Fear and Loathing in West Berlin

“I think I’m getting the fear.”

Here’s the thing:

I’m twenty-one years old, of relatively sound mind (most days), not entirely beyond reproach, though I’ve made my fair share of stupid decisions. I’m not exactly warm and fuzzy. I’ve been told I make people nervous. Until recently I didn’t really ‘do’ hugs and honestly I still don’t really know how they work. I’m flighty, I’m insecure, painfully shy in the presence of strangers, emotionally distant, neurotic beyond it being comparable to any charming Woody Allen heroine. I am an expert on animal facts but human nature evades me. I’m constantly afraid of being a burden or annoying people to the extent I’m terrified of instigating plans out of fear of rejection. I’ve been on one date in my entire life and it ended with the boy sending me an angry Facebook tyrade because he thought I was rude. I’ve never had a boyfriend, period. Not even in that cutesy way little kids have them. I was a chubby schoolgirl with crooked teeth, go figure. I never know how to talk to people so I keep quiet or I’m far too loud and everyone thinks I’m either a bitch or I’m a complete psychopath. People have said “pull yourself together” more times than I can count but I still don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, like it’s so easy to just change twenty-one years of self-inflicted loathing in one Eat Pray Love moment.

And then I’m lazy. I procrastinate. I turn down invitations because I’m afraid people will regret inviting me and then they stop inviting me because I turn them down and I feel upset I’ve not been invited and then I’m alone and think that I’m better off but then I’m lonely and it’s all my fault. People stop telling me things because I don’t open up to them (unless it’s 3am and I’ve had a little too much to drink and I’m crying on a barstool clutching a wilting cigarette in shaking hands). I fall in love daily with boys who show me the slightest kindness which might be a result of deep-seated daddy issues or might just be who I am. Not that it matters because I never put my heart on the line anyway because I’m scared of rejection, embarrassment, of losing friends, of the remote possibility they might like me too. Because why would they? Why would anyone? And years down the line when they have a girlfriend and I’m sat in a foreign country alone inevitably staring at my computer screen I’ll think about the relationship we never had. Even if there was slightest interest I wouldn’t know because I’m suspicious of the slightest kindness and I’m strongly of the opinion that flirting is a secret language I was never taught to understand or speak.

I worry about what to say every moment of every day until it gets to the stage when I’m lying awake at three in the morning replaying conversations with everything I should have said instead. I fill silence with inane questions, inane babble, fishing up facts from the back of my mind that no one really wants to hear, so there’s polite smiles, awkward laughter, awkward silences. I’m worried all those jokes about me being a crazy cat lady might actually be true and I don’t want to be a joke. I’ve always been a joke. I’m worried no matter what I do I won’t be happy.I’m nostalgic for a past life I never had. I hate that I never know how to react when someone is upset, especially someone I care about,  I hate that I have deep-seated trust issues, I hate that I’m paranoid, I hate that I’m afraid to say what I think. I don’t know why my friends want to be my friends and it disconcerts me because I like knowing things. I’m suspicious of the slightest nicety. I take things and people for granted. I live inside my head. I don’t know a thing about loss which only serves to make me terrified to experience it because I feel like the world will fall away and I’ll fall away with it, just collapse into nothingness.

I am, at best, damaged goods, a silly girl with a blog and more words than she knows what do to with, uncomfortable in her own skin, fully aware of how insignificant she is in the grand scheme of things but hopelessly human and bound to spill her guts as self-indulgent as it seems because writing is cathartic and writing is the only way out. I don’t have all the answers, in fact I don’t think I have any of them at all. And on a daily basis I tell myself it’s okay at twenty-one to be a mess, it’s okay to eat cheesecake for breakfast, to drink before noon, to think that everything can be solved with a shopping spree, to chain smoke and pretend your problems don’t exist. It’s not mature. I’m not mature. I sleep next to a stuffed toy of Mike from Monsters Inc. I don’t know a whole lot about maturity.

But this is me.

And this is a testament to every damn stupid little idiosyncrasy that makes me who I am, whether I like it or not.

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