i am not a bear.

Recently, my therapist recommended that I do my best to be social.  She said that I needed to be around people who love me.

I, of course, nodded my head and agreed.

It’s a nice idea in theory.  In practice?  Hard.

I work from home.  My best friends live out of state.  I don’t like bars.  I’m not into crowds.  I’m not really into spending money lately.  My energy levels fluctuate faster than Pinocchio’s growing nose.  And 3 out of 7 days of the week, I wake up feeling like absolute shit.

I have trouble making time for myself to go swimming or to eat breakfast.  But I’m supposed to be social?

I’m resisting.  I know I’m resisting.  I want to resist.

Because who the Hell needs people?

I know, I know…I do.  We all do.  I know.

###

If you’ve known me for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard me declare, “People suck.  I hate people.”  And, in that moment, I absolutely mean it.  In that moment, I am pissed.  I am frustrated.  I feel betrayed.  I feel abused and ignored.

Because people matter to me.  Their presence or absence?  Matters.

I take these things personally.

I react like a five year old when I am disappointed in people.

Mostly because I sincerely love people.  I believe in people.  Often in the people I shouldn’t love or believe in.

Lost causes.  Manipulative assholes.  Underdogs.

I’ll stand by you.  I’ll be the first to help when you’re under a bus.  I will be the one who believes you can when everyone just knows you won’t.

Because I’ve been there.

And I did it, too.

Doing this takes a fair amount of vulnerability.  Sticking your neck out.  A lot of people don’t even see what you’re doing–let alone appreciate it.  And if they do, there’s rarely a thank you.

I tend to get my feelings hurt.  Not because I need the thank you or the whatever.  Mostly because I need to be seen.

What’s the point of vulnerability if it’s not honored?

At least–that’s the conversation in my head.  Though it’s never that articulate.  Mostly, the thing you’ll hear is me putting up that arm–erecting that ever-easy to construct wall and declaring, “People suck.”

When I feel that way, it’s better to just let me wallow.  To nod politely.  Eventually, I’ll probably cry and how I really feel will come out.

I need people.  I know that.

I care about people.  I know that, too.

Do they care about me?

I don’t know that.

###

So, my therapist’s declaration that I needed to be social–to surround myself with people who love me?  Well, it’s a tall order.  Because–who loves me?

As a parentless human being with zero relatives nearby–and best friends who are far away–who loves me here?

There are plenty who like me.  Plenty that I like.  But who loves me?  Who do I love?

Very, very few.  And the ones I can count, I don’t want to see.  Or I see all the time.  Or I just can’t.

I don’t love people easily.  I will say I love you sometimes, but there are degrees.  I’ve said I’ve loved people for years and then discovered I didn’t realize I didn’t mean it.

That’s part of my problem.  I am blessed in many ways–but those soul connections come few and far between for me.  Part of that is just me.  Part of that is how I was born into this world.  People have never been easy for me.  Which is funny considering what I do for a living.  Maybe I should amend that–people are easy enough when it doesn’t quite matter, but a lot harder when it does.

For a long time, I thought I just couldn’t love people.  And that I, in turn, couldn’t be loved.  I suppose that’s wrong.  But love is not simple, and just because love exists for a while doesn’t mean it exists always–and it doesn’t mean it transforms or transcends anything.  I wish it did.  But my experience has been that it doesn’t.

Maybe I’ll just have to settle for the ones I like a whole lot.  Or maybe, I’ll just have to find little pieces of everyone to love.  And maybe, someone loving some little piece of me will be enough.

###

Of course, the time when I’m supposed to be social is the exact time when I feel my most asocial.  Which is odd because I’m fine with my detached, controlled, all on my terms interactions.  I’m fine with driving and the small interactions with strangers I’ll never see again.  But the rest of it–what comes with people–God…I just can’t right now.

I think I burned myself out last month because the idea of talking to people–even being on social networks?  It just makes my skin crawl.

I want to be in dark rooms.  I want complete silence.  I want to go a week without shaving my armpits or putting on foundation or wearing shoes.

I want to hug my cat and watch cheesy, hokey, slightly funny romantic comedies that I can later make fun of.

Except I’d want to tell someone how ridiculous it was.

Because I need people.  And I miss them.  And I get bored.

###

I’m an introvert.  I hate it, and I love it too.  I love people–get energized and inspired by them.  And then I hate how much they take from me.  I hate how puzzling they are and how awkward I am when I’m just being me.

My therapist’s face lit up when I told her I might want to date again sometime soon.

Mine did not.

I told her I’m not ready–but that I won’t be ready until I meet the one I need to meet.

Which, of course, will not happen in my bedroom while wearing my new hooded nightgown/bathrobe.

Because I am not a bear.

But it’d be really rad if I was.

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