Maybe because I lived more than half of my life in a high school environment, it occurred to me that this daily writing group is starting to feel like a high school party, like the high school party that I would never have been invited to back in the day because I wasn’t cool enough.
But this time I was cool enough to get invited because a friend of mine was looking out for me and thought (I think) that I might have a good time doing this. But after getting the invitation, I sulked around for a bit worrying about fitting in, trying to decide if I really wanted to go to this party, trying to talk myself out of it even though I knew I desperately wanted to go and hang out with the cool kids.
So, finally I decided to go, and after reading a few pieces realized that these really were the cool kids. There were some great writers—some were so funny, others so real and honest, some so creative. Man, how was I going to fit in?
Because I could see right away that the cliques had already begun to form. Some people were always “liking” each other and “commenting “ to each other, all the time, and right in front of everyone else! And for some reason there were mostly women at the party, and everyone seemed to be talking about yoga. It made me want to curl up into Child’s Pose and try to hide.
But, god, I was there–I had to at least try. So, I pushed out of few observations and tried to be social, reading some other people’s work and “liking” the ones I liked and making a comment here and there. And before I knew it, I started to get some responses. People were reading my work, and some people seemed to stop by and “like” me all the time, so I started to read their stuff and “like” them back. Sometimes we even began having little conversations. I was making friends! I was so proud of myself.
I mean, there are lulls in the party at times. Suddenly, no one seems to “like” me and believe me, I am checking ALL of the time. That’s right. I’ll admit it. I live for the “likes.” I mean how can a piece be “seen” by 35 people and only liked by 8? Were the other 27 people just stopping by because they felt sorry for me, sitting alone in the corner there for a while? That’s when the insecurity creeps in, just like when I’m roaming around at the party and suddenly I don’t have anyone to talk to.
Just when I’m ready to bolt and slip out the door, hoping nobody notices, Kirk drops by and “likes” a couple of my recent pieces. Oh, man. Kirk, who’s like the captain of the football team walks by me and says, “S, up, dude?” on his way to the back to grab a beer. He calls me “dude” because he doesn’t actually know my name, which is perfectly OK right now because the big dawg noticed me. I mean it’s his party after all, and one of the cool girls invited me, and maybe, maybe, I’ll just hang out a little longer and see what happens.