I'm twenty-five. Mid-twenties. Far too close to thirty for anyone to be comfortable with. I'm neither as pretty or as funny as I used to be and I come with so much baggage that there is a good chance that I'll never be able to travel with a budget airline again.
It's probably time to accept that I am past my prime.
So now would be a pretty terrible time to choose to turn my back on every friend I currently have, wouldn't it?
Well, let's see that stop me.
In November, a really terrible thing happened to me, courtesy of my best friend of nigh on seven years. But let's not go into that. WE TRY TO BE LIGHTHEARTED HERE.
The decision I made at the time was to walk away from him and pick up the pieces. I didn't expect people to follow me, but I think I expected people to be a little bit more supportive.
As it was, everyone IN THE WORLD took his side.
People were very quick to assume that I was being as highly-strung as ever and that I was, perhaps, having the nervous breakdown that we’d all been expecting for a while. Difficult to blame them for that, considering the years of evidence they have at their disposal, but STILL.
By deciding to act as though he no longer existed, I effectively made the decision to isolate myself from everyone I loved.
“Not necessarily!” I hear you cry.
Given that we've been friends for so many years, it's probably not a surprise for you to learn that our friends are mostly mutual. In fact, when I was having the latest in a series of crises relating to this the other day, I actually struggled to name someone I knew (unromantically) who was not also a friend of his.
Furthermore, and quite problematically, the friends that we share were all his friends first. Their loyalty is with him. I get that.
I have, for months, been very understanding of my former friends. I have been speaking to and even seeing some of them, but I've been very aware that they all took his side when I really needed them to NOT BE IDIOTS.
Last week, or something, the boy in question wrote a self-serving and – frankly – disturbing blog post, admitting that I WAS TELLING THE TRUTH. There was no remorse involved, just a lot of 'poor me' bollocks. I thought for a brief moment, as upset as I was that someone else was putting my life online (irony, right?), that things might actually get better.
Surely, knowing what he'd done and that he'd been lying about it for four months, people would be sorry for how I'd been treated. Or at least sympathetic about what I'd been through.
No such luck.
As it turns out, people are still on his side. Or, at least, not as ready to put his head on a spike as I would like.
I don't need that kind of friend. I don't need people who don’t care. And I certainly don't need people who think that what he did was okay and that I am CAUSING A FUSS by being upset about it.
So, I'm starting again.
I'm becoming a hermit so that I can concentrate on my writing and perhaps take up knitting. I don't need friends. I'll get a cat. Maybe I’ll start living in a house full of cats until, one day, it all becomes too much and I decide to stop taking my allergy medication in the hope of a quick death.
You know. That kind of thing.
I suppose I could make new friends.
But how do you even do that when you're twenty-five?
Can't hit people with a stick and ask them to play anymore. Unless I join the role-playing society again.
The truth of it is, I am utterly useless. I can't really function on my own, but I would rather do that than put people through the agony of having to deal with me.
As we've said before, my first instinct is to assume that everyone hates me and/or is about to get bored of me. And as I sit here in the dark like Gollum in a wig, it is difficult to believe otherwise.
Logic, however, does suggest that I am probably a bit likeable.
That's not really the main problem though.
I understand that I would not have reached this point in my life and career without some kind of charm, but I need quite a lot of hand-holding and assurance to get me through the day. I don't chase people, or nag them and I hate feeling like I'm bothering anyone. I agonise over text messages like you wouldn't believe and I am even worse with phone calls.
All of those things are BARRIERS to making and, indeed, keeping new friends because it does mean that the other person has to do quite a lot of the work before I trust them enough to actually act like a proper person.
So, cats it is.