I’m not a very social person; anyone that knows me really
well can tell you that. I prefer to hang out at home, I don’t talk to a lot of
people, and I don’t have many friends.  Jay, my partner, is more of a
social butterfly than I am. He wants to be everybody’s friend and he always
asks people how they are, how their families are, how work is etc… 
Me… I could care less.  At least as far as strangers and acquaintances
go.  If someone is family or a really good friend, I tend to care a bit
more about their general welfare than people I hardly know.  Jay says that
I need to go out more, meet people, interact with people.  My response to
him is always the same, why? I have no interest in meeting new people or going
out and socializing with anyone.  It irritates me when we go to a store
and he strikes up a conversation with a sales associate. By the time we leave
he knows her life story, all her kids’ names, and probably has swapped phone
numbers.  Later he’ll mention to me, “Oh I saw Kelly the other day,
she’s having a new baby.” I’d look at him and narrow my eyes. “Who
the hell is Kelly and why should I care that she’s having a new baby?” I’d
ask him.  “You don’t remember Kelly!” He would seem genuinely
shocked that I don’t know this person, “We met her last month at Walmart,
you have to remember her!” honestly, no I don’t.  He hasn’t figured
out yet that I don’t care.  She’s not in the circle of people that I give
a flying fig about so why should I care at all? He doesn’t get it. 
About four months ago Jay dragged me to this support group that meets every Friday
night at a local church.  I don’t deny that it’s a great thing and a lot
of people need it.  I probably need it too but I hate it.  Everyone
usually brings some sort of dinner dish (we always get asked to bring a desert.
I think because we’re men and they don’t think we can cook lol) anyway, after
everyone arrives we sit down and share a meal together and  there is a lot
of small talk going on, people asking the usual questions, how are you, how’s
everything going, how are the kids? Jay thrives at this sort of thing. Last
week I snuck off to the chapel and read a book alone.  He seemed a bit
upset with me for doing that but I am way too uncomfortable being around all
those other people.  I hate eating in front of people, it stresses me out,
and I especially don’t like them coming up to me and asking me tons of questions
when I have a mouth full of food. 
Because of this little gathering, I’ve come to literally dread Fridays. 
I’ve told Jay how I feel about it, I have explained how it stresses me, how I
don’t like making small talk, and I told him that I honestly do not want to go.
I’ve been firm on that yet he still insists.  To his credit, he will allow
us to skip a week here and there but for the most part he insists that we
go.  The kids love it I’ll admit and that it probably the only reason that
I tolerate it, oh that and the fact that Jay won’t go alone. 
He really does think he’s helping me.  He thinks that if I would just go
out and meet some people, and reach out to them, that I will get over this
little phase.  He says that I spend way too much time online and that none
of my friends are real because I’ve never met them in real life. Regardless,
they are real to me.  The friends that I have online do help me more than
he realizes.  A few of them have even suggested that we meet up in real
life to which I declined rather quickly.  I don’t want to cross that
line.  In chat rooms I can be anyone I want, say what I want, act how I
want and I don’t have any fear about being who I am.  In real life, I shut
down.  I’m way too scared of being judged, or laughed at.  I’m scared
that if allow people to get too close that they will see the real me, the
person that I have suppressed and beat down, and I am sure if they ever meet that
“me”, then that will be the end of our friendship.  I don’t like
being this way, in fact I hate it.  I know there is something wrong with
me, but this system that I have works for me. It keeps me safe.  The more
people push me and pressure me, the more likely I am to just take off. 
I’ve done it before, delete all accounts, close my facebook, and just disappear.
I don’t want to do that, I like my friends and I like things the way they are.
Why do they want to ruin it all but trying to get closer to me? One lady, a
very good friend that I care a lot about, is adamant that she is going to come
and visit me at some point. I have dropped hints that it’s not a good idea but
she doesn’t seem to grasp what I’m trying to convey to her.  I know why
she wants to meet, and I appreciate her reasons, it’s just not something that I
really want.  I’m happy with the relationship that we have, the air of
mystery that comes with being online.  I don’t want to lose that. I’m not
the fun loving, happy-go-lucky, outspoken guy that she thinks I am. In real
life, I am more reserved, distant, and cold.  I’m often depressed and
fearful.  I worry about things all the time, I’m stressed out, overwhelmed
and starting to feel my age.  These are things that I don’t want her to
see.  It’s important to me that she not be privy to this side of my
personality. She says these things don’t matter to her, that she wouldn’t view
me any differently.  They may not matter to her, but they most certainly
matter to me.  I’m afraid that if the mask comes off and she sees the man
behind the mask then the fantasy that I have built around myself will cease to
be.  I don’t think that I am mentally or even emotionally ready to deal
with that. Why can’t she just leave things as they are? Why can’t Jay see that
I’m not interested in these social gatherings that he seems to love so much?
Why can’t anyone just allow me to be who I am?
Bit by bit they pick away at the wall, the wall I have spent years building up
around me. The wall that keeps the memories at bay, stops the hurt from
touching me, keeps me safe, and keeps the monsters away.  Bit by bit the
wall is cracking and they think that they are helping me by destroying
something I frankly don’t think I can live without.  Bit by bit they chip
away at the wall, thinking they are breaking it but they are really breaking
me.  Eventually, if they don’t stop, I’ll run. When that happens, they’ll
never see me again. 

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