- Solitude and skewed perception: I always forget. I forget that when I spend a lot of time alone and doing my own thing, whether out of necessity or circumstance, a feeling of isolation and disconnectedness creeps in and takes up residence. It sneaks up, too, so all of a sudden, I’m feeling completely out of sorts, out of touch with the people I love, and completely removed from everyone. And sometimes, it even gets to the point where I become convinced that, while I was “gone”, everyone moved on and forgot about me/lost interest. YES, I know it’s mental, and yes, I know where it all comes from (it is MY catastrophizing brain we’re talking about, here)… this is just a little note to remind myself that it is just, in fact, my own skewed perception, and not reality. Granted, some folks may very well feel the need to step away when I do, and then get caught up in their own lives. But for the most part, it’s simply my own experience and head space that’s coloring how I feel, and how I perceive the world around me. In all cases, but especially this. And the way to fix it is not to worry, or wring hands, but instead to just remember this part, and then go about reinserting myself into the world again. Making phone calls, sending emails and texts, and reaching out to the folks I haven’t seen in a while who I miss. And making plans to see them. Because I was the one who dropped out of sight in the first place. (Derp.)
- Expectations equaling premeditated resentments: This just kinda ties into the first thing, but it’s another thing to remember. When I have expectations of how things are going to go, or how they’re supposed to go, how people are supposed to behave or react, basically, what life is supposed to look like… resentment has room to start creeping in. And that’s the last thing I want or need in my life. Resentment and regret are not welcome here.
- The ghosts of past experience: What’s also been interesting lately is to pay close attention to all the errant thoughts and fears that run through my head unattended, if I let them. I had a date on Saturday night, and even though the conversation prior had gone well, and photographic evidence indicated an attractive person on the other end, I still found myself thinking, what if he’s short, or unattractive, or awkward? What if he’s got bad breath, or he’s a serial killer or some other kind of crazy? What if he doesn’t answer the door? What if this is all a joke? What if what if what if, and what then? *bzzzt* It’s exhausting, playing goalie to all those damn thoughts, but I opted to simply acknowledge them, and then set them aside and go on the date anyway. And now, of course, there are a whole new set of thoughts and fears cropping up, as they’re wont to do, so I’m just setting them aside as they come up, because they’re pretty much ridiculous. And the bottom line is the same: I’ll be okay, no matter what. Even if they DO come true. It helps.
- Keeping good/bad things to yourself: I’ve been thinking about the isolation thing, my reasons for hiding out this past month, etc. And I do think it’s been necessary for my own mental health and well-being, because I’m feeling infinitely better now than I was at the start of July. And better still than the months before, which is AWESOME. But it occurred to me today that at some point, I started hiding out because I was still wallowing in something, still struggling with things, and felt like I’d used up my allotted time with friends for talking about it. Does that make sense? Like, I can only lament or be sad or complain so much before I wear out my welcome and people don’t want to hear it/can’t empathize any more. And I realize this is a self-inflicted time limit, although I would also imagine that at some point, people DO get worn thin if you continue to belabor certain things. It would be one thing if it were a death, or something along those lines; but then, I don’t want to get trapped in the notion that one type of pain is more valid than another, either. Anyway. The point in all of this is remembering back to something I read, where belittling your own pain in the face of someone else’s doesn’t do anyone any good. It doesn’t help you get over it any faster, and it doesn’t help the other person’s pain feel any smaller. And by not sharing what you’re struggling with because you’re ashamed or embarrassed or feel like you should get over it… by not sharing what you’re excited about because you’re afraid it won’t come to pass… you’re not only denying yourself the right to feel, the possibility of much-needed companionship when things go well or when things fall apart; you’re also denying the people you love the opportunity to share in your joys and sorrows and to be there with and FOR you. So, while it’s sometimes in my nature to feel as though I should shut down and keep things to myself, good OR bad… I’m just gonna let it fly.
- With that said: Saturday night was probably one of the best first dates ever. And after seven hours spent talking and relating and connecting on multiple levels, I’m especially looking forward to date number two. (Tomorrow!) Still settling into just how righteous it is to interact with someone who is, or seems to be, so on a par with where I’m at. It’s all been… easy. And it’s really fucking nice.
So, I’m doing my level best to simply stay in the moment and enjoy every one, since that’s really all we’ve got anyway. Life, when I do that, is not only manageable – it’s pretty damn good. (Like, chocolate chip cookie good.)