Sometimes, a lot of the time, I'm better around people. There are exceptions. They have to be people I know, stick me in a crowd and you'll find myself keeping to myself and generally being more uneasy than I would be on my own.
But for the most part I'm better around people I know, which is probably a part of the reason me not having friends I spend any amount of time with is a bad thing. But that's not the point. This is I'm better around people I know, except my family are not those people.
My mom can be. When we're doing something together. Climbing a mountain, watching a movie, whatnot. We used to climb a mountain twice a week during summer. Lot of time of me being better than average. We used to go to the movies all the time. Sometimes when there were no new good movies we'd rewatch something we'd already seen. We watched some things as much as three times in theaters. We used to spend an hour together four days a week watching The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. There was a time when we made a drive up to a park to go swimming together every single day.
That's all gone now. We've climbed two mountains this season, I can't even remember the last time we saw a movie together. We've been swimming not at all.
These days I see my mother, if at all, for a short time while she's waiting for someone to pick her up. There's no time for any good to come of it.
Lately I've been interacting with my sister a lot, helped her cleaning her place the other day, something she wants me to devote the next month of my life to continuing to do, and then more stuff involving her plans, her hopes, and her dreams through the next month into the school year.
The plan is for me to attend school again, it's what I'm getting my mental health services via and I don't think I'll have everything sorted out by summer's end.
Any plans I had, and believe me I had plans. Too many to fit into a summer, or indeed a year, would have to be tabled indefinitely to go along with my sister's plan.
Someone asked me why it is that I always help her and always complain about it. If I hate it so much, why do it. Well part of it is that I love my sister unconditionally, so when she needs help I provide. Part of it is that I have an emotional investment in the property she's at and the possibility of her losing it if she fucks up is something I'd really rather avoid, and part of it is that I just do. Might as well as me why I breathe. For better or worse it's a part of me.
But it also devours my life. At one point that stands out in memory I lost a week to nothing. She was supposed to come and get me right away so I could go over and help, which meant that I had to be ready to drop everything and leave, which meant I couldn't start anything that took more than a minute or two. She never came. At the end of the day she rescheduled for the next day. Same fucking problem. A week of uncertainty means a week of no progress.
Of course it's worse when the actual work does take place because then I'm over there doing labor that, at it's best involves moving incredibly heavy objects like a bipedal beast of burden, and at it's worst crushes the soul entirely. Hell must be like that, if there is a Hell.
To try to work on the things I want to do, all I need is to be left alone and know that I'm being left alone. This week, this day, hell, this hour is mine, mine to try to get something done without my family fucking up my work with their needs*.
I live with reminders, almost constantly, that I will never, ever get that. I can't even write a damned blog post. Deus Ex, .hack//Sign, they were both supposed to be done by the deadline for This Week in the Slacktiverse this week. They were supposed to be done days ago. No such luck. (The observant reader will note that this is likewise late for the This Week in the Slacktiverse post.)
You'd think being unemployed, single, and theoretically living alone I'd have plenty of time to myself. Not so. at least not quite so. I may have lots of time, but it's not known time. It's not time I can count on. It's not, "I can start this thing that will take an hour," time. Not even always, "I can start this thing that will take ten minutes," time.
And, like I said, constant reminders that I will never, ever, get that time.
Which leaves me with the impulse to start screaming profanities. And often I indulge. I wish I didn't. I have a dog and a cat. I was damaged, growing up, by a lot of shouting around me. I hate to think that I might be damaging them. But I can see, sometimes, in my dogs eyes, the fear and confusion I once felt. That's not good. I don't want to do that to him. I don't want him to feel that.
I can keep myself from blowing up and screaming profanity in the presence of people, not so much in the presence of animals, and I worry for the psychological state of my dog**. Then again, he seems more resilient than I did, all things considered.
At the moment what it seems I need from life is friends to be in contact, and for family to leave me the hell alone. Friends bring me up, I come alive, I get energy. Family drains me, brings me down, and leaves me out of it. I've been getting the opposite.
* Sometimes it's labor, a lot of the time it's venting. But I've been subject to some pretty heavy venting and it didn't hurt like it does when my family does it to me because the person doing it managed to recognize my humanity while she was at it. So instead of blow after blow after blow coming at me with no space to breathe much less respond it became a conversation in which she was able to let off steam, I was able to make a few points, we were able to relate, and I wasn't left beaten and drained, I was left invigorated from actual human contact and agreement (the things she was talking about did suck) and generally not like something that was dumped on but someone who was a participant in commiseration.
And at one point she apologized for dumping her problems on me. Nothing of the sort happened. Those were good conversations, I wish she could give, "This is how you talk about your problems," lessons to my family. But it did stand out as another recognition, "There's a human being on the other end of my words," so often lacking when members of my family spew their words at me.
** The cat I cannot speak to. She spends a lot of time outside, or downstairs, or out of sight. To be honest, I don't think she cares about me in the least. When she was a kitten she nested in my beard, since that time has passed her only interest in me is getting her food and opening doors. I'm not sure if she even notices when break down or blow up. If she does, and it messes her up, I feel bad about that too.
You know, at the time I was in enough of a hurry to finish typing something that I didn't really notice that I never did get around to talking about the screaming profanity in any detail, or the feelings that led to it.ReplyDelete
I don't have answers. I don't even have sensible questions. I mean, obviously I want to say "well, can't you talk to them like adults and get them to give you some time/space", but you're not stupid, you've thought of that already, and there are reasons I'm not aware of why that doesn't work. (Which is a situation I've been in myself, though it sounds as though the dynamics are quite different.)ReplyDelete
So all I can do is say "hey" in a feeble sort of way, and reassure you that when I stop commenting here for the next couple of weeks it's because I'm driving across Europe on holiday rather than because I've got bored and wandered off.
For what it's worth, internet hugs.ReplyDelete
A seconding of internet hugs for you. I understand that feeling very well, as a fellow sufferer from "want to tell all of their projects to go away while I take me time, but can't because they'll be hurt and it will only make the situation worse." If either of us happens in a solution that works, we'll let each other know, okay?ReplyDelete
I have a similar problem with my mentally ill son, and the only thing that really helps me is to be SOMEWHERE ELSE where I can't be reached. My husband and I thus take it in turns to be somewhere else once or twice a week. It's saving my life.ReplyDelete
For some reason, people who won't accept "this time is mine and I need not to be interrupted" are often better with "I won't be home until ten."