A couple of the other students had a discussion with me regarding the group dynamics and what I percieved to be their feeling towards their place in the group as a whole. I felt that they did not see me as part of any clique and were at ease enough to discuss their issues. Although this was no helping session and there were no settings of boundaries – despite the topic there was no agreement to keep the discussion only between the three of us (I would not speak of it to anyone else regardless).
For the first time since starting the course, 26 weeks earlier, the immediacy and self disclosure that occurred between the three of us put me in a position to listen. In some way my prior actions, my separation from the other little groups through either my lack of something in common or the consolidation on their friendships over mine meant that the two talking with me could talk with me.
It is clear to me why these two feel excluded and are “slightly” separated from the rest of the group – one being of strong will and with a “take me as I am” attitude, whilst the other tends towards talking about herself a lot and going off topic. I have seen the reactions in the others at this, and felt the reaction in myself. I therefore was at a little odds with them. I did not think that it was wholly on the shoulders of the other groups. The actions of these two, rightly or wrongly, had put them at some odds with the others. It was not my place at this time to put this to them, since it was inappropriate. They were disclosing and any objection or counterance on my part would have destroyed what they were trying to get out. In some way, they do have my agreement.
I admitted that I felt separated from the others. Although I have built up a rapport, have had guidance from a couple in my personal life and do feel that they care about the problems I have been through, I do have a sense that the groups with whom they navigate towards at times of triad work are closer friends; be that in the belief that their agendas or their styles of learning are the same, or simply whether what they have in common allows their work together to be easier, I don’t know.
Does it bother me? In a way I would hope that someone would choose me first. Enough to bother about? No. I do not care to get in the way of what other people want because I will end up in a group to do triad work anyway. This does discount myself, since I admit that there are people I would rather be with. But, the flipside is that it is a similar selfishness to that which excludes me.
This topic led to one of the two questioning me on my two sides – the mask of humour and wackiness that ingratiates me with other people, and the real person beneath who is more thoughtful, reserved, observant and adult. I had not expected that anyone would question me on the two sides of my persona. My humour puts others at ease, but does not allow them to get close to me. Having seen the breakdown of that façade over the previous month or so with my brother’s case and my lack of energy to hold up my humour, the two told me that suddenly a whole new me had come out that was everything supportive and thoughtful. Whilst one did not mind the humorous side, the other said that they hadn’t felt as if I was being sincere. It was only now that they felt they knew who I was and could trust my real identity to have… the discussion we were having.
I disclosed, as I have at the very beginning of these logs, that my humorous persona is used to ingratiate, to join me with others and give me a sense of purpose and place. If I have nothing else to add, then at least my wit will put me in their minds. I explained where I saw the origination of this in my childhood – to keep my place in my groups of friends at school, as the unique member who acted in that way, and because I otherwise did not take part in many debates (seeing that everyone has a view and also that others can always speak their mind far clearer than I can).
One of the students with whom I was disclosing this, admitted that hearing me see and acknowledge that I am the way I am and also see where that comes from was very interesting.
I was asked what I thought might happen if I dropped the mask and became the person I really was. I do not know. I am worried that I will have nothing to say. That I will become just another face in the crowd, and my inability to come up with topics of conversations will increase. I have certainly learnt that my humour, whilst I have thought it makes it easier to meet people, does not work entirely as it should, since I can be perceived as insincere and not entirely approachable.