I am afraid. Afraid that I can’t tolerate the pain. So I confine myself. I rigidly control my own life by trying to put everything in its time and place. I even control my life via the labels I put upon myself. Any deviation from the plan or the label is a risk. And yet these risks are nothing more than everyday disappointments; the type that most adults shrug off and move on from without a second thought.
I often avoid interacting if it’s not planned. I realize that I brace myself for interactions–even with those I love. I can find peace and calm with those I love but it often takes me a while to get there; to lower my guard. It’s hard for me to simply walk into interpersonal situations with a sense of joy at the start.
So I am often caught between a deep loneliness and the relief of being left alone. Between the pain of solitude and the possible disappointment of human interaction. And yet, again, the disappointments I try to avoid are of the everyday kind.
Everyone can relate to avoiding difficult conversations or ones that will likely be painful (breakup talks; state of the union relationship talks; etc). I am often afraid of simple check-ins, greetings, or how-are-you-doing? type interactions. Put another way, I’m not especially afraid of the type of conversations that that are widely deemed difficult–I’m afraid of the everyday stuff. The simple sharing. I often don’t know what to say. I wait. I feel stuck. Lost. The harder I try the harder it is to say anything.
Others often confuse my rigidity with a sense of self. I get too much positive feedback about how I know who I am and what I like; about how well I do at holding boundaries. Maybe at times this is true. But it is as true that often I’m just turning the steering wheel away from….life.
I am tearful as I write this because…because I’m old and I’m still dealing with this stuff. Because the amount of pain and work involved to move through this feels daunting. Terrifying. It’s embarrassing to admit that everyday life is difficult for me to navigate.
The theme of the forgotten child keeps emerging in my writing and in my dreams. The way that a child feels the pain of being left alone but can create comfort by living in its head: a sort of schizoid universe that is lonely but also cozy. And more importantly: controllable. Sometimes interactions with others feel like a threat to that carefully constructed inner world and to the barriers that are set in place to protect it. Sometimes the simplest interaction throws me so far off that I can’t find my balance for a while. I feel confused about why I shared what I did. Or what I really wanted from the interaction. Sometimes it’s even painful, but painful for reasons I can’t quite articulate. Maybe it’s that thing of….here’s an opportunity but I don’t quite know what to do with it.
I hope to get back to writing about music or things that…help me transcend. Flow. I just don’t have it in me right now.