I spent a great deal of my childhood isolated. I couldn't speak the same language the people around me were speaking. When my sister's were learning to speak English, I was learning to speak. Once speaking English I could never get the accent right for Indian languages and gave up when I'd get mocked for my accent.
So the start of my life was not understanding those around me unless they chose to communicate with me. Add to that the fact that I'm Indian and racism as a youth was terrible and you've got me not really fitting in anywhere.
Fast forward to today. I hate it when I say something to someone and suddenly they turn around and whisper to someone else. It's that same feeling again. I'm alone. I realised what annoyed me so much about something someone asked me to. It wasn't that it was racist (If you can't have a laugh....), but more that it would've been put me on stage doing something on my own. Singled out. In front of a crowd.
One of the girls who was flirting with me at Ulearn said something along these same sorts of lines.
"There's nothing quite like being in amongst a group of people to make you feel so utterly and completely alone."
And that's what it was that had me freaking out at the Ulearn dinner. I hate crowds. This in itself isn't all that significant though. I mean, as a youth, I attended a Big Day Out and was about as comfortable as you could be in a mosh pit.
What I really hate is feeling alone in crowds. And what had me feeling alone? A bunch of small things. Hell - the perception of small things. The feeling that I wasn't included in things. For a great deal of the time I was nothing more than a passenger. Kind of a "we have a spare seat" thing going on. To some people's credit, they did try. There were the condescending people who came up and asked me about something nerd like after I'd introduced myself as a professional geek. Play along. Drink. Smoke. Drink some more. Rinse and repeat. There were even a few apologies - they didn't seem to realise that I was being completely overlooked. A pink bow tie only because the other guys had brought their own. The lack of a pink flower. It was weird though. There was a moment where it stopped - I was included again after a coffee on my own, and lunch on my own (this was the day after the dinner). This almost tangible change. Or... the perception of a shift in attitude. I'm still trying to figure this out.
Anyway, so today I'm feeling... a loss of confidence. I'm small doing what I need to do. This probably isn't a good time to be giving up smoking... I think delicate is going to be the word of the day.