Okay, keep in mind that i’m at a place in my therapy where every breath i take and every experience i have and every feeling i feel is new and weird.
I’m very weepy and feeling sorry for myself. So yeah, i think all the pertinent preamble is out of the way:
Today i realised that i am alone, and i don’t want to be, but i haven’t found where i belong in the real world.
I’ve done so much work to strip away all the fear and the artifice. To know who i am and figure out what i want.
I knew i was a mess of protections and pretenses, and the way i found to get around all of them was to become a hermit out here on our farm. That was when i discovered i was kind of introverted, something that shocked the hell outta me.
Between honouring that and having the newfound sense to stay away from people i was only friends with due my former high risk lifestyle, i only had a few friends.
Another thing i found out about myself is that, most of the time, i prefer to listen rather than talk. Maybe it was because after all the years i’d spent being extroverted, i needed some rest. Regardless of the reason though, i became the listening friend. I also found i was content to sit on the sidelines and watch things. I had no desire to be the centre of attention – the rowdier things got, the further i retreated.
After being this way for some years, it started to sort of seep into my consciousness that there was some disparity in the give and take in some of my friendships, particularly in the emotional area. I put it down to me vacillating between oversharing and not saying anything, but eventually i realised it was more than that.
With respect to “real life” friendships (and by that i mean not my friends online) it became clear that most of them didn’t know me, and maybe didn’t care to. Our friendship was about them and their life and their experiences. Whenever i tried to steer the conversation to what was going on in my life and how i was feeling about stuff, it was painfully obvious that they were scarcely listening. They were waiting for a moment when they could break in and get back to talking about themselves.
So i did more housecleaning, and i had just a couple of friends left, only 1 of whom i would say i was close to, but 2 or 3 i thought i could build more intimacy with if i tried. Once i felt ready.
I’ve been very careful to follow protocols, although i must be honest and tell you that there were 3 or 4 times when my mental issues got the better of me and i interacted with my 1 close friend without observing recommended masking, washing, distancing hygiene. She was fine with it, as she does not strictly follow them anyway. She probably kept me from going straight off the rails, and i’ll always be grateful. As i should be. Fortunately, we’re both virus-free, as are our housemates.
This pandemic afforded me the opportunity to focus pretty much exclusively on myself and my health. I’ve made good strides forward and met a number of significant goals. I’m living a much more present and mindful life. I’ve been standing up for myself and asking for what i want, in instances and with people that i would not have before. This level of isolation for this length of time has allowed me to embrace who i am as a person, but now i’d like to take myself out for a trial run.
It’s become abundantly clear that my local area isn’t where i’m likely to find what i’m looking for. It’s beautiful to look at, and the familiarity of my surroundings has given me a sense of safety and comfort. But that sense of being protected from harm is surface, at best. Seeing the same flora and fauna and geographical features as i’ve always seen does not mean i’m safe and okay. I’ve healed and matured enough that i know my hyper-focused need for those things had its roots in trauma. I can now take proper care of myself, including risk assessment and setting myself up for successful outcomes in my daily activities and interactions.
And while i’m not arrogant enough to think that there is no one here for me, i have been pushed to the breaking point with regards to what’s going on around me. I’m disillusioned and despondent and enraged and verging on misanthropy. Experience with and knowledge of myself as a person tells me that that will soften over time. However right now i am in it, and i honestly have no desire to be over it just yet.
I’m sickened and disgusted by almost everyone’s behaviour.
This includes people that i love and am committed to and will continue to be in relationship with after this is over.
Please understand that while i look like an adult, in significant ways i am new to being one. I’ve been there intellectually for some time, but emotionally i have felt and processed things as a child. A child doing her level best to be a good adult, but a child nonetheless. I am a mass of contradictions and stages of development, because i have lived my life as pieces of a person.
I am the shards of glass in a broken mirror; the ones that are still stuck together in your bedroom, from when you were checking yourself before you went out to a fancy dinner, and OH SHIT IS THAT A ZIT?! and you leaned in closer to see, and twisted on your high heels that you suck at walking in but wear because they’re so pretty, and you fell into your own reflection and smacked the mirror with your big damn cement forehead that’s more like a fivehead and… Great. Is it 7yrs bad luck if the mirror is cracked but doesn’t scatter on the floor? and Nevermind the zit now, because i cut my head on the mirror and i’m bleeding…
(This great mental picture/metaphor brought to you by life as a klutz.)
As i practise these new life skills and try to be a contributing member of society, i’m finding real life experience with how doing so requires interaction and relationships with people in my actual physical vicinity. I have a wonderful group of cherished friends that have been and will continue to be a beautiful, wonderful source of connection and support.
But… They are internet peoples and they are all thousands of kilometres away.
And i am alone and very lonely.
I don’t have a circle or tribe or peer group to return to once the world opens back up.
I need to build one. Find one. Knock on some doors and ask for entry. Wave on the sidelines and hope for a welcome sign in return.
I need to talk to someone for a very long time without being interrupted. And then i need them to talk back and have responses to what i said that keep the spotlight on me and what i’ve said and what i’m going through. I am becoming desperate for someone to know me –to really deeply and truly KNOW ME— and i will tell you the truth here and say that i don’t think i have anyone in my life that does. I’ve split myself open because i had to in order to survive and be who i want to be, but i don’t have anyone who will look at my guts spilled out on the table, turn and look me in the eye, really LOOK at me, and say something salient and savvy that convinces me to my core that they’ve listened and heard me, and then offer to help me stuff all my viscera back in their proper place.
When i was a child my mother called me “Chatty Cathy.” Chatty Cathy was a doll that talked when you pulled a string, but the name became a part of her generation’s lexicon, meaning a girl who talked too much. I did talk a lot. I have always had a large and animated personality. One of the things that helped me get healthy was getting very quiet though. Cutting down on the outside talk helped me to hear my inside talk. Listening to other people talk about themselves helped me learn to control the constant chatter that goes on in my brain. I’m not sure i can explain this so it makes sense but, being raised to be used by others made me so sick and twisted inside that i was actually hopelessly self-focused. I was unable to think about anything but my own survival, even though my conscious understanding of myself and any of my inner workings had been hobbled by childhood brainwashing and abuse.
Through the healing process i found myself bristling at any hint of me being very talkative. These last few years i can tell you that it simply isn’t true anymore. I pour my heart out here on my blog. I show who i am on social media and with my treasured group of internet friends, but i don’t have that kind of intimacy with anyone with whom i currently share physical location.
I don’t talk too much, in fact, i’ve become rather quiet.
I am somewhat quiet, it turns out.
But i am still, in my DNA, 10lbs of personality stuffed into a 5lb sack.
My problem is, i need some people to be around while i am living a more genuine life and letting my true self show. Not partner, not kids, but bosom buddies and lifelong pals. I see this in movies and on television. I’m fascinated by true crime stories, and when a woman disappears or is tragically taken, i’m riveted to her girlfriends talking about how awesome she was, and their fond tales of all of their adventures together. It especially makes my heart clench up when they relate how they were there for each other; one of them would be having a tough time and the rest of them would rush in and share space with them.
How they knew something was wrong because they talked every day and suddenly didn’t hear from her.
I’m scared and ashamed to type it out on the screen, but i think i want that for myself.*
I want friendship with equality and equity.
And quality, too.
I’m not expecting it to show up on my doorstep. I don’t hold with the idea that i can manifest it – that “if you build it, they will come,” mentality. I’m also not blaming anyone, including myself, for not having this in my life.
I have proven a rather lousy friend in the past. I was unavailable and unreliable, in various ways and most of the time. I knew nothing about boundaries, either to keep or to respect. I’m sure i’ve come across as fake to some, and they were on the right track, although it was unconscious and unintentional.
I’m tired of being alone and feeling this lonely. I’m champing at the bit, ready to put myself out there and get more of what i want out of life. I’m honouring myself and respecting the process, and in doing so have found that i can be quiet and introspective and introverted. In sitting with that and soaking up all the healing it’s brought me, i now feel able to embrace the vivacious and outgoing part of me. I’m not ashamed to be this big and intense personality that is not for everyone.
It’s weird and topsy-turvy.
But that’s me.
I feel better getting this out of me and sharing it.
Thanks for being here and reading.
Love and Peace,
*Except for the part where they are missing and presumed dead. Sounds like i’m being glib here, but i’m not. Nothing about this post is lighthearted.
IMAGE: Luís Eusébio
4 thoughts on “Reciprocity”
GIRL. I feel this SO. HARD. I don’t have close friends. The ones I would like to be close friends with already have their people. My best friend is my sister. My other sisters don’t like me or are mad at me. So, day to day, I’m alone and lonely. I REALLY hope you find your Girl Tribe! YOU DESERVE IT.
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Thanks, AG. Me too!
I find when it comes to friends, we have similarities . Neither of us have a lot of friends, and the ones that we have talk about themselves a lot and don’t show the same interest in us. However, there is one huge difference between us. You are looking for a friend or friends. I am not. I don’t really desire to have a friend. I have you and I want you, but that is all I want. What that says about me and us – I’m not sure.
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Me neither, but we can figure it out together if we decide it matters.