Amanda Blackman’s Dark Place

Photo credit: Taelar Pollman · The Sentry

Photo credit: Taelar Pollman · The Sentry

In my younger and more vulnerable years I gave myself some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. By that I mean my freshman year when I was still an English major, I said something while studying for all of these gen-ed’s I had no interest in. Determined to get all A’s, I studied for hours and hours, all by myself. When talking to my husband about when I’d head home from a solo study session on campus, I said, “Key to good grades: don’t have a social life!”

Right as I said it, I just stopped and looked up, and thought, “Yikes. But it is true.”

I have never really been able to connect with people. I mean, really, truly connect to people. I have more acquaintances and lighthearted friendships than I could count, absolutely. But if I were to try to think of each person in my life that I could count on no matter what and be comfortable in silence with each other, there’s just one person outside of my family. Think of how many times you’ve read the phrase, “my husband” in my columns. That’s my social life.

It’s so hard. I don’t know how to make friends or what I’m doing that seems to repel genuine connection.

There are so many people I wish I could be closer to, but I have no idea how to break through that wall separating a relationship of acquaintance to friend. I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve broken down crying, telling my husband how alone I feel. It’s painful to see all of the people I know going through life with a whole flock of friends, going out for drinks (RIP those days), or now posting about their Zoom group hangs.

So I beat on, boat against the current, borne ceaselessly into isolation. But at least I have plenty of time to study and keep my grades up.


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