This past spring break was the first I’ve not spent on a mission trip with my old youth group. I was alone, free to be my introverted self and hole up in my room and REJUVINATE and be unproductive. But also, I was alone with no one but my diva-brat brother to keep me company (i.e., tell me I smell like various weird things and invade my personal space).

One sunny day, I got an invitation to go with a group of girls to go see The Hunger Games along with what appeared to be, literally, THE ENTIRE YOUTH OF AMERICA. Ninety percent of whom were dressed up as Effie Trinket, which in Tennessee apparently translates to wearing a pink shirt with Effie’s name painted on the front and sweatpants. WEAK.

Anyway, whenever I get invited to any event ever, two things happen. I get really excited about whatever’s about to go down because it’s a chance to hang out with peeps I dig and HUNGER GAMES HUNGER GAMES HUNGER GAMES. Later, I feel SO TOTALLY ALONE and like I screwed up every single interaction I had that night. This always happens.

On the car ride there with THE LADIES, I was completely, totally, uncomfortably silent. This was my train of thought: Wow, Alexa’s sweater’s really cute. Damn, grrrl, you dress well! Why don’t I dress well? Is that mucus on my dress? Or is it melted wax? When was the last time I burned a candle? January? That Yankee Candle kid is so funny. OHMYGOD WE’RE SEEING THE HUNGER GAMES. Damn, I just missed the first part of their conversation. Who’s this Zach kid they’re talking about? Do I know him? Should I ask? OH MY GAWD THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT PROM DATES AND DRESSES. Don’t ask me if I’m going. Pleasepleasepleasepleasepleasepleeeeeaaassseee don’t ask me whether or not I’m going to prom. I would die inside if I had to talk about it. OMG they’re playing Jordan Sparks’s “No Air” and singing along. I don’t know the words. Should I know the words? I should. Do I look out the window and pretend like nothing’s happening, or do I car dance and pretend like I’m singing along? They’ll call my bluff if I try to sing along. I’ll just dance. I love car dancing. I’m terrible at car dancing. KATNISS EVERDEEN KATNISS EVERDEEN KATNISS EVERDEEN.

The whole time, I felt like I was just observing them. I was physically a part of their group but not really a part of their group. They talked about people who went to their churches and things they had done together and our upcoming prom, and I didn’t say much all night, because I wasn’t a part of these narratives. Like, my narrative never intersects with these people or anyone my age really. It just runs along beside their narratives and approaches them every once in a while. I AM LIKE A LITTLE MOTH THAT CAN’T GET INSIDE THE PRETTY LIGHTBULB OF FRIENDSHIP.

Also, every time I talk to people I’m not too familiar with, I can’t quite speak coherently. I put adjectives in the wrong place, speak in random fragments, and generally think people will be more receptive to my talking about farting than they actually are.

So then, when I got home that night, I was angry at myself for not talking enough, saying the wrong things, and occasionally insulting my companions when I meant to say something more positive. Also, I couldn’t hide the fact that I was crying in the scene where Prim gives Katniss the mockingjay pin and tells her it’s for good luck. ALSO ALSO, all the girls gave me a funny look when I mentioned that the film needed to be more violent. WRONG CROWD, SORRY. All social interactions just leave me feeling like I’m doing everything wrong all the time. ♦