Less One Month

Russia has so many holidays. They don’t have one of my favorites, though. I haven’t not celebrated today in… three years? I guess?

Wow, this June it’ll be three years since I was out of high school. What the fuck, right?

Ah well. Back to Moscow.

Though its been hard to keep myself focused on my experience here. I keep flashing back to home. I think it’s because I’m lonely. I have so much trouble making new friends. In Wyoming and freshman year I was forced to interact a lot with people, at least. That helped. I guess here is the same, kind of, but I keep finding ways to be alone rather than spend time with the rest of the group. I usually go when invited, but I don’t make too much of an effort to put myself out there. Spending time with Fey and Sasha helped, I feel more of a connection with them, but even though things have pretty much smoothed out since I asked her out I don’t feel as comfortable with them as I did.

I don’t know why I have so much trouble voluntarily putting myself out there; engaging with people. I’ve been putting a lot of thought in to it over the last few weeks. Introspection is what I usually fall back on when I’m lonely. I’m introspective a lot. God, write a more angsty line, right? But for real, I was pretty low last Saturday. The guys invited me out the night before, but it was late, and I was tired. Rolling Stone just really didn’t sound so good. So Saturday I was trying to… just… I’m not sure. Figure myself out, or something. I went to to Kolomenskaya, a park made out of a former Tsarist retreat, solo and walked around for a few hours. It was really beautiful. Rolling hills right on a bend in the river. It’s that moment just before spring hits in full force; you can feel it in the air but apart from the grass greening it hasn’t made itself known. Trees are still bare, though there are enough buds around to foreshadow. There’s a church there, Church of the Ascension, built in 1532. It’s pretty magical. I didn’t appreciate it at first. UNESCO world heritage sight, apparently. Check Instagram for a pic, if you want. I really liked the trees, though. It was pretty heavily forested, or what passes for forested when there aren’t any leaves, and walking around under the branches was cathartic, in a way.

I had just gotten back into Have a Nice Life. Last time I really listened to them was last semester, October or something, right when the leaves were starting to change. I went to Greenmount Cemetery to read The Road, that Cormac McCarthy book. Started and finished it that day, and I listened to Guggenheim Wax Museum the whole time through, nearly. That was a depressing day. Went to a Phi Delt party that night, which was really weird. I wonder if I talked to Allie at all that night. I’ve been thinking about here a bit recently, even though I shouldn’t.

Anyway, back to Kolomenskaya. I was sad. I mean, just so sad. Man, that was tough. Intense and, yeah, cathartic, but rough. It isn’t real, but damn it feels real. Walked through a grave outside a Храм–Orthodox chapel–where a small crowd of Russians had set up some tables laden with food to be sanctified. Easter was the next day, it’s a tradition here. I felt strange, difficult to describe. Transient, I guess? Small. Ephemeral. Worthless, in a way. There were so many couples walking around, it sucks being so solitary around all that. Maybe I’m depressed. Started to think like that. Smoked a cigarette on the bank of the river. Then I got cold and my feet got tired so I went to head back. When I hopped on the metro WiFi going home, saw a message from Anna asking where I was and if I wanted to meet. I didn’t feel like it at all, but knew that I’d definitely feel better with company. And she’s a cool enough person. Went to Ismailovo Kremlin with her a couple weeks back, not sure if I wrote about that.

Anyway, we met at Arbatskaya and walked all around the market street, new side and old. Had a fine time. Swung on the swings on Новой Арбат across from the Moscow House of Books and chatted. She’s a fun person, I just… I don’t know. Sometimes it’s hard to connect with Russians. She doesn’t even drink. But, whatever. I was right. Being around people helped, and I couldn’t bring myself to feel as crappy when I got home. Didn’t stop me from turning down another late-night invitation from Rob to Rolling Stone, though. I was a couple beers deep, to be fair.

This week has been better, not that much has substantively changed. Masha keeps going on about spending time with her crush and it’s pissing me off. Hung up on her the other weekend, that really pissed her off. Asked Laziza out on Tuesday. On Facebook, of course, like a bitch. I was going to wait til American Club but I tried that last week and I couldn’t find an opportunity. Didn’t end up going to the club today, anyway. She said no, of course, but I guess it was worth a shot. She is so hot it’s obnoxious.

Had a weird realization yesterday at lunch when I was sitting alone on the stairs up to the abandoned sixth floor of the university. It wasn’t an epiphany, exactly, more like a milestone in years of trying to understand why I hate being around people so much. I had this flashback to freshman year of high school, when I was eating lunch alone every day in the back of the library, where nobody could see me. Brought out the lunch mom brought me and played on my phone. Sometimes read. Listened to music. Masturbated a couple times ’cause I thought it was funny.

Why did I do that? And more importantly, why am I still doing it? I know back then I felt kind of rejected, like I was to weird and awkward to be around my peers. I acted so obnoxiously. Attention-seeking. Like, all the time. I’m sure you can call a few examples to mind, I don’t want to publish them online. But then after all that isolation, and that entire summer after freshman year where I stayed inside on the computer, Funnyjunk or 4chan or whatever, as much as possible and only went out enough to appease Mom and by the end wanted to fucking kill myself, I tried to make changes. Not consciously, I don’t think, though I did start to realize the importance of socializing for mental health. I just started to put more and more weight on my social blunders. Every time I made a mistake, acted out, was annoying or looking for attention, I started to really feel it as a kind of inner pain. Deep, to my core. Over the next couple years I managed to put something of a lid on that kind of behavior, but in the process retreated into myself. I still spend as much time as I could online, spending time with people in real life enough to keep myself somewhat mentally healthy, but I made it more of a pleasant experience to interact with me. But then I began to hate socializing. It became a chore, stressful and an effort. And in many ways that’s still how I view it. It’s affected my relationships, my personality. Now I don’t eat lunch alone because other people don’t want to spend time with me, but because I don’t want to spend time with other people. I’m not sure if that’s much better.

Eh. I’ll feel better when I’m back in Baltimore, or so I hope.

I skipped over a lot in that paragraph. It’s boiling down years of my life into a few talking points. I hope nobody who knows me reads that, it’s incomplete to the point of inaccuracy. Just some points I quickly jotted down so that I remember them for the future.