Where do I begin?

How do I explain?

I guess the old saying is right; the best place to start is at the beginning.

My life has never been overly dramatic or interesting. Even during those formidable high school years when life is supposed to be full of angst and the smallest set back is a sign that the world is at its end, I was so insular and oblivious that I kind of just coasted through.

I worked hard and strove to meet the expectations of my parents, teachers and peers, that is, until I accepted that I would never truly meet any of their expectations. And why should I? No one really knew me. Not my friends. Not my siblings. And most definitely not my parents. I figured since they never made an effort to connect with me than I would deny them the opportunity and thus became an emotional recluse. Don't misunderstand me; my parents did what they were supposed to. They fed and clothed me, educated me and set stringent guidelines and boundaries so that I wouldn't become a bum, criminal or all together undesirable sort.

They loved me. They love the me that they know. But they do not know me, they never did.

A structured childhood has many benefits, I guess. You learn discipline and responsibility early. You mature and become level headed faster than everyone else. The problem is you are so restricted by the structure that your development is stunted. You are like a vine that is bound to trellis. You can only grow in the direction allowed. There is no variation from the path, even if the path you're on leads away from the sunshine. Consequently you don't fit in with people your own age and can't relate to your peers, for all the other vines are free to grow wild seeking the sun and rain as they please.

Eventually time passes, school and university end and you no longer have the guise of your studies to distract from your love life or lack thereof. The adults in your life cannot understand why you are so alone and begin continually pressuring you to be more social. Your parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts push you to meet someone because they want for you what all parents want for their children. They envision the loving husband, the house with the well manicured lawn and the pinnacle of their desires… grandchildren.

This is where I found myself.

But what they don't understand is that sure your polite, can fulfil your duties like a pro and meet responsibility head on like veteran; but if faced with a social gathering or party you falter like a beast facing the cliffs edge, rearing on your hind legs, face contorted in terror. What they don't understand is that it is all their doing. You are a product of their creation, a direct result of their efforts. This I can tell you is an infuriating turn of events, because I can so clearly see it and still can't comprehend how they can be so oblivious to it.

And so, the more they push for you to follow the "dream", the more you resist. Thus the vicious cycle begins.