I think this will inevitably have to be sort of long... (an alternative subject title would be 'Mememememememe!') for obvious reasons...
Not sure where to start... I am a very odd person. My latest idea about it is to relate it to Baudrillard's theory of precession, but, rather than the map taking the place of the land, the map is used to obscure the land. It seems I act out a caricature of myself, so that no one will suspect that it is very close to what actually lies beneath. The Baudrillard reference is probably quite pointless here, though perhaps a good indication of my rather skewed mode of reference (reading too much...). I think the point I want to make, which does seem a good starting point, is that everything is so muddled, overlapping, causally indeterminate, and so on, when I try to pin it down. If a person is made of layers, like an onion (who was it used that metaphor?), I can never seem to determine the order of the layers, or even if such layers exist, and are the outer layers there as a disguise or an aspect (even if they are a sort of disguise, the shape that disguise takes is still a function of those inner layers). Yes, everything is very confused. And I like that, even though it is not the most effective way of leading your life. But it is also why I need some kind of second opinion: I am so bloody self-enveloped, introspective, self-centred, but I am not sure if this is to the extent that have lost perspective on things.
As long as I can remember I have felt a bit of an outsider. Especially as a teenager - but then again that is perfectly normal. I read this novel where the discrepancy between inner and outer self was central, and after that I assumed that everyone else did actually feel like I did - like strangers in a strange land - but that they, like I, were very good at hiding it. Self-estrangement and repulsion at self-pity being two of my main driving forces, I started to force myself into new situations and making new friends. I suppose it has been a partial success, but lately I have once again started to suspect there might actually be something ‘wrong’ with me. Yes, I have made new friends, but I have still never been in a relationship, and I still do not feel actual intimacy with anyone. Not even my family. The ‘problem’ is, however, that I think I do want to be able to connect with people. I wonder if it is just social conditioning that makes me think the only way to be happy or fulfilled is to be in a relationship, but then again, giving up on it might just be taking the easy way out, or perhaps it is not so much taking the easy way out as avoiding a life of trying to achieve something I neither want nor can achieve. I really don’t know if I have any major issues with intimacy or not. I don’t quite understand the concept, which might in itself be the problem: either my criteria of what counts as intimacy are too high, and I do experience what other people refer to as intimacy and I’m asking for some kind of spiritual holistic out-of-body-experience. Or I am actually unsuccessful in achieving it. I suppose there are some indications in this direction: others seem to put much more energy into relationships than I do: it always surprises me when people I thought were in approximately the same social situation as I receive a text, and I kept being astonished when I came back to school after the summer to find that my friends had been seeing each other, and when the person I considered my best friend for three years kept referring to this other person I never met as ‘her best friend.’ It is not really that I am unpopular. Well, I tend to think I am, but every now and then someone makes a (very convincing) point of how much they like being with me or how funny I am. But still, people quite rarely actually ask me to do things with them. It must be something about the way I behave, but I really cannot see it myself, which is odd, because once you start looking for these things you do tend to start noticing things. Apparently, for the first term or so, the others on my course had me down as aloof, and maybe I do seem distant and uninterested, and I never show how hurt I am when my friends go to the cinema, or have a coffee together, or whatever, without even asking me. Not that I would necessarily accept, but just the idea. It seems I like people in principle, but find it hard to put into practice, but then again I don’t know to what extent I want to put it into practice. I’m quite content on my own, and I never feel as close to others as when quiet among strangers. I also quite enjoy being with people I feel don’t understand me one bit (generally extroverted ‘simple’ people) because I don’t have to put any effort into confusing them as to what I really feel, whereas with people I suspect are more like me I feel threatened by the idea that someone might see beyond my ‘mask’.
I have suspected that I might be avoidant, but it does not seem to fit particularly, as I don't tend to feel anything worse than discomfort or detachment in social situations. Then a week or so ago I came across the concept of schizoid and schizotypal personality disorder – I do not understand how I have not found it earlier – and all the ‘symptoms’ fitted a little too well, though mostly I suppose they were sort of 'mild' and I am evidently not completely asocial. Still, I can’t get away from the suspicion that this is yet another outlet for my self-centredness, and that I have created these symptoms in myself as part of my project of self-estrangement, trying to convince myself that I am an outsider. Then again, all the symptoms were things I have observed in myself before ever reading about the concept, and the very fact that I strive towards estrangement must surely in itself be part of it: I’m quite sure that’s not a normal thing to do; people do strive towards community rather than away from it, right? It was actually a big relief finding this: it is the best indication yet that I’m not just being ridiculous. Then again, I don't suppose I am a particularly severe case of anything: I function okay, most of the time, although I keep having the feeling that everything is just a bit easier for everyone else, but I am thankful that I seem to have a rather high default level of happiness which means I don't tend to be particularly troubled by these things. At least not on good days. Then again, it is quite hard work to achieve the kind of social interaction where I see it as a positive thing, and, who knows, I might actually enjoy an intimate relationship if I managed to establish it.
Well, there I go. I’m really not sure what I want to get out of posting this. I tend to be equally disturbed by people agreeing and disagreeing with me, and every time I try to reach out and hint to people what I feel, I always feel like I lose something, be it dignity or integrity or I don’t know. But at least this is very very anonymous (or I would never ever post it). Well, anyway, lately I have considered maybe it would be worth it asking for help. The student union offers free counselling, but I am not sure it would be worth the (rather gargantuan) effort to actually approach them, let alone follow through with sessions. I feel nauseous just thinking about it. But if anyone actually bothers to read all this (I obviously find it hugely fascinating myself, with all my self-obsession), and they think they think they could contribute with something useful, I would appreciate it greatly.