January 20, 2004

Rise and Fall of Jared's Social Interactions, Volume 1

Wilson's post on elitism, in concert with Ardith's post on people relations has apparently sparked off a general furor in the arena of personal social philosophy. And by general furor, I mean there are two other people with similair posts out there now. I commented on Wilson's post, both of us hoping to get something going in that arena, but it has taken another form, so I follow the pack . . . as I often do.

Now, I have no way of really proving this, especially not now, but I think that I am, in fact, not a quiet person at all. I was once a very outgoing child, quick to make friends, perhaps even quicker to make rivals (not enemies, really). I was a highly competetive extrovert in, like, third grade. That was my first time out of home school among many children my own age. And I carved a place out for myself from amongst my schoolmates. I was utterly outspoken in class (a willingness to talk being just generally a bad combination with knowing all the answers). I was an active participant, an officer even, in the war between the sexes that one often finds taking place in elementary schools. I had a dozen "best friends," and I constantly vied with half of them for any number of positions of honor . . . but I feel that I am getting off the subject, and I don't wish to ramble about elementary. I'm not particularly fond of who I was then, but more on that in a moment . . .

My parents weren't particularly fond of my increasing garrulousness, or the sarcasm and slang I was picking up, for that matter. In any case, I returned to homeschool after 5th grade. I don't know what the exact reasoning behind this was . . . I never bothered to ask, because it didn't seem to matter after awhile. I fought it, but almost 6th-graders don't get anywhere in those kind of battles.

Three years is a long time. The "damage" was done. I'm still as sarcastic and irreverent as I was then . . . more. It was not too very long before this that we had moved out to the orphanage. It wasn't out in the middle of jack-nowhere, precisely, but it wasn't anywhere near my old school or any of my friends, either. That hurt, I think. I don't remember. The next three years were even longer. Two of my real best friends had left Guatemala after 4th grade, another after 5th, and a fourth in the middle of 6th. The main four gone, all connection with anyone I knew at the school slid into oblivion. I was just too far away.

I had to adjust to that. At the same time I had to adjust to being surrounded by little Guatemalan children at all times. I was not used to sharing my parents that way, and for nearly a year I absolutely hated all of them. I was selfish, resentful, spiteful, petty . . . It wasn't pretty. I eventually got over that completely, but by then I had spent three years without a single person my own age who I could relate with on any level whatsoever. And naturally, since I homeschooled and I was good at it, I had loads and loads of free time on my hands. I had to find ways to amuse myself for seemingly eternal periods of time. I've been a voracious reader since the age of four . . . So, Jared pulled in . . . way in. He had to. I never came out of myself . . . there wasn't anything to come out for. During this time I almost totally lost my ability to amuse both myself and another person for any length of time. Everything I liked to do could be done best all by myself.

Hmmm . . . the story of my social life and development is a good deal longer than I thought it was, and if I want a chance at anyone reading all of it, I think I'm going to have to split it up. We'll call this part one of three. I think it divides up well that way, anyway.

Ummm . . . I was a bit reluctant to post this, because it probably sounds like a sob story. Don't worry, it gets better . . . and I'm just telling it like it was, as best I remember.

Posted by Jared at January 20, 2004 03:22 PM | TrackBack