Tag Archive | loneliness

Really, what’s the worst that could happen?

It’s just shy of 1 am as I start writing this. I’ve been sitting on the couch for the last four hours, not watching TV, not reading, not really even paying attention to what I was doing on the computer. Just–occupying space and not going to bed.

Yesterday, the 2nd, was the anniversary of when my Brother-in-Law proposed to my sister. There are three holidays in February, and he chose the least romantic one to propose. Sis and the bro-in-law went out on a date to celebrate, and I watched the kids. Nothing too remarkable happened, except E let me know that he didn’t like the thin, vertical stripes on the shirt I was wearing. Seriously, the kid’s 3 months old, and he’s already complaining about how I dress? Sis thought that he was tired, and found the stripe overstimulating. All I know is I spent the rest of the evening sweating in my quilted jacket, just trying to keep the kid happy.

I love my nephews, I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea about that, and I love spending time with them. It’s just when I get home, I tend to get more depressed, especially since E was born. This has become problematic, because my sister is my go-to gal when things get too tough. She often invites me up to spend the day with her and the kids, but I’ve had to decline on more than one occasion, because even though the kids would cheer me up short-term, in the long run, they’d make things worse.

Random side note–is the train that’s four blocks from my house and on the other side of the freeway really (softly) rattling my pots and pans? Why haven’t I noticed this before? Is is just that that train going faster than it strictly should through an urban area?

So, on the way back from my Sister’s house–after a quick stop at the Wal-Mart (another side note, the Wal-Mart on 56 West in West Valley City is WAY nicer than the one in Orem. What’s up with that? I know they sell the same cheap crap, but the one in WVC is cleaner, brighter, laid out better, and has isles wide enough that someone can be unloading a pallet, and not block the entire aisle for shopping carts. I think it’s bigger, too.) I was thinking about how I run from relationships. It really doesn’t matter if the relationship in question is romantic or friendly, I’m too shy to pursue companionship of another human being, and too oblivious to realize when someone is pursuing a relationship with me. When I’m forced into a companionship, like, say, with a roommate, I tend to withdraw into my personal space as much as possible. And I wonder why I’m always alone.

I do have a few friends who have pushed past my shell, and I feel like I can let my personality show with them. I treasure these friendships, but again, am too shy to, say, go over and spend the evening playing card games or watching movies at these friends houses. Which sucks, because I love card games and movies.

I don’t know why I’m so afraid to be myself around other people. I don’t know why I feel like I’ve got to present a perfect façade to the world, and not let anyone know I’m anything less than the ideal person–never mind my weight and the fact that I rarely do my hair and makeup. What’s the worst that could happen? People would know that I’m not perfect? They can tell that just by looking at me. That I’ll get yelled at for something trivial? Yeah, that sucks, but if someone is yelling at me because I smiled at the wrong person, or said “hello” at the wrong time, then they are the one who has the problem, not me.

Logically, I know this. I like to think that I have a fun, quirky personality, and am an enjoyable person to be around when I get over feeling like I have to be perfect. I like to think that I’m funny (although, I’m reminded of Terry Pratchett when he said something like “People who boast about their sense of humor often don’t have one”) and witty. I just don’t dare show anyone.

All these thoughts have been tumbling through my head, wanting to get out. I’m still shod and wearing my coat–I usually get rid of shoes as soon as I can after coming in the door–and I’ve been home since 10 pm.

I know the things that I have to do to break out of my shell. But it’s so nice and cozy, and the world outside is so big and scary. I know that only good things could happen from being more social, but it still scares me to death.

Random side note #3–it’s not the train that’s rattling my pots and pans, it’s my neighbors dryer. And what’s rattling is the stuff I bought at a thrift store yesterday, and is still sitting on the kitchen table. I just happened to notice the rattling when a train was going by. I think I need to go to bed now.

The sounds of living alone

In today’s society, we seek to live insular lives.  We draw back from our neighbors, our co-workers, from people we meet in the store on the street.  This is in direct opposition of who we are as human beings.  We’ve forgotten that humans evolved as social animals.  We need other people.  We need to be surrounded by friends and family for our physical and psychological well-being.

But the computer and the TV have become our village, our clan, our tribe. We crowd into cities, but we don’t know our neighbors. Those, like me, who live in connected habitation seek to insulate ourselves from those we share common walls with.  We have gone mad.

As I write this, I’m listing to the sound of my next door neighbor’s clothes dryer.  I can hear my downstairs neighbor’s baby crying.  There is my across the hall neighbor puffing up the stairs carrying groceries and slamming his door. I hear the traffic on the street, and people walking up the sidewalk talking and laughing. I find these sounds comforting.  Just because I live alone, doesn’t mean that I am alone.

I’ve grew up in a small town, in a single family house.  When I moved to college, I wasn’t used to the noise that other people made, both in my apartment and from the neighboring walls.  My first apartment was on a fairly busy street, and the sounds of the traffic drove me nuts.  I didn’t like the lights from the parking lot that flashed in my bedroom window at night, or the sounds of giggling girls on their way to the community swimming pool.  It took me years to get used to these sounds, but now, when I visit my parent’s house, I can’t sleep because everything is too quiet.

Still, I worry about the noise that comes from my house.  When I can’t sleep at 2:30, I wonder about starting a load of laundry, but decide against it because I don’t want the noise to disturb my neighbors.  I give in to the dogs barking at me because I’m not doing what they want me to do because I’m worried about the neighbors.  I like hearing their noises, but I don’t want them to hear mine.

I don’t know if I can talk with any authority about building a community.  I’ve live in my condo for three years now, and know the neighbors by sight, but not name. I know the family that lived downstairs and across the hall from me had a dog named Lady, and that their house was foreclosed on, but I don’t know what their names are.  In fact, I know more of the dogs that live in my complex then I know people. My neighbors probably know me the same way,—they’ve heard me call Max and Lulu, but they don’t know my name.   I’m shy and withdrawn enough that I’m not going to go introduce myself after 3 years.

So how do we change?  How do we break out of these insulated little compartments that we call our lives?  Is it even worth it?

I don’t have all, or even some of the answers.  I’m not sure enough that I even want to change.

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