I could not equate myself with anyone I met. It's been five years since I returned, and while most of the Iraq-related things have been processed, I'm still not sure that I ever really felt "normal" and included with the social world around me.
Please forgive me, I am not proofreading this, so I'm not sure if it is coherent, or even makes sense. I just wanted to get it out of my brain so that I may end up seeing a new perspective on it, or realizing something. I haven't yet. But maybe in time. Or maybe you will and you might have some insight to share. Who knows. All I'm saying is, it would be nice every once in a while to be socially OK.