Monday, September 10, 2012

Why I Should NEVER Worry About Alone Time

Never, Ever, Ever...

Alone vs. Lonely

Have I written about this before? I'm sure I have. It's such a pervasive theme in my life. As I age and get oh so much wiser, I try to remind myself of the distinction between being lonely and being alone. In my mind, being lonely is feeling the absence of people, whereas being alone is just being in the absence of people. Being lonely involves feeling left out, being alone involves no relation to others, just to oneself. My brain sometimes fritzes and confuses the two, however.

When I was five years old, my parents both had the stomach flu and were down for the count. I was left to my own devices. I was an imaginative and creative child who did ok playing on my own sometimes, but liked to be around people. My parents' absence was poignantly felt. I am told I went into their room and told them "I feel forgetted." I would say for me loneliness is always an echo of that feeling - feeling forgetted. I HATE feeling forgetting. It makes me desperate and insecure. It brings out my controlling side. It is my greatest adult not worry about "being forgetted" by people. To just be. To not control. To live in the moment.

Sometimes, when I am presented with "alone time" it feels like a wonderful gift. I am a mother of two small children. There is not much I get to do alone...EVER. I relish vacuuming and mowing the lawn for the silence of the white noise it provides. When alone time comes I usually am thrilled to spend it reading, writing, sitting in quiet or catching up on housework without being followed by two tiny homewreckers. It's all good.

On Saturday night, it was not good. I'm not sure why. I think my brain got confused and thought I was being forgetted and not just being gifted some much needed space from the world. Or, perhaps after years of freaking out over being left in the dust, I am just programmed to panic when faced with a Saturday night alone? Saturday night is just such a BIG're supposed to have something BIG to do.

It all started with a tornado warning and some hefty storms rolling in. We live on a mountain and my children are deathly afraid of storms. They asked to go stay off mountain at Grammy and Grampy's house. I obliged, not wanting to listen to constant fretting, weather reports and upset all night. When I found out they would be leaving, I attempted to find something BIG to do. Despite valiant efforts, I could scare up nothing to do. Not a thing. Not a friend. Not a person was around to play.

Although this made me feel incredibly lonely and restless for a while, I then looked inside and tried to see why it was making me feel this way? I decided to sit home alone with the insecurity and loneliness. And do you know what? As soon as I made the choice to sit with the feelings, the loneliness turned from loneliness into a welcome feeling of peaceful aloneness.

Maybe there is one more facet to the difference between feeling lonely and alone....lonely feels out of your control, being alone feels like a choice. A healthy choice. A peaceful choice...even on a Saturday night.

Monday, September 03, 2012

I Would Never Be a Member of Any Club that Would Have Me As a Member...

Read that title in your best W.C. Fields voice while twiddling your cigar because it sounds a whole lot more authentic that way. I often struggle with this W.C. Fields quote. Although I believe it was delivered EXTREMELY facetiously, there is some real truth behind this statement. I live in fear of that truth. Let me explain.

I have always had a pretty healthy self-esteem, but do have my really insecure moments. Don't we all?. As a woman, I have the lovely gift of PMS once a month for a reliable monthly emotional housekeeping...a dose of humility and disenchantment. During this time, I am the closest to pessimist that I ever get. It's often during this time I find myself attempting to answer the hard questions. This month's quandary was one with which I have struggled many times over, each time coming to different conculsions and spurring additional questions.

The dilemma is this. I am attracted to the people I have to chase. I like people who are stingy with showing their love for me. I always preferred the friends who were interpersonally challenging...alternately pissing me off and hurting me, as much as there for me. The fallow periods in my friendships made the times together that much more exciting and elating. I have preferred love relationships of a similar ilk. If a friend or lover is one who thinks I am their world, I run screaming...I turn into a shrew, eventually being so mean and discontented, I frighten them away. My intention must be TO frighten them away. It's all I can figure.

Many a potential partner has come into my life and taken up the goal of sowing stability and consistency in my life. Thinking I need it desperately, they think infusing constancy will be their ticket to success...Little do they know, though I may respond favorably at first, I will only like it for about six months. Unless, they are emotionally unavailable, mysterious or otherwise provide a psychological enigma for to solve, I will not be able to handle the stability. I will become so bored. I will create drama out of stability...a very unhealthy kind of relationship pattern. I LIKE the seismographic ups and downs.

So, back to my opening statement. I live in fear of W.C. Fields' statement about never being a member of any club that would have me as a member. Why? Because I sometimes forget all of the above truths about myself. That I love the ups and downs. That I like people who are more unavailable. That I enjoy people who are "projects" and provide me with intellectual fodder. I forget all that...especially certain times of the month, and I worry that I am just a broken little girl who only wants to be with people who treat her like she is less than special. I worry (on my worst days) that I am ill equipped to accept's like donning a wet, cold bathing suit...incredibly uncomfortable and impossibly hard to get in to. I worry that I would never be a member of any club that would have me as a member...even a club of two.

This month, I added another theory to why I might prefer these types of people. Maybe it's so much simpler than I ever thought. Maybe it's the old adage opposites attract. I am a confident, extroverted, oversharer. Maybe my "opposites" are always going to be a bit insecure, a bit introverted, a bit closed? Maybe it's as simple as liking that which I am not? Maybe? Gosh I hope so, because someday I would like to find a club I can join, feel good about, and thrive in.