the problem with storytellers
My roommates are out of the country for the next week and a half. (Who’s counting?) They’ve been gone a couple days now, and I’m finding I’m loving the living alone life–I call it Introvert Paradise. While I’m not on vacation, I’m sleeping oddly–at all hours–but well. I’m walking around naked every chance I get. I’m not doing the dishes. Or cooking. I’m basically being a lazy Bachelor–even though I’m a female. Sink eating is a thing, as is eating straight from the pan. No fucks given.
But I recognize how dangerous this living alone thing is–especially here. It can get mega-isolating–being in a place where you essentially have no friends and can get anything delivered.
Maybe I had a better handle on it when I actually did live alone. But being an introvert and living alone is a recipe for some Unabomber level hermitting. It doesn’t help I have a sinus infection (which was causing my tooth pain–yea…I figured it out!).
I think I was much happier living alone, back in the day. It was all I knew since losing my mother, so it wasn’t this novelty for me. It helped immensely that I had a job that required regular leaving. And a small mailbox. Heh.
I only started this thing because I was going through a really bad financial time and so was my roommate. He also couldn’t find housing in Boulder that was in his price range and ended up living in a hostel for a while. We were more than friends at the time, and it made sense to combine our forces for the greater good. We severed the romance the week he moved in, so that was a rough start to this journey–and it was painful the first few months. I almost kicked him out that fall. I don’t mind living with others, but it sure helps if you love them. And since that is no longer present, it can be tough. So, I feel like I’m detoxing in an odd way. Mega-introverting. But I’ve also felt like being alone right now has made my mental health challenges more apparent. Not so much the anxiety–because, for me–that’s a social thing or a worry thing. And without people, there’s little of that. I can also control more. But the depression I’ve been grappling with, here and there, has been more of a thing. I’ve been fighting my way out of it, but some monster keeps grabbing at my ankles. I’ve not felt like writing or doing much of anything this week–and I’ve been in a particularly bad mood–fed up more than ever with work. Work just feels like a black hole to me right now, and I know it’s a huge part of my current struggles. But I also don’t feel equipped to make the necessary decisions I need to make to change the situation. So, I’m just really trying to practice self-care and wait it out. I know it will pass.
Anyway…I was reminded of something I shared on FB from my long dead past blog (which was basically just this), and it was a good reminder that I’ve been here before and life got better. So, here’s what I wrote back in 2010. So long ago. Some other life. But still this. Just a different variation.
Last night, while trying to go to sleep, a random thought just sort of sauntered into my brain. Not long enough to really leave much of an impression–beyond a silly status update on Facebook and/or Twitter–but enough to note that…hmm…perhaps, this is worthy of a blog post some day soon. The thought was simple enough. Condensed, it boiled down to this: I miss stories.
Now, I know that probably seems odd–especially given how many of my blog posts are stories more than conversations. But I do. I miss them in a very specific way. I miss hearing them and sharing them. I miss talking to people in meaningful ways. I think that comes with the territory for my life right now. It’s a lot of time spent inside my apartment with just one other person. And we haven’t done much actual talking besides the day-to-day routine of getting through our mutual days. We used to, but our current situation means that we are more likely to grump at each other and spew superficial niceties than actually converse about things that matter.
Which has meant that, most of the time, though I am rarely ever alone–I feel really alone. I don’t really know how to change that, either, other than to work on myself–to focus on myself and get on with my life. Unfortunately, I’ve felt less inclined to engage other people lately. I just don’t have the energy to deal with BS anymore, and the more people push me away–the more I’m inclined to let them. A thought I had the other day: if a relationship requires you to fight for it, all the time, chances are–not right for you. And giving up on that person becomes sort of necessary for you to achieve some sort of peace within yourself.
I’ve had a lot of lessons in that recently. Unfortunately. One prominent one being that I reached out to an ex who was going through a difficult time, and he basically ignored me. I didn’t reach out because I wanted a reaction. I honestly did it to honor myself–who I am–and to offer my genuine concern. It was a vulnerable thing to do–to admit that I had cared about him and that I was willing to care for him again…if he needed me. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I hoped, now, he’d be someone different than the person I chose to kick out of my life. I hoped, given his situation, he’d have learned a thing or two about cherishing people. I know, for me, my Mama’s illness changed everything about how I interact with people. If someone apologizes–if they make a noticeable effort–no matter how shitty our past selves have been–I will open a door and let them in for bit. What they do with that open door is up to them. It does take hard work, from both sides, to rehabilitate relationships.
Despite my hope, the reason the two of us don’t speak anymore is because he was basically an abusive jerk for a good six months of our relationship/friendship. A lot of it, no doubt, was a reaction to me shutting down and my own behavior. I’m responsible for my part, but he reacted in ridiculous ways sometimes. Hurtful, mean-spirited, unnecessarily bad ways. And I’ve forgiven him, mostly, for that. I say mostly because, for me, it’s difficult to truly forgive someone when they’ve never expressed regret over it–when they’ve never tried to make amends. That behavior is why I stopped respecting and liking this person. I can forgive a lot of crap, but not owning your own bullshit–when you know it’s bullshit–well, it’s kinda retarded.
Which is why I really didn’t have an expectation of acknowledgement. True to form, he lived down to his track record. I wasn’t surprised, but I was disappointed that the person I once cared about doesn’t seem to exist anymore–or is buried so deeply inside that maybe he’ll never come out. I don’t know. It’s sad to me that such a brilliant, warm light has been lost. I still believe it exists. But I am done mourning him, and I am done reaching out. With anyone.
I’ve been feeling a need to crawl inside myself for a while. Living with another person makes it hard to do the things I’ve always done, with the space and time and quiet, to figure things out. It’s hard for me to have actual conversations with my friends without disturbing this other person. I feel restricted. This has little to do with my roommate. It’s just a part of living with someone. And unless the place where you live is huge–or you share a deep trust/bond with your housemate–it’s a bit difficult to just stretch out and be yourself. No holds barred. I suppose, sometimes, I get to a point where I put distance between myself and others emotionally because there’s no way to do it physically anymore. It’s something I did a lot as a kid. Because nothing in my life was ever just mine. It always belonged to Mama, too. There was no privacy. So, my real thoughts and feelings became poems and stories.
I’m thinking I will be writing more soon. I’m trying to set up a space in the apartment that’s more private–so I don’t have to interact so much when I’m at my computer. I have lots of projects to work on.
I suppose I miss stories because I miss me. I miss the me that had a richer life than this one–who found stories every day. And who had people to share them with. I miss creating things. I miss laughing. I feel like I’m always carefully trying not to step on toes lately because my humor is not appreciated or understood. I miss people sharing their lives with me on a regular basis, too. I miss these things because, more than anything else, this is how I learn. And I’ve gotta believe that my stories matter to other people–simply because they matter to me. So, it’s important that–instead of reaching out so much–perhaps I need to reach in more and create the life that gives me stories to tell again. And people who are willing to listen.