What does it mean when you walk into a room where everyone knows your name and yet no one knows you?
After years forcing myself to be social and learning/attempting to enjoy the company of others, I realized tonight the harm it has done me. It seems I’ve inadvertently situated myself such that the very thought of being alone has become terrifying. What once excited me now makes me shudder. I no longer rely on myself to save myself. I was told that I “didn’t have to do this all alone.” So, I began to look to others. When they failed, I suffered.
To clarify, being social is not bad. In being social, I have learned the existence and community the importance of support. These things have been crucial to my development as a person.
However, what no one told me is that your skinfolk ain’t your kinfolk. Your kinfolk ain’t necessarily your skinfolk, either. As a result, I let anyone into my space. Anyone. Because humans are humans are humans and we’re all inherently good, right? (Humans are neither inherently good nor bad, humans are born only human; all else is constructed.)
I’ve let people treat me any sort of way because I felt so in need of attention and acknowledgement of my existence from others. External validation from those I “cared” about became a subconscious necessity. Even when made to feel inferior and inadequate on a regular basis, I allowed people to remain in my space because I felt that, somehow, this was how this new thing I was experiencing called “friendship” worked.
If this is what friendship looks like then I need not have friends. Frankly, it reminds me of the manipulative abuse I endured from my mother. I’ll pass.
When you walk into a room where everyone knows your name and yet no one knows you, it means you need to walk right the fuck back out.
I can no longer grant people access to my body, to my space, because I subconsciously believe that anything has to be better than being alone again. In fact, being alone again might just be what I need. I was a better person then, in some ways. More productive. Less stressed. Nowadays I find myself too busy trying to help others to bother with helping myself. Increasingly lonely. Constantly alone.
I hereby dub Summer 2014 the Summer of Self-love and (intentional) Aloneliness.
“I have no friends," says Shaan to a friend.
I hate saying that I have no friends. It delegitimatizes the handful of dope people who have stood by my side, the new folks I’ve been meeting, and those I have yet to meet. It invalidates the late night conversations about what it means to live authentically, that time we had dinner waffles then went to a sex shop in search of a whip, and the time we talked about the concept of “good head” in a crowd of ritzy White folks. These were good times.
When I say “I have no friends,” what I really mean is “I have friend who live far away or are too busy to be friendly so I would like to meet other people but I can’t seem to so I have no friends that aren’t already friends.” Or something like that.
I long for those crazy nights that supposedly make up one’s young adult life. I want to go to campus things and dance and have school pride. I feel like my college experience thus far has been heavy on the soul-searching and light on the…whatever else. My life has been very, very full of soul-searching. I’d like to party, please. (Even though I don’t actually like parties, but this is not the point.)
On TV, they never say anything about the college experience being 40% classes + homework, 70% working to pay the bills, 7% trying to remember to sleep and eat, and 3% attempting to be social. They never talk about how if you’re not on scholarships or getting help from your parents, the “traditional” college experience isn’t an option for you. I also question how being Black, queer, and trans plays into this. Much less of the world is accessible, for sure.
I’ve been trying to make it work, though. I’m in the running to be president of HUs LGBTQ+ organization, and I was interviewed for an RA position. Hopefully one of these works out; ideally both, but if I had to choose I’d rather be an RA. At least then I could live on campus and meet people and actually know what even goes on at this college. Because right now? Right now all I know is there are big black metal rods in the quad and people are mad because Diddy is giving some speech and I don’t understand and ijustwannaseecutebois.
I’m kind of back on Tumblr, I suppose. I miss having a space to write in a non-academic manner. Also, I see a lot of y’all done got cute over this past year and I want to gawk. So. Hello, again.
I think the main reason I don’t say anything on here anymore is because I truly don’t even know who I’m speaking to.
This afternoon, I will presenting a “Queer Concept & Trans 101.5 Workshop” at George Mason University. My article, “Pride Ain’t All Good: Celebrating Pride and Prejudice,” was assigned as reading for the class and I was asked to come discuss the article and the underlying themes of it. Words I, a little Black Queer boi, wrote were assigned as reading in an academic setting and I was asked to come talk more about the topic. Am I the only one amazed by this?
It is moments like these—six hours before the start time with a Powerpoint incomplete—that remind me of the importance of our work and unity as Black Queer people. Gwarls and bois—our voices and stories are important. We deserve to be taught in academia, and not just the normative of us. All of us. However, as loud as we shout from the rooftops and the streets, our singular voices are not loud enough to be heard over the roar of the privileged. This is why we must work in harmony with our queer family to create spaces. Classrooms, conferences, dorm halls, Corporate America—we exist in all of these places. Let’s make use of them.
I have this theory that White people being messy ties into their racial privilege and the concept of taking up space. Whereas Black people tend to be neat because we’ve been taught our “place” and thus to take up minimal space, White people tend to be messy because they think they own everything and can do whatever they wish with no care for others in that space.
Every room in the house has their…belongings…in it (except for my bedroom). My items? All in my tiny room or right outside of it, except dishes in the kitchen.
Speaking of dishes! The ceiling had a leak…so they used MY pot to catch the water and have yet to wash it out. It’s been a week. The pot is sitting on a chair near the garbage can. I think they’re planning on throwing it out. And I’m like, “Uh…no.”
Why do I put myself in these situations? Is $350 in Washington, DC really worth this?
I’m not happy at Howard University. Maybe it’s the circumstances under which I’m here, maybe it’s the school, or maybe it’s me. Maybe it’ll just take more getting used to. Maybe I haven’t found the right set of friends. Maybe I need to get involved on campus. Maybe the fact that I’m a transfer student, a non-traditional student, and I live off campus play a role.
Whatever the case may be, I feel no pride about being a Bison. I’ve met a handful of like-minded people and they all feel the same. In fact, it seems very few non-freshman students actually want to be here. Despite being “The Mecca,” HU seems like the school people go to when 1) their top choice didn’t work out, 2) they were given a scholarship, or 3) they are a legacy. But for people such as myself—average transfer students paying out of pocket? No love.
Apparently homecoming is coming up. I don’t even know what that is (football and “turn up”?), but everyone is excited so I’d like to take part. Too bad I don’t have any friends to take part with. And I’m tired of dong things alone, so…
It’s only been two months. I’ll get in where fit in soon enough. I just have to put myself out there, right? I have to walk up to people and introduce myself so they can laugh at me when I walk away…right?
On a side note: who thought it was a brilliant idea to have a middle school in the middle of a college campus?