I’ve been thinking about a lot of stuff recently, and it’s making me pretty messed up in the head. People tell me I think too much, which sometimes I’m proud of, especially in the political climate of this country where smarts is vilified, but other times, it feels so burdensome. Because I’m not thinking a lot because I’m some sort of genius with revolutionary ideas, I’m just some sort of paranoid, some sort of depressed and some sort of lonely.
I mean come on, this blog is called Talking with Myself. And it’s because seriously, I do this. Long conversations with “other people,” sometimes I know them, sometimes I don’t. I create scenarios, make up reactions, play out all sorts of situations in my head, to the point where it feels real to me. Obviously, it’s not, I know it’s not, but it feels real–I can make my blood pressure rise, I can make myself cry, it’s such a deep, uncalled for empathy, that I wonder if it’s healthy at all.
The whole point of this blog was to have another outlet for me to write, to get all these too many thoughts out of my head. But I’m finding that as more people read it, the more hesitant I am to write about the really personal things, the things that matter the most, the things I most need to write about, because I’m afraid of being judged. Worse than being judged, I’m afraid of having my worst fears confirmed–that I am as disliked or as lonely as I think I am.
You probably wonder why I don’t just write in a journal if I want to release my thoughts. But see this blog, it’s not just about that. It’s about a desire to connect with people. Or rather it’s that desire to feel that I am a worthy being to connect to. I have a theory for why I, unlike other people, have a need for this and that is:
When I was little, my family lived in the countryside. It wasn’t completely rural America, but it was close to that. It was nice because we had a big yard to play in, but rarely did I ever have anyone to play with. This wasn’t the suburbs. My street was Route 79 where traffic was constantly coming and going at over 65 MPH. No walking to a friend’s house, no riding a bike, no going anywhere without a parent or sibling to accompany me. We lived on a corner lot, so we only had neighbors on one side of us. In middle school, the neighbor (very seriously) threatened to shoot our family’s dog (she was chasing his cats), and so that ended what little niceties we had with them. We lived across the street from the church, but once us kids were old enough to throw a fit, our parents stopped making us go. I’d watch people as they’d congregate on Sunday morning. As kids ran around chasing each other and parents raised their hands to each other from across the parking lot in a gesture of hello. I’d step back from the bay windows and go back to watching cartoons alone. I think this is why organized religion still appeals to me, even though there’s so much that I morally oppose about it.
My parents were workaholics and never home. More like, my mother was a workaholic and my dad worked like a workaholic to support the family. Either way, they were rarely home, so this meant that I couldn’t do very much since I didn’t have anyway to get anywhere. My sister is six years older than me, and so when I was playing make believe since I didn’t have real friends, she was too busy slamming doors and shutting herself in her room like any normal teenager to play with me. My brother treated me amicably at best. He’d play with me, but only when it suited his moods. And if I crossed to his bad side, he’d let me know it. His abuse wasn’t anything outside of the normal bounds of sibling rivalry, but I think because he was one of the few people I interacted with regularly, it set me up for a lifetime of fear and social cautiousness. I’m constantly on guard, waiting for someone to be nice one minute and then cast me away the next, me completely unaware of any wrongdoing I’ve done.
I guess what I’m trying to explain is that I’ve been unintentionally isolated for most of my developmental years. Sure, I went to school, I went to sleepovers, I had a few friends, etc. but I still went long periods, hours, maybe even days without talking to anyone. Where I would just watch or listen to other people or the radio or the tv. And this is still true today. Sure, you’ll see me out socializing occasionally, but really, my Friday and Saturday are filled with intense trepidation as I prepare for the loneliness to settle in which, which it almost always does.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be whining or playing the victim. I think there are just things about myself that I don’t like, and that I’m trying to work on and change, but without fully understanding why I’m like this in the first place, I won’t be able to change. I don’t harbor any resentment towards any of my family members, I know they all had their struggles and priorities. In fact, I look back on my childhood house, my prison of isolation if you will, incredibly fondly. When I return home, which is often, I feel calm and comfortable and safe. (After having written that, it is true, but it’s also idealized. There’s much I’d like to forget about what happened in that house.)
I just wonder if my childhood wasn’t a perfect storm: general shyness mixed with locational isolation mixed with absent parents mixed with overzealous imagination mixed with emotional sensitivity mixed with low self esteem mixed with ?. It all just seems like a mess. Again, I no it could have been worse, that many people have it worse. I won’t argue that. I’m just trying to figure out what it is that went wrong with me.
And without any real conclusion, that is my psychoanalysis for tonight.