The other night, I attended a Sade album listening party. Of course I was looking forward to it because--who doesn't love Sade? I went alone, which is usually no biggie to me because over the last couple of years, I've gotten used to being alone, going places alone & spending time alone. I've always enjoyed my own independence. So, I checked my coat, turned the corner, walked in & immediately was face-to-face with industry moves & shakers who I used to schmooze with when I first moved to NYC. You know, back when I was bright-eyed & bushy-tailed & armed with naitvete, ready for this concrete jungle to eat me alive.
I had fallen out of networking because I came across so many people that were insincere with contacting you. They'd tell you how awesome you are, promise dinner, drinks or whatever & you never hear from them again. It's like being in failed relationships over & over again--you become jaded. With this new year, I decided I would make an effort to change. I would grasp at some of that same bright-eyed-ness that I used to have & look at the world with my rose-colored glasses.
I went in with the intention of networking, only to just not feel like it once I was there. Maybe some liquid courage could help? So, off to the bar. Instantly, I started making jokes with this girl next to me, while I waited on the bartender. "Ok," I thought. "Maybe the social Danielle is back!" That little ray of sunshine didn't last long. Once I got my drinks, I walked around, smiling at folks & just clammed up. I went to sit alone at some booth & tried to make myself go chat. I was successful a few times for a few short chats, but nothing in-depth.
So, back to the bar I go. More drinks should loosen me up, right? Wrong! It only made me sad & I started thinking. Sometimes thinking can be my worst enemy. As I sat in my solitude in the middle of a NYC nightclub (a dream for most), playing Words with Friends on my iPhone. The more I played, the lonelier & sadder I got. That's when my girl Vintage Vandalizm aka Jasmin, texted me. She had been going thru somethings & I reached out to her earlier to make sure she was ok. She hit me up to thank me for caring. That's what opened up the flood gates. I let her know what was in my heart.
I was LONELY & it wasn't even on some needing a lover type stuff. I needed friends. Isn't it crazy that someone that has always been so social & appears to always be in a mood for parlaying ends up being a lonely loner? I've realized that I was & always have been independent--able to stand on my own without faltering, always apprearing strong & confident. But, truth is, I was always lonely & hurting. Jasmin & I spoke for a while back & forth & she let me know that she was working on a blog that I definitely needed to read. That's where her post "Meanings" comes into play & the reason for this blog. A response/reference.
READ JASMIN'S POST, HERE.
This girl is very similar to me, internally. That very night that I was explaining to her how I was feeling, she was in the process of writing this blog because of how she felt the previous weekend. We're both extremely independent & hold high standards for our friends because we're both great friends. Whenever someone did something to let me down, oh boy--disappointment doesn't even begin to cover it. That led me to distancing myself from people because I got so tired of being disappointed by them. I was convinced that people sucked & I was better off alone.
If the loneliness didn't fill my heart with so much heavy weight, I would have continued living this way. During the last few months of 09 & up til now, I allowed myself to make more connections with people & just put myself out there to develop friendships. Sure, I've been let down by some of these people, but I'm learning not to make it black & white, either you is or you ain't. I'm learning to give people room for error because honestly, when have I ever not messed up or let someone down?
However, old habits die hard. I am so used to being alone, that it comforts me, but at the same time, tortures me. There will be times where I'm asked to hang out, go to this cool spot, take this cool class & without thinking, I decline. Sometimes, I force myself to go & while I'm out, convince myself that being home alone would be much better. What am I doing to myself? It would be different if I enjoyed my alone time & that was that. But to be so conflicted about it makes me crazy.
Take tonight for example. I was supposed to be hitting up a bar & having a few drinks with some old coworkers--these people I have not seen since this summer. You think I'd be excited to catch up with all of them, but I used any old excuse I could to "get out of it." Although I did have to interview someone for YRB at 5pm, the interview was over 10 minutes til 6. I knew everyone was meeting at 6, but I still needed to get home & change--so I just scrapped those plans altogether. Basically acting as if I couldn't show up an hour into the get together. Now, instead of having a night of drinks with some cool people, chatting, laughing & going home with a smile on my face, I'm sitting here writing this blog about it & going to go home, straigh-faced, sit on my bed & watch TV alone until I pass out.
Unlike Jasmin, my loneliness isn't only because of people letting me down, it's because of me constantly letting myself down. I'm the kind of girl that is saddened by being loney, but when people call to hang out, I find reasons not to. I wonder what it is that I can do to make myself back into the social butterfly I used to be before moving here. Crazy as it seems, my move to NYC killed me socially & I moved here hoping for the exact opposite.
In order to fix this, at first, I am going to have to force myself in the beginning, to hang out with people that actually want to hang out with me. I've got to get myself out of the habit of being alone because I was the one that got myself IN that habit. I've got to get out of my antisocial cave. Or maybe the truth is, I can't do it alone? I always expect to do things alone because of being so independent & being used to handling things by myself. So maybe all I need is a helping hand? Jasmin's blog states that she held the key to her cage this entire time. If I'm holding the key, I have no clue how to use it.