People

People ask me why I sleep outside in the tent instead of inside.

***

I step in the front door, and already I hear — the fridge in the gym, the fan in the basement, the computer in the gym running, the hum of a house that never really shuts down. And also, someone in the kitchen. Making noise, yes, but more importantly, will this person be grumpy, angry, sullen, sad — or even just try to talk to me in the middle of my waking up thoughts?

It’s Dad.

***

I hate talking about “negative energy.” It sounds so floo-floo. When they post those random, “You know you’re an empath when. . . . you walk into a room and you can instantly tell if the group of people is tense or relaxed.” Can’t everyone? Seriously, can’t everyone? Doesn’t everyone? Constantly monitor the emotional electricity in every situation? Doesn’t it wear you out? Don’t you ever wish you could be around No Energy so you could rest?

***

I get people, but not people’s rules. Which random professions you tip versus which professions you don’t. When you’re expected to give hostess gifts and who is supposed to be gifted at Christmas (the mail person? really?). And why do we do this lying game where we say “supportive” things to people we don’t respect, don’t like, don’t approve of? The social games, those I do not get.

But I do get people. I can tell at a glance. And I’m learning more and more to trust it. More often than not, I wind up comforting someone in tears. So I know I know people. What I don’t know is why it seems so hard to build an actual friendship.

***

I never would have said before that I have anxiety or social anxiety. But now I find myself playing things over and over in my head. But what were they really saying? What were they really thinking? What is wrong with me? Why do I put people off? And then the dark whirlpool of pleasing others and earning affection.

I don’t think I need to be everyone’s favorite. I hate the feeling of wanting to ask people what the other people are saying behind my back.

***

I suppose that is too much to ask.

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