Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that I’m apparently likable enough for people to want to be my friend, and it’s really great that the people who want to be my friends are people who I want to be friends with, as well. It’s just…odd, is all, and that’s probably a personal issue on my part, but whenever someone tells me they want to be my friend, my initial reaction for more than a decade has been a sidelong glance followed by “…why?”
I mean, I know I’m terrific. I just know I’m terrific to myself. I’m terrific to my cats. I’m terrific to my couch and my books and my Netflix queue. But when it comes to other people, I feel like a failure most of the time, because even all evidence points to them liking me, I can’t quite understand why, and I’m left feeling like I’m just a hair’s breadth away from saying something wrong, usually too loudly, and pissing them off with my insistent need to make (dumb, so dumb) jokes and be heard.
This is not to say that I don’t like other people. I don’t like a lot of other people, but the people I do like, I like very much. I’ve finally reached a maturity level where I feel proud of my friends’ accomplishments rather than jealous of them, and where I’m able to appreciate the difference between spending time with someone and feeling enriched by the time spent with someone. Sometimes it feels like I’m holding my friends so close that I’m about to Lenny Squeeze Murder them to pieces, and because of that, I tend to back off quickly for fear of frightening them away (or, you know, actually Lenny Squeeze Murdering them). I also tend to doubt anyone’s motives for befriending me, because can’t they tell I’m a fucking dork? Not even a nerd or a geek, two very distinct categories that are both way cooler than a dork. I’m a dork, I’m not cool, most of what seems interesting about me was gleaned from old television shows and forgotten movies that played on channel 11 on Saturday afternoons, and eventually – most likely immediately – I will disappoint them somehow, through no real effort because disappointment is just my natural state.
I’m not fishing for compliments, by the way. No one needs to tell me that I’m being too hard on myself. Trust me, there are times when I think I’m the most amazing person who ever lived, but then I remember about a dozen idiotic things I did and get brought back down to earth real quick. I know my limits, I know my faults, I know what happens to my body when I think about these things just before I go to sleep at night (and if you’ve never experienced a full body cringe while on the cusp of sleep, I really do recommend it). I’m okay, sometimes, to some people, and in some situations, but for the most part, I am an Angela.
Wiki “My So-Called Life” if you must, but in life, at least the lives of women my age who paid attention to the right kind of show for, what, a season and a half? there are two types of women. There are Angelas and Rayannes. The Angelas are introverted, quieter, a bit shy, really wanting to be noticed for something spectacular but deep down knowing that there probably isn’t anything truly exceptional about them. So they go around hoping for someone to notice the almost things about them, the things that are smart enough or kind enough or funny enough. They’re plenty interesting, it just takes longer to notice this about them.
The Rayannes are outgoing, vivacious, probably deeply insecure but they do an amazing job at hiding it, and eventually, they grow up to be AJ Langer, who actually married a British duke. Or a lord. Some dude with an estate and a title, which we all know is different in Britain than it is in America.
(The male equivalents to the Angelas and Rayannes are the Jordans and the Brians, although perhaps that’s not the best example because Jordan was a fucking idiot and didn’t the guy who played Brian also play a rapist in the first season of Felicity?)
The point is that everyone wants to be friends with a Rayanne, but it takes a lot longer to decide to be friends with an Angela. And when that does happen, the Angelas will give a sidelong glance and ask why, because it’s possible that they’ve forgotten why anyone who isn’t a cat, a couch, a book or Netflix would want to hang out.