I’m about to splash around in a personal-sized puddle of self-pity because I don’t have very many people to talk to, and I deserve to feel sorry for myself every once in a while, dammit. I’ve been spending a lot of Friday and Saturday nights alone, thinking about how alone I feel and about how, even though I know it isn’t the truth, everyone around me seems to be swirling around in pools of happiness and acceptance. And I can’t get into that pool, because I’m in a puddle.

I’m totally rolling my eyes at myself right now.

I’ve just been feeling really distant lately. Like, there’s this girl at school, and we’re supposed to be really good friends. Everyone acknowledges that we are. We go to dance class, and do all of these plays together, and talk a lot during those times, so much so that teachers are all “Be quiet, you two!,” but in a way that suggests, “They are just so inseparable. How cute!” But that’s not the case.

During our production of The Matchmaker this past fall, a bunch of senior girls in the cast showed up to the final performance talking about how tired they were because they had had a sleepover the night before and hadn’t gotten any sleep. I’m fairly sure almost all of the senior girls had been invited. Except me. There I was with a full night’s rest, wishing I had hardly slept at all. And the thing is, that’s not an injustice. They had the right to invite whomever they wanted, and it could be that I’m really annoying or mean or forgettable. But why hadn’t my friend said anything? Why hadn’t she invited me? I couldn’t ask.

I feel like I’m getting two messages at once. We talk all the time at school, but we never hang out on weekends. When I invite her to come over or go to the movies, she always says she’s busy. Our friendship operates like this, which makes me feel like it isn’t a valid friendship, which makes me feel selfish and stupid and a lot like that annoying kid at school who no one wants to talk to, but who tries really, really hard.

It kind of sucks because while I feel like we are friends, I also feel really separate from her. She has this really great group of friends that I don’t talk to a lot, so all of those times she says she’s busy, she’s just hanging out with them, which is TOTALLY FINE. It’s just that I’d like to be invited sometimes, or else I’d like my own friends. I was talking to this girl at lunch the other day. I think I mentioned that I was lonely and that, when I go to college next year, I want to feel more like I’m a part of a community. She said that people at school liked me a lot. Maybe that’s true. Maybe it isn’t. A lot of kids here laugh at my stupid little jokes, or tell me that they like the way I do my eye makeup, but that doesn’t really mean anything. It’s one thing to be well-liked (if I am that) and another to be an active member of a group.

One time last year, I invited about 10 people to my house, and three people came. Nobody responded to me when I texted them to ask if they were lost. Whether I feel alone because of self-imposed alienation or because others finding me annoying, I will not be able to know until I am well out of high school. In the meantime, I have three lonely months and a solitude-filled summer until I get to start over.

So maybe I just have to accept the fact that this girl and I aren’t really that close of friends. She has her group, and I have a few people who I feel I can talk to in the hallway sometimes. I still want to be friends, and I feel like I could be a really good friend if someone would just pay attention to me. I sound like I’m crazy. Maybe I am crazy. Solitude can do that, right? I just want people to love, and places to go, and reasons to go to those places with those people. ♦