If you have known me long enough, or read this a few times, you probably have a basic idea of some of the phases I’ve been through in the last few years of my life. One of the dominant themes of the past 2 and a half was intense isolation, and the loss of myself. I often noted that I feel like a stranger in my own skin, and high doses of isolation with no respite will atrophy a person’s ability to interact with people. It isn’t so much that you necessarily become socially awkward, but more like you become socially uncomfortable, because you’ve atrophied.
I’m no extrovert by any means, I can sometimes carry the facade that I am moderately extroverted, and I can also ramble and talk a lot if you get me going, or if I let myself lose track of everything (I either keep track of Every. Single. Thing. or absolutelynothing), but I think that when I am in shape– have the average person’s level of social fitness, I do pretty well. For what felt like most of my lifetime (2 1/2 years), I felt clueless with people. If you could transmute the amount of thought I put into trying to rediscover the simple art of basic conversation into matter and energy, I could have spawned an entire galaxy. For the life of me and my future children, I could not make any ground at all.
When I was alone, I pondered it.
When I was with my best friend, I tried to glean.
When I was in an unfamiliar crowd, I observed under a microscope.
When I was with a close group, I tried to catalog how I felt when I hit a natural state of interaction with them.
On and on and on I went, and never did I feel like I learned anything. If you don’t learn anything, you certainly can’t apply it.
Arrive at today, and now I am back in a normal routine, a frequent environment surrounded by people with the necessity of immediate interaction, and I’ve pretty much gotten it all back within a month. A simple month. Like riding a bike, right? I am far from the best, but I can stay afloat without much effort, or having stress or anxiety about it (like normal people), which was totally an alien concept to me for a good while. At times, I even excel.
And today I found myself circling back to when I was trying to consciously understand it, and fit shapes into their outline cutouts, and take myself from a state of being able to do what I am trying to understand (so that I can do it), and I realized that I still have no idea or understanding. Instead, it just happens. That’s normal, but the understanding will always be a lost part of what was a lost art.