inside, alone, apart

Sometimes I do not do things I should do at the exact moment they should be done. This is more than procrastination, because I am not avoiding them; I will do them soon. Certain biological processes, including eating regular meals, fit into this category. Sometimes this is because I am distracted by what I am writing or reading, or because I am attending to something I consider more important, like finishing a work project, or helping a friend. Mostly it has to do with not living entirely in the physical realm. Headaches might take hours to consciously notice. Changes in temperature will not occur to me until I’m already shivering or sweating. I have spent hours staring at a wall in my room, awash in thoughts and feelings, both petty and profound. I have spent days inside with no contact with the outside world.

I have loved people I’ve never even met.

I used to apologize for this behavior, as if I were too dream-ridden, impractical, or illogical. Absorbing those labels as a second skin, I began to believe that these were negative traits in myself. I began to believe that I should change myself to suit the people around me; “I should be more … normal.”

Now I just laugh. If anyone else could understand what it was like in here, how I revel in each layer and symbol and tangent, they’d never talk down to me again. If they knew how wonderful it was to connect with the external world after such intense focus on the internal – how it made taste excite the palate, touch incite desire – they would be happy for me, and leave me alone.

Such a loaded phrase, that one. For as much as we use “leave me alone” negatively in our language, it’s completely neutral until we assign tone to it. Requesting someone else to leave you alone is not the same as asking them to leave for good, unless with tone or additional words one implies or outright states it. But it is ugly in our culture to want to be left alone, to be anti-social. We talk about people, call them nerds or losers, if they don’t go out, if they don’t seek connection as much as we think they should. We assume that no one likes them.

It is ugly in our culture to want to be alone. That is one step away from the dangerous land of being unmarried or childfree. There must be something wrong with you if you want to be alone, if you go to dinner and the movies by yourself … and enjoy it! The horror! That might actually indicate liking your own company just as much as you like the company of others. We have to self-deprecate, in explanation: “I went to the movies by myself.” Read a few entries back in my own journal and you’ll see it, that pervasive apology for what every person should feel good about doing. I am just learning, but my eyes are opening and my heart is filling.

And the boundaries, those resilient shields I never thought I’d figure out, are under construction.

Current mood: Current music:

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.