Who Would Understand?

July 17, 2012 § Leave a comment

Whatever the clinical definition of neurosis and however well I might fit into that category, I will not own the designation. Not anymore, anyway. I’ve tried it on. It might hang passably well on my frame, but it’s still off-the-rack. It hides more of me than it shows off. It misses the curves and bulges, smoothes everything out. Anyone vaguely my shape could wear it. We wouldn’t be the same person, but we’d look enough alike to be labeled and slipped into the same manilla folder marked “Neurotic.” I don’t care what neurosis or depression means; knowing is no more relevant to figuring myself out than any other label. To some, labels are a comfort, a connection. But why celebrate it? Your connection is to everyone, not to a remote province of the Island of Misfit Toys. For a “comfort zone,” you couldn’t do worse. Labels are only partially true, and that part is insignificant. Stack label upon label and you will still only be a shill for the woes of our society. You still won’t know who you are. It’s easier to play along: You don’t want to be too real. Who would understand?

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In My Pajamas

May 15, 2012 § 4 Comments

Getting to know myself has required a lot of time alone, but I have no intention of becoming hermetically sealed in my apartment. I bore myself sometimes. After the movies, books, music, and writing, there’s still no one there to talk to about them. I talk to myself, but I always know what I’m going to say. So I go to Carytown. It’s crowded, as a city street should be, with lots of shops from which I might actually buy something, but I’m just looking for conversation. I never know if I’m going to get it, but I know early on which it’s going to be. The first person I have opportunity to talk to is the bellwether. The sooner I get out after my morning coffee, the better chance I have to ignore my shyness. The conversation doesn’t start if I don’t initiate it. Some days I just can’t do that. It seems that on those days no one talks to me, either. Is it just that kind of world? or do I look like I don’t want to interact? Give me a couple more choices. On those days I want to think that if I stay out there a little while longer something will happen, but all that happens is I get home much later than I intended, feeling I’ve wasted the day, made no progress at all in my socialization, and dug myself a little deeper into my loneliness. Sounds like something I could have done at home in my pajamas.

Rare Is the Balance

March 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

Friends are hard to make and harder to keep. Especially if you define them as strictly as I do.  I have three friends. I can talk to them about anything. I can ask of them any favor and feel neither sheepish nor guilty about it. I trust they would do the same of me. I trust that they care for my well-being as I care for theirs. This might sound like family, but with family it is an obligation, whether willing or not. The bond is not of one’s choosing. I’m excited to find someone to whom I feel I can relate. It usually doesn’t last–the excitement or the relationship. Neither of us can accept all we need to accept of the other. We can relate to certain interests but cannot reserve critical judgement of the other. The last I heard of one such acquaintance was, “Don’t judge me,” after I couldn’t agree that some black people looked like apes. Some patrons I see and talk to quite often at the library, but where are they outside that world? I live far from where I work. It is not my community. Connection is about what we are willing to  receive.  We start with what we give, hoping another will receive it and reciprocate. Rare is the balance.

A Bit Much to Ask

January 20, 2012 § Leave a comment

To be touched by the faith of others is not hard for me. To find my own is another matter. I accept another’s belief that they will meet their dear-departeds in the afterlife even if I can’t believe in the same for myself. I must believe in something, though, to wake up every day, though many days the awakening is reluctant and seemingly without purpose. Hope, that vague stepsister of faith, is the best reason to roll out of bed, grumbling and stiff. There’s the hope of my daughters making the world a better place; the hope of catching up to and connecting with it myself. On good days hope can turn confidently toward faith, but it doesn’t stay; it doesn’t know how to behave itself; it wants too much and wants it now. Love is a bit much to ask for on a daily basis, and way too much to believe is imminent. Hope is a tease, faith is a ghost.

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