David Oliver, I’ve gone in and I’ve gone out. Also the same party.
The girl who threw the party was quite popular-we’re going to call her K. She was clever, smart, and very cute. I became friends with her in sixth grade, but our friendship began to gradually fade at the beginning or mid-seventh grade, and by eighth grade I was ridiculously shy and our friendship became basically more distant. We’ve never fought or anything, we’ve always got along.
During October 2016, K threw a Halloween party. She posted the details on her Snapchat story, and a lot of people came, mostly because she had practically everybody that went to our school on her Snapchat. The only problem was that the vast majority of her friends were very popular. At least thirty people showed up to that party. I was one of them.
If I was invited, I asked her, and she told me I was. That night, I got ready and my mother drove me to her house, all the while telling me to be outgoing and cool. I told her I’d be out, and I’d be cool, even if I spoke the words, a huge knot of nauseous anxiety curled in me. But after three months of practicing.
I was dropped off at the party and saw a lot of people I recognized. Key word: recognized. I knew their names and I overheard rumors about all of them, but wasn’t technically friends with them. A lot of the people that I recognized were normally nice to me in school, but now they were surrounded by their friends, so I assumed they wouldn’t pay a lot of attention to me. Plus, I didn’t want to just shove myself unwelcomingly into their friend circle. Who does that, right? So I didn’t even say hello.
For the first half hour, I kind of just wandered around, lost. I hadn’t found anybody to hang out with (yet), and everybody seemed occupied. It was like every person I knew had two or three other friends and they just stuck together like glue the entire time. They didn’t look at me. I was invisible. I didn’t want to look like I was begging for attention, so I didn’t walk up to them and start talking. Who does that, right?
An hour and a half had passed. I was still by myself. By this time, I had begun to cry. Let me remind you, I was alone, so it wasn’t like I was just bawling my eyes out like a baby in the center of everything. I sat at an empty picnic table and silently cried as I texted my mom and boyfriend. I begged my mom to pick me up, and I begged my boyfriend to try and see if he could maybe come. My mom was, as expected, angry with me. She said things like I was being weird and that I knew K, so why didn’t I just stick with K the entire time? My boyfriend, also as expected, couldn’t and didn’t want to come—K wasn’t his most favorite person and neither were all the other people here. I asked him to at least video chat with me so I wouldn’t just look like I was sitting at a secluded picnic table staring at my phone like a creep. Nope—he was in the car and didn’t want to video chat. Whatever.
Eventually, K’s friend came up to me and asked me what was wrong. Instantly, I felt really bad. I felt bad because she probably thought she needed to come over and check up on me. I didn’t want the attention and I felt guilty that K’s friend thought she should make sure that I was alright. I wiped away my tears casually and told her that everything was okay, I was just hitting up my mom and bf. Something stood out to me when I did this: my voice sounded completely normal. Here I was, sobbing, and when I spoke, my voice sounded the exact same (I mean the exact same) as it did when I was talking regularly. I think it took K’s friend by surprise, although she didn’t show it. It surprised me—I was so good at faking my emotions that I could actually make my voice sound totally different when I was crying. I could fool anybody if I wanted to. How did I know how to do this?
Two hours later, I left painfully. My mother picked me up and yelled at me as she saw me crying. For being such a frightening weirdo, I was also mad at myself. At that party, I could have fun, I could have been normal for once. But no, I had to screw him up and cry like a crazy man. How to go to me.
Since then, I’ve been working very hard on this issue. I’ve been the life of every party since today, December 2018.