Loneliness

Loneliness

Really, I’m quite happy to be alone most of the time. I love that I can work alone at home. I just wish it were quieter. Noise is a major weak point for me. Or, I love quiet. I drink it in. It soothes me. But I don’t want to be alone all the time. I enjoy our one or two employer-sponsored parties in a year, and not just for a free gourmet meal, either. Mainly it’s a chance to socialize.

I really needed some human connection today, and had no idea how to get it. So sick of relying on posting on discussion websites. I really want friends, and to see people’s faces. But it never seems to work out. This is a lifelong problem. I had one friend as a kid and puberty killed that. She went boy-crazy and fashion-crazy and I was alienated. As well, my parents split up and my mum moved us away. That girl was my best friend, and my last best friend.

Oh, sure, I have my canoe buddy. We’re taking a course together next week. That’s the social highlight of my year, no doubt. But even though she’s my oldest and I suppose best friend, and I do treasure her, it’s not enough.

I got married to what I thought was a friend for life. That didn’t work out. He’s still around in my life, though, and we saw each other today. Or, I saw him. Not sure he saw me at all, even though we met to see this art show toether. See, he’s proudly autistic, doesn’t make eye contact. Got his diagnosis now and validation to behave as badly as he always has, or worse. He’s totally self-centered. It feels strange even now to spend time with him, though I’ve gotten over much of the extreme hurt. It’s not personal. I don’t like that it’s not personal! I want to be treated as a person. He literally has contempt for social things, and expresses that disgust regularly.

I knew he wanted to go to a crappy amateur art show, and I was desperate to get out of my four walls, so I suggested we go. It was as crappy and pointless as I expected. Nay, more so. Not only was it amateur art or the driest and kitschiest manner, but it was a small exhibition of all works done on square canvasses. Just no interest whatsoever, for me. My interest was in interacting with SOMEONE. And I have no one.

There have been people in my building who reached out to me.  One was a very caring woman who literally let me cry on her shoulder one day. That was a high point for me. A mothering moment that I really needed. I don’t feel like I got any mothering from my actual mother, you see.  Mum’s dead, I’d been grieving the loss of my marriage, my friendship, and my life plans that I invested in for 10 years, and crying on someone’s shoulder unrestrainedly was a high point for me. A connection.

But, she moved away, said she’d contact me, and didn’t. Of course I contacted her several times, and not just to forward her mail, since I moved into her old suite. But she never got back, never had time. I know she has a terminal illness, so I could put it all down to that, but I conclude that I was not a net positive in her life, apparently. You can only reach out so many times and then ya gotta stop bugging people. I wish her the best.

Another person in my building reached out to me and we had visits at her place, and even thanksgiving dinner. But… she invalidated me several times and we do not share views. Well, I don’t share her views and I don’t think she stopped talking long enough to find out what mine were. So when I went away for a year during my separation period, we exchanged a couple emails that quickly resulted in a conflict. She sent me stupid forwards. I just asked her to please not send these to my work email. I had entrusted her with my work email. She apparently got offended, because she told me I should learn some tact. And that was it. She never responded to my boundary request. I repeated it. Silence. Fine, we are done, I thought.

But I came back after the separation period and she was all friendly. WTF? People who do things and then act lik enothing happened – very invalidating. Finally, I told her one day recently that the reason I don’t respond to her is she didn’t respond to me. Finally, it seems, maybe she has stopped trying to jolly me into another bullshit conversation.

What the hell should I have done differently? Nothing, I think.

Then there was the platonic F2F friend I made off Craigslist. We had some trauma in common. I liked that we could talk about it. But apparently that was too much for her as she started complaining that people (me, when I inquired) don’t want to visit her, and similar issues about what she wants. Well, I want someone who can talk about the dark stuff without fear. Sure, I can play board games and visit, but not if it has to be all superficial, too. I’m not losing my mind, as she seems to be. I remember things. I’m not ready to let everything slip away. Her chaos drove me mad – couldn’t remember where anything was, where we were going, or to prepare whatever was needed for the agreed upon plan. Sorry, I’m not ready for dementia. I will fight that by learning, thinking, remembering, thank you very much. Not my kinda people, if they choose to be okay with chaos.

Are there any of my kinda people? I need people.

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Solitary Sunday

Solitary Sunday

Title above makes a song pop into my head, as so often happens. Words and rhythms trigger memories of related words and rhythms. Right now, that song is “Manic Monday which was a giant hit in some time past and keeps coming back on the radio or as background music in stores, because it’s a catchy confection, I suppose. “Wish it was Sunday”? Though I do understand that sentiment when one has a fulltime job, I can’t say that’s relevant to me now.

I sure want a fulltime “real” job – because I want a good mortgage on a good property, a home where I can live out the rest of my days with some space for a garden. A real garden, not some community garden or mercy plot in an apartment complex, as I have now. I want fruit trees and berry bushes, again. I want to own the land so someone is much less likely to be able to swoop in and have a big influence on my use of it. I want a real job and acreage.

But today is Sunday. Generally I don’t mind spending most of my time alone. I’ve been feeling really good this week, too. Then I was out watering my little garden and many people in the building coming and going on their weekend activities. There is a nice couple with two kids, and I saw them drive out in their car, park, and wait a bit outside the building. I saw them as a couple, whereas I usually interact with each one of them separately. And I felt that pang of lack of connection, lack of coupleness in my life. I felt the sorrow welling up as I walked back to my place. Turbulence developed, just like water starting to boil. And finally the tears came, fully felt.

I felt the lack of even a group of friends I can turn to. Most of my friends are Internet friends. I have some work colleagues. I have acquaintances. I always wanted close friends and never had them. I could never find people to be close with. The few people that wanted to spend time with me were, frankly, tiresome. I spent the time, tried it out, and wanted to get away. I’m enjoying my bellydance classes and the friendly bellydance community, and I’m looking forward to attending more events, but this is new and no friends there yet.

The many people I’ve wanted to spend time with weren’t interested or said things like “We have to get together for” lunch, coffee, whatever. But I’ve been told – because it’s not the kind of thing I can figure out for myself – that this is a typical Vancouver thing people say but don’t mean it. I’m sure the pattern is broader than just the Vancouver area.

And with such difficulty fitting in, never mind belonging, how am I ever going to find a job at all, never mind one I’m actually content in. “That ship has sailed” keeps coming to mind. Too late for me, at my age. Not that I was ever any good at it, at any age. I don’t fit, belong, and there is nothing for me. Yes, I’m crying, but I’m not despairing. It’s a factual description of the overall pattern of my life. A summary. I’m trying to make the future different. I’m trying to change it. I want a real job. I want to belong.

I am still having difficulty connecting with people. And myself, being real, authentic, not trying to be someone I’m not. I’m sick of that and it doesn’t work for me. My teaching job was like that, an everyday undercover role play. I like learning, so I was able to teach/facilitate it, and I’m organized and responsible, but this constant fake front was terribly exhausting. My free time involved recuperating. I don’t look like an introvert, but I still am one.

My marriage was too much togetherness, but I didn’t have enough self-knowledge to know that and give myself what I needed. I was waiting til we moved to a bigger place, so I could have space of my own. Never happened. Anyway, point being I’m an introvert and lots of jobs are okay for that. I can handle working with others and even a tiny bit of office socializing. but I think heavy-duty office politics would kill me. I’m clueless about those. Explanations in hindsight blow my mind re other people and how they act and think. People in groups. Yikes.

And yet I really want connection – with more than one individual, ie a group of a kind. But not the kind of group you study in sociology. I took a college class in that once. What a mistake! I. Don’t. Understand. It. (As the kids say nowadays.)

What if I go around and just be me? Well, people will think I don’t like them. I’ve had more than one person tell me that! Because one day I engaged with that person and they were taken aback, and after a while explained they thought I didn’t like them. It’s because I’m socially clueless about the normal friendly social lubricant stuff. It feels so fake to me. At least I can be mostly in touch with my own emotions. I’d say more than half the time now, so that is a huge improvement over uncomfortably numb almost all the time.

 

Friends

Friends

Over the past year or so, I started to make the friends I should have been making during my ill-fated marriage. We had no other friends. I wanted to, but he was so clingy it was nearly impossible. I accepted that as a temporary state. I didn’t realize the marriage was also temporary.  Imagine growling sounds here.

So I have various friends. And I have also started to cultivate connections with people in my field. The dreaded “networking.” Or as I learned from a course on Lynda.com by Lauren Bacon, “building community and connecting with others” rather than “networking.” It’s about meeting different people, not just people like oneself. But it’s about being authentic, real, genuine. Of course the conferences I went to probably had some facade-ish aspects to them – or my behaviour did. But I’m gonna keep trying. My networking is turbo-charged and it’s gonna be a lifelong habit. No more will I rely on who or what I have, not like I stupidly did in my marriage.

But in some ways, a facade is needed even in friendships. One in particular is a relatively new friend that seems to really like me, or so she has said more than once in the few months she’s known me. She wants me to come to her place, she says. I have been twice. I’m not crazy about going there or being there, even though she has a cat, and I love cats. I liked our conversations at first, when they were kind of intense, but now she’s relaxed into prattling about mundane things that are of no interest to me, and she doesn’t see that. I mention things of interest to me, and she never ever delves into them. She moves on to another mundane thing. What does one do in this situation? I don’t know! The facade is needed because I donno what to do with my frustration when that happens. It’s a mismatch.

I realized it was a mismatch one time when I really needed someone to talk to and my truth got too intense for  her. I’m sorry, but I have lived a dark life and I can’t say “Yeehah!” to your platitudes. Basically the implication is to hide the darkness, don’t acknowledge it, so she can prattle on about how wonderful all the mundane things are, like typical landscaping and so on. She’s told me more than once to lower my standards, as she has. That is not my way.

This is going nowhere, because we are going in different directions. I want a new career and she just wants to enjoy her retirement as much as possible. Her brain has slowed down, and I am honing mine to compete in a new career, in a job market full of mostly younger people. Or maybe really it’s nowhere because I don’t want to listen to what she wants to talk about and she apparently is the same way about what I want to talk about.

We are taking a dance class together. I’m not crazy about the dance class. The teacher is a bit disorganized. She gives instructions and then doesn’t follow what she said, so we can’t follow here. And when she’s winging it, she doesn’t have a method that allows you to follow. I liked the other dance teacher, the Latin one, much more high energy. An actual workout. This one is bellydance, and she spends way too long on one isolation, and I tend to feel cramped in whatever area we’re working on. Twenty minutes or a third of the class on one isolation is too much. More than 10 sets of 8 beats of just chest slides or hip drops is too much. Especially when followed by another 10.

This friend has another friend with a hobby farm, something I would dearly love to have, at least half an acre, preferably four acres. And this friend gave my friend some composted manure, and she offered it to me, since I’m a rabid gardener.  I appreciate it very much. Very thoughtful and apropos to my interests. I feel like a bit of a jerk that I don’t want to go to her place and that I am bored of her, but I accepted her gift. I don’t like playing board games unless there is really good conversation to go along with it.

And I really don’t like the smell of spilled wine gone mouldy and cat pee. I guess she can’t smell it, but I can. The compost had no particular smell, but she was suspicious about it, as if it was dirty. “It hasn’t been processed” and “I don’t really know what composting is.” Well, JFGI. There were worms living in it. It was basically very broken down and soil-like, with some bits of straw or grass fibres left.

I hope her health problems work out for the best and she enjoys her retirement, but she’s too low energy and unthinking for me to really connect with. How to ease out of it without burning bridges.

Acceptance and letting go

Acceptance and letting go

I would prefer to hang onto old, cracked, and shabby things. Wabi-sabi is good enough for me, and preferable to new and shiny. But in this case I concede the need to let go.

We aren’t comfortable with each other, and haven’t been since the separation. That’s almost two years ago now, and things weren’t great before that. When he ended our sex life, that was the death knell. He thinks I caused the dead bedroom, whereas to me, clearly, I was willing to carry on and he was not.  As with everything else.

Was it ever good? Was it ever secure? There were brief moments of basking in the wonder of seeming-closeness, but it was never that good. Always insecurity lurked in my question, “How can you love me?” Oh, right, you really don’t. Punch in the gut: I accepted this state of being, this lack of connection. Can I connect with anyone, ever?

I remember once I was trying to make conversation with a colleague that I disliked. Suddenly he burst out with, “You’re not connecting with me.” I was astounded. Back in those days, the concept of connecting with someone was not really a frame of reference for me. People have never been an area of expertise for me. Marketing, diplomacy, influence? I’m the opposite, a geek of some sort.

But with my former sweetheart, I thought we would grow together, nurture each other, always care about each other. He said a few times recently that he cares in his own way. Hmm, a way that includes absolute unilateral demands out of nowhere, shifting goal posts, and General Madness (the guy in yesterday’s post. See painting.) I don’t like being cared for in that way. It’s better than being hated, but cold comfort, that.

I hate to let go, but I have to accept that we aren’t going to sit down and sort it out between us. He wouldn’t do that two, three years ago, never mind now. Oh, and the capper, something he said somewhere during the last year. He was always afraid of me. Now it’s my fault that he put himself below me. He had fear; that must be my fault. I don’t believe that, but I know that’s how he sees it. I always saw that he put himself below me. Then suddenly he put himself above me. I don’t think we were ever equal, and equality is a thing that seems critical to me. Equal partners. My ideal, not his.

So it’s “Good” Friday, a time of ending, of suffering, of seeing my own failings, and having compassion. Yes, I have it for him, but today it will be for me. I have never had enough of it.

I’m not a Catholic or a christian or even religious in the slightest, so I googled what Easter is all about. Amazingly, the term “Happy Easter” can actually mean “Talk to the hand” or “Fuck off bitch,” apparently. I say this because of an unfortunate interaction I had with noisy people outside my door today. After claiming the hallway was not a transitional area but rather more of a hangout type social area where loitering was perfectly appropriate, this woman tried to end the discussion by saying “Happy Easter,” ie “Talk to the hand” of Seinfeld fame. I guess her happy Easter didn’t include having any compassion for someone driven mad by her group-yap right outside my door.

So, I can accept and let go, but there are fresh new irritants around every corner, it seems. I don’t use religious euphemisms like “Talk to the hand,” so I translated it for her then and there.