December 12, 2011 (edited/revised this again, toned it down a little bit & shortened it, removed some overly worried bits & some stuff related to others)
Maybe Christmas should be a fun/good time, but this year it seems to be exemplifying my obsessive compulsiveness, imperfections, and feeling alone. I’ve completed my holiday shopping already, but now am feeling worried that maybe nobody will like what I chose for them. I’m in the midst of working on holiday cards and feeling similarly awkward about that too. Who do I send them to?
I love and appreciate my family, but I also have some uncomfortable feelings about family holiday time. It will probably be my mom & dad and their four daughters and me by myself – my sister A. with her husband and three kids and me by myself – my sister J. with her husband and three kids and me by myself – my sister N. with her partner and kid and me by myself. Me by myself, me by myself, me by myself – sitting there quietly and feeling like a worthless anti-social unwanted mess.
Mind you, just because part of me feels uncomfortable spending time with my family when I’m by myself, that doesn’t mean I don’t like my family. It means I don’t feel very comfortable being by myself in a crowd, in which I very well might be the only one who doesn’t have my own partner. I know that some people are perfectly fine with that; are quite comfortable about being alone in a crowd - and part of me wishes I was that type of person, but I am not. I much prefer one on one time or very small groups that involve personal conversation. I do not like being by myself in part of a group with nobody talking much to me personally. I feel like I’m just part of a weird ceiling fan or a boring table chair, just sitting there silently, like a piece of furniture without unique or interesting brain waves. Yes I’m still part of the group; but not a very exciting individual part – more like a random blob; a globular mishap.
On a semi-related note, in recent years, I’ve received a number of comments from my mom suggesting that I spend too much time online – AND in recent months, I’ve received a number of comments from her suggesting that I’ve had more social activity than ever in the last couple years of my life. Well I do spend a lot of time on my computer; some of it writing related; not online – although I also do spend more time online than the average person. More social activity in recent years is true also. However, much of that activity has taken place outside of my own state – or having people from other areas temporarily visit my space. I am not complaining about that or saying it is a bad thing; but part of what I AM saying/asking is how does my mom think I’ve met and gotten to know most of those friends of mine? I’ve met most of them online.
My mom has suggested I spend too much time online, share too much information online, and take too many risks along those lines – and yes, that is also true to a certain extent – every once in a while, I’ve made a regrettable mistake, starting to get to know the wrong kind of person. However, I sure don’t regret getting to know quite a few wonderful people and poets more personally by reading/writing to each other online.
There’s also the question of how else would I get to know people otherwise? I’m not saying I’m going out of my way to meet people online, because I’m definitely not at this point in time – but that is still a valid question. I don’t drive plus I live in a smallish town. I quite like and appreciate my personal space and I also like spending a significant amount of time by myself. But if I’m having a sad, lonely feeling spell, during which I might like to get out of my space for a bit and do something different and hang out with someone and socialize, unless I happen to have a friend visiting me from out of town, then who do I have to hang out with? Pretty much the only people I know who live in my neck of the woods are my mom & dad and one of my sisters. I certainly like them, but they have their own lifestyles to deal with. Aside from them, I do not have a single close friend that lives in this area.
Even though I was unpopular in high school, since I’m now back to living in that area it has crossed my mind many times to maybe attend one of the alumni special events that seem to be organized quite a bit; it might or might not be my cup of tea, but at this point I might be willing to give it a try. However, not only would I have to attend by myself; I’d also have to be dropped off and picked up by my mom or dad or sister, which might interfere with their own schedules AND would most likely make me feel rather weird and/or embarrassed.
So back to meeting or not meeting people online, how the heck else could I meet someone in this area? At the grocery store or some other regular public place? I don’t think so.
I don’t casually chat or socialize well in random large group settings (nor do I desire to do so); I also don’t feel very comfortable going places by myself. If there were poetry reading events in this area, that would probably be one sort of situation that I would feel comfortable attending and sitting by myself for; if I could GET there by myself (because I would be sitting and paying attention to someone read/perform/express; rather than sitting alone and awkward in a place where other people are in groups and I’m probably looking anti-social or stuck up or something). Aside from that, maybe I’m failing to think of something that I ought to be able to think of, but I cannot quickly/easily think of any type of setting or event in this area that I could do by myself/easily get to & from by myself/ and interact with some new people I might be interested in and vice versa.
Part of me thinks that my family members probably PREFER me being by myself, because maybe they don’t like my taste in partners and various sociable risks I might make; maybe they would like me to feel like I’m BETTER by myself; but how would any of them feel being by themselves at this point in their lives? If someone like my mom tells me she would be fine with that, I don’t really believe her – not because I think she’s a liar, but because she has been with her partner since they were in high school, so how would she KNOW?
Also, I tend to be better at expressing myself in writing as opposed to in person, which is another significant reason why I really like communicating with people online to get to know them better and find out how we vibe; how we might connect with each other or not. Does that have some possible risk factors? Yes but a lot of things do. Besides, does anyone in my family really want to read any of my longer writings, whether they are poetic, artsy, neurotic, or rather negative like this piece? Probably not. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with my family members because of that; what I’m saying is I desire someone to hear/read/be interested in and/or relate to my over-the-top expressions – so I will write and write and write and hope that someone is. Heck, even when I was a married woman, I talked to a lot of friends online then too. I wasn’t making in-person plans with other people at that time, since I had a partner - but since my partner was not into poetry, I got into doing most of my poetry stuff online.
About poetry activity, I am quite happy that I’ve actually been able to attend and participate in quite a few poetry readings (and related creative events) in recent years - but none of those events took place in this neck of the woods plus I don’t have any family members/friends here who would be very interested in attending one with me – so unless I am out of town or have a friend visiting me from out of town, pretty much all of my poetry connections and interactions are still going to take place online.
Not that this is anyone’s fault (except for my own) or that I am upset at anyone (except for myself) about this next tidbit, but I did feel rather upset that a close friend of mine had a poetry reading this past Friday evening and I couldn’t attend. He attended my last poetry reading in Pittsburgh in October, which was about two hours away from him. His reading Friday night was about two hours away from me, but I can’t drive and don’t have any poetry friends in my area, so... I’m not making a huge deal out of that, but it certainly did cross my mind and make me feel badly.
On the plus side, the day after that, one thing that always makes me feel better is when a literary magazine accepts a few of my poems – and yesterday one of my own poems AND one collaborative piece by him & me were accepted and shall soon be published within Lingerpost. I got quite excited about that yesterday, but then today the negative part of my brain started thinking that I might be more excited about that then he is; that I probably tend to get more excited (AND more upset) about little things than most people do and who really cares and what is the point and blah blah blah. (Still though, at least it significantly improved my mood for a few hours).
Overall, I wish I felt more confident about myself and what was going on in my life, but I don’t – and that is another reason I am feeling rather uncomfortable about Christmas – because it’s close to the New Year and the New Year makes me even more nervous. I do not crave another year of not knowing what is going on with my life or what I want or what I should focus on. January will equal TWO years since my stroke, one year since my divorce, and at least the second year of not knowing what I want, what I need, who I am, if I am good enough for anyone, or if I am good enough for myself. I feel like I’m NOT good enough. Yes, in the last few years, I’ve made some significant progress in terms of getting words back (but my reading and writing is STILL much slower than it used to be – and my brain waves are still a weird fusion of weak and over-the-top bizarre froth), but I sure haven’t made very significant progress in terms of positivity, self-empowerment or anything like that.
I know I must work harder on re-evaluating and positive-izing myself pretty darn soon here, but at the moment, part of me feels like staying in bed for the rest of December. I am very uncomfortable with Christmas and the upcoming New Year (and having no clue what that new year holds) and not feeling at all confident about who I am or what I have to offer anyone or what I mean to anyone else – or what my life even means to me.
I need to get back to work focusing harder on reading and writing and poetry again - and also start focusing on figuring some more stuff out.
I felt significantly better after speaking on the phone with my scrumptious poet man friend last night; he told me that the two of us would spend the beginning of the New Year together in one way or another; I really do think/feel that will make it so much better.