Apparently native to Yorkshire… wonder if they fancy a chat. If they don’t then I won’t get the hump.

I have never been someone completely at ease with people. Once I get to know a group then I can come out of my shell. Occasionally a bit too out of my shell. But often I was the person talking to the plant in the corner at parties. As the years went on I found that I could find a reasonable way of communicating with people. It was hard work but it sorta worked.

These days I have no practice. I have become socially very isolated. At work I often work on my own. The days of meeting people at the school gate have ceased. We live in a small village with no pub or shop. I might see a member of my family every few months. I don’t go to football matches now. Climbing trips have ceased. Team Sport is a thing of the past. Meet ups with my friends have completely dried up (it’s been a drought). The last night out with friends was in 2015. We occasionally go to a concert or wrestling show but because of our son’s Aspergers we tend to limit public exposure to a bare minimum.

You get the picture.

As a result I have completely lost my social confidence. When I do bump into people these days I am so painfully wooden. Can hardly string a sentence together. End up just being quiet and completely stressed out. Shackled with self doubt – I’m not sure I could even manage to talk to the plant in the corner now.

I am so lucky to have a fantastic son. I am also fortunate that I have adjusted reasonably well to spending large chunks of the day so isolated. So if I get completely cut off from society then so be it – at least I won’t have to get stressed out about being so wooden. But it does bother me that so many good people have experienced something similar or far worse. Isolated and cut adrift in an increasingly crowded world – alone and in need of company. I really don’t think the scale of the problem has been fully appreciated yet. If you are in that situation my heart goes out to you and I send you my love.

For me I have a job to do for the next few years. Give son the best childhood possible. Nothing else really matters. If and when he has left the nest then I will worry about the other stuff. Hopefully my hermit beard won’t be too long by then. I might even get round to working out how to play Fortnite properly. Hugging trees can be fun as well I hear.

76 thoughts on “Wooden

  1. I dunno… I find the plants more approachable than the trees. 😀 Also, my very first post on my other blog, “Hello, My Name is” very much came to mind when I read over this. I even had someone talking to the plant in the corner….

    One thing that’s helped me is to have the blog(s). The other is to occasionally talk to people in the same boat. A third suggestion might be a guy you can hang out with once a month or so, just working on building a plant stand together with or watching a match on TV whilst snacking.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I have been in and out of similar frames of mind. I pushed myself to be part of three different groups and to meditate on fear-of critics, of snobs, of people who stand and glare at others. I have largely gotten over these. They were forms of fearing rejection.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks for sharing this. I completely get it. Some days I feel almost like myself, others completely adrift. I applaud your goals for now -you’re obviously a clever person and funny and observant. I find the grief shows itself even when I’m all dolled up and intend to have a grand time. Sorry your visits from friends have dried up. I know that’s coming and am trying to make an effort to create new paths but it’s hard. My heart goes out to you and glad you have your writing to express yourself. You’re obviously a terrific father, so keep it up!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. And yet you are so vocal and natural on your blog and never seem tongue-tied. Must admit, I’ve become less social since I started my blog six years ago..but recently have decided to try to get back into the mainstream a bit more. Since you have written about it, it is obviously bothering you a bit. What if you made just one little try at getting back out there–just a little bit. Call up one friend and ask to meet at a pub. It would actually be a great example for your son. Not trying to preach. Just feel akin to what you’ve written.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. On the plus side you have a great community on this blog. We Yorkshirefolk like to pride ourselves on being friendlier than southerners, but let’s be honest, that’s not saying much! A nod of the head and a “oreyt?” is hardly the heights of sociability! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Does it help any to know you’re not the only one feeling this way?

    Others might not have the exact circumstances you do but the sense of some sort of loss, of their old life passing them by and leaving them somewhere ‘behind’ or separate from how they used to be is every bit as real and isolating.

    If it doesn’t help all that much then i guess you can console yourself a little with the knowledge that, should circumstances aver allow it, i and so many others here, would happily be your and your son’s friend. I would draw the line at going mountain climbing or watching Newcastle United lose a game with you though. There you really are on your own. 😉

    I think this may be one of the best posts of yours i have read by the way. Well done!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. This social isolation has hit me too. I feel like an awkward teenager when I’m around people I don’t know or don’t know well. I don’t mean to be this way…what I need is practice socializing. I do get the opportunity to do so at the sports events, both my kids are heavily involved, but for the most part I tend to just chat with one or two people and watch the games rather than socialize with a group during the games…

    I understand you, because I live similarly, although for different reasons. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I have experienced some of those feelings. When I’m with people who feel like ‘my people’ I’ll be okay. If I’m at at a wedding or something, I’ll have have to fake it a bit. On our travels we made many good and instant connections, ordinary people doing extraordinary things, all of us honest and unpretentious. When we returned, I felt disconnected and couldn’t manage the most basic small talk. Okay now. I got good at being social via my job, was always anxious before. My advice would be don’t leave it all until your son grows up, it can get harder. Volunteering, Men’s Shed, Meditation, Creative writing, maybe there’s something near you that doesn’t fill you with horror, you can practice being connected and maybe just maybe you’ll meet someone you like. My mum met her best friend at a really awful mother and toddler group! I made a friend via the blog, we started emailing and met in Tokyo and are still close and in regular touch. Sab kuch milega remember! (Everything is possible) Wishing you all the very best.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I can relate. I am so lost when it comes to socializing. And being a stay at home mom, I am cut off from the world unless I choose to jump in (which I don’t) and the longer I am away from socializing, the harder it gets. I agree with some of the comments though – the blog helps. It draws me out and I get to communicate the best way I know how – with my computer.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes. And there are days I really don’t want to go bc my mood is off – but I always seem to enjoy my time there. Although I won’t be going over the summer because I’ll have the kids. Hopefully I won’t lose my mind 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m sure you will be just fine but your holidays are so long. I remember an old uni flat mate. A few years later she became a mum and was back in America. She set herself a target of doing 5000 miles on the indoor bike over the summer holidays. On the first day she had just started on the first session but the doorbell went. She slipped as she got off the bike and broke her foot. So that holidays she missed her target by 4999.9 miles.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. It is so easy to get caught up in ones own life and circumstances and not make the effort to engage. I believe the stuff out there, though, that says people with good QUALITY connections (with other people) live longer. I always think about that.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The slings and arrows of life, especially untimely bereavement, can and do inflict wounds that make us duck under the pot plant. We retreat to the safety net of isolation with the known, rather than tackle anything unknown. It is a position that we all take up at one time or another, for a variety of reasons. There is nothing wrong with it. It is a lot more comfortable than having a shallow experience with friends who cut your heart to shreds with well meaning, but painful words or actions. Don’t despair. Your communication skills are just fine. You just need a reason to use them. In some ways, you are in a good position to analyse lots of social situations. You see more of the nuances, falsities and the insincerity of people who float through life on selfish agendas.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. How can you give your son the best when YOU are not at your best……? How can you teach him to be social when you can’t? I hope you can be soon………… He needs you to be. *big hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

  13. It’s hard to break away from that feeling once it starts or to beat back that isolation and loneliness. I admit I once did hug a tree. Nature bathing and all that stuff is supposed to be helpful. It kind of was though 😉
    We do whatever we can to get through right? Stay strong!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. you may be ‘wooden’ as you put it in rare social interactions but you are certainly eloquent in your writing; are their similar parents to you who have children with Asperger’s that you could form a sort of group with, if even online?

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Are those camels?

    Social interaction is tough on those of us that are natural born introverts. I still struggle with *fitting in*, even as I approach 53.

    You ARE approaching 2,000 followers so, there’s that. You may not be interacting with locals but, your reach is worldwide.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. First, love and hugs from Wisconsin. I’ve often felt the same way, what with working from home and mainly being the home parent while Bo works. Now that’ll change this fall, with that new gig at another school. I’ll have to remember how to properly act around people, especially when they say/do something completely foolish (kid eating own boogers, teen telling blue collar joke, teacher saying something stupid)–I can’t laugh or gag or roll my eyes. I have to remember how to internalize all that. (shudders)

    But I have to say your hermit beard reference reminded me of that Monty Python sketch about hermits. Darn YouTube doesn’t have it anywhere….gah!

    Like

      1. Thanks! I was actually thinking of a sketch from either the first or second series on tv. There’s two hermits talking while another asks if he can borrow one’s goat. And then, “That’s what I love about being a hermit. You meet people.” Why can’t I find this bit?!?!?!

        Liked by 1 person

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