I have a bad habit of not working well without boundaries.

It’s nothing specific to me that caused me to be this way. Growing up, I always had boundaries that I established to make sure I can be the best “me” that I can be. This didn’t really apply to any specific context or anything, but part of my “normal nature.” I guess talking about it isn’t as effective as giving examples, so here we go.

Physical space as been a boundary of mine that has been a reoccurring theme in people that know me. I have always found it difficult to have fun in social settings. It wasn’t until my second year of college that I finally understood why. During my English Advanced Composition and Critical Thinking class, we were required to read this book called “Quiet,” by Susan Cain. This book focused on the two different types of general personalities in American culture: Introverts and Extroverts. We took a quiz to see where we ranked on this scale in my Psychology class as well. In both of the subject fields, I fell into the Introvert category.

Being an introvert really does explain a lot about my personality. I always liked interacting with people, but when it came to groups that were bigger than about 6-8, I started to get anxiety attacks. I never understood why, because my best example of this was during high school when I went to my theater company’s cast party. I knew everyone in the cast pretty well, as I had worked with them for four months to produce Romeo and Juliet. I was greeted by everyone who saw me, but for whatever reason, deep down inside, I just didn’t feel welcomed. I started to slowly distance myself to the nearest corner, in the dark, shrouding myself with my malevolent thoughts.

“They don’t actually want me here.” That was one of the messages floating around me. There were others that were in that head-space, but that was the loudest one that I remember. And me, being 14 at that time, didn’t know how to handle that experience. I mostly have never came to that sense of dread at a social interaction before, with the exception of family parties as I knew they were not found of me from the get-go and the occasional class potluck where I would keep to myself. All I know is that I needed space at the time, and the darkness was the safest and warmest place of them all.

– J.E.

5 thoughts on “Space

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