For years, I’ve been thinking about the concept of booster rockets as metaphors for personal and spiritual development – but in the most depressing and isolating way.
This may sound self-indulgent and self-piteous and haughty all at once. That isn’t an apology. Just a heads up.
2019 has been a pretty chill year so far until Friday night. And even that isn’t disastrous. Just inopportune. But even that assessment is a (blessed) shift in perspective.
It’s been chill because there is barely anyone in my life right now–at least anyone constant. It’s very empty.
My relationships with people have been like booster rockets. They’re intense, fiery, and then they drop off and I’m a million miles away from where we started.
And, I’ve been feeling guilty about it. That has never been my intention. I feel like I use people, but in retrospect, it’s typically mutually beneficial.
It goes back to the idea of me being a catalyst in people’s lives and how I don’t like it anymore.
Last year, when so many people dropped away or were cut off, it was really jarring because it was the exact opposite of what I (thought I) needed.
And it’s not just been last year. It’s been years and years of having these really short, intense encounters with people and then the encounter abruptly ending.
And although it would be lovely to go into detail here, I don’t want to, really–and that’s a story in it of itself. It feels tender to try to probe into this space.
I’ll try a little, though.
I think (I hope) I’m finally over the incredulity of what happened with my love life last year. It was so absurd and I feel separate from it now. That was another lifetime ago.
And maybe last year has made me able to finally write about this constant loss of people. People were either lost in conflict or lost through consistent absence. Both felt pretty violent.
Now, there’s silence and space. And relief, that the fighting is over and that the battle wounds are healing.
And…there’s a nagging fear that life will always be this way. And another fear: that I will get used to it and become the Capricorn I’ve always wanted to be: independent and needing no one.
But as I’ve watched another perfectly good relationship drop into the ocean and I keep heading towards space, I wonder:
Where am I actually headed?
Maybe there’s no real purpose to all of this, to how I relate to people. Maybe this period of solitude just is.
I know there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with me. There are tons of people who are complete assholes who have more people in their lives, people who actually care about them and actively love them.
But there does seem to be a purpose, at least right now. And that’s what I feel guilty about. Although, again, as a catalyst, I know I’m serving the same purpose.
I’ve grown so much from last year through learning about myself, what I’m good at and what I’m not good at. And it feels like those lessons have started to stabilized within me.
I’m still here. I’m not dead in any way. I no longer feel brokenhearted. I’m further along.
Also, this time alone has made me realize how much energy and effort I put into relationships and how a lot of times, that energy isn’t returned. It can be the most casual relationship to the most intimate – I am grinding. And frankly, that’s just wasteful.
Part of me is just wired to care for others. But writing this, in my head I sound like a martyr. But that’s definitely not what I want, a cross to be up on and people to pity.
I nurture, I guide, I help to heal. But last year, I saw my efforts hilariously and spectacularly fail and flail.
Even this past weekend, I reached out to a couple of people and they don’t actually need my support in the way that I want to give it – booster rocket style.
Although I’m at peace and am feeling better about my life, I’m no Happy Cappy…at least if I compare myself to what everyone else is doing.
I don’t have friends I text or call often – or really, at all. And that’s really weird to me.
But what’s even weirder: I can’t really think of anyone where we’d talk even every week on the phone or via text and it’d feel natural. I don’t think I’ve met those people yet.
And that’s OK. In fact, it’s encouraging. They’re still out there.
I only start to feel like a complete loser when I look around, I think – wow, if this is it, this is really bad. This is not good. I may have always had some existential loneliness, but prolonging this would be bad.
It’s not good to be so disconnected.
A big part of this experience has to deal with poverty, which basically makes me a shut-in. But then if I had more money beyond basic expenses and had more the time to be out there again…it’s exhausting to think about.
I have been balls to the wall about people since I got here on Earth and I have very little to show for it except, wow, I know humanity pretty well and I’ve discovered that we don’t vibe that well together. Yay?
I was a lot happier as a misanthrope, back in my 20s. Maybe it’s time to bring that bitch back!
But having all this space now, I can appreciate the good times without resenting they ended. Yet I’m still quite bewildered by where I am now, at my age. And as it is Aquarius season, I feel extra alien and unrelatable.
But who gives a shit? Who really gives a shit?
I do. Thank god, I do.
And, I’m pretty sure I’ve written about this here or for my patrons, being so exhausted in giving, there needs to be a break, a shift, a disruption in this cycle of outflow and barren reception.
So as I take this rocket ship to nowhere, I believe one of two things will happen, or possibly both.
I will get used to people just popping in and out of my life and just be surprised if someone sticks around longer than a year. Or, more people will stick around longer than a year.
The thing is, too – out of all the people who have ghosted or left or have been cut out by me, I only miss one of them, but it’s not even in a painful way. It’s more like…well, it’d be nice if you returned. But I’m not going to put anymore effort into it because yowsa.
To pull back with a wider lens: I live in a society with rampant loneliness, with fragmented relationships, with companies that throw people away like yesterday’s garbage, in a country that has immigrant children in concentration camps.
I live in a land that barely values me as a person with full citizenship – and I mean that in a personhood sense.
So honestly, it’s a miracle, a remarkable miracle, that any love gets to me, or any of us, at all.
Even though my life looks like a wasteland of used up people, a wasteland of me being used up, somehow, I have some optimism that this will all make sense later.
For now, I feel like I need to put this nurturing impulse to better use. That doesn’t mean I have to change who I am. The times are just different now and I need to find out what “better use” means – without rushing it.
Before I started writing this, I thought, what if I became the object of all this nurturing and care? It’s something I’ve been doing lately, but as I reach out to others and don’t have that effort reciprocated, I need to continue to focus on myself, as awkward and sad as that can feel.
There’s nothing wrong with the path of least resistance. And there’s nothing wrong with learning how to shift my focus towards myself for a while. I need to heal up from the losses, losses and abuses that go all the way back to high school, or even further back than that.
And it’s not that I’m reliving and ruminating over the past. The exhaustion is cumulative.
I swear I’ve written about this before, about how sometimes this feels like this is some cosmic punishment.
Here is what I hear the Universe say to me (but I am completely mishearing them):
You’re too much for people and We’re putting you on an indefinite time out! Sit here and be alone until you’re ready to play well with others!
Some of these experiences, I really don’t understand what it’s for. And maybe it’s as simple as that I’m incredibly unlucky.
But I will not pathologize myself any longer. There’s enough pain with loss without making it all about me and how wrong I allegedly am.
Last summer, there was one person who left kept telling me, as he was leaving me, before it got ugly: “You’re such a lovely person.”
But. (one of his favorite words, by the way)
It was like it couldn’t be that it couldn’t work between us because I wasn’t an asshole. So he became the asshole.
It wasn’t me. It was him. And we both know that.
He’s not the person that I still miss, either.
My path is strange and there’s still a lot of shame around it. I’m not doing what I consider to be adult mature things that I expect for myself, like traveling, hanging out with friends, being with someone who knows I’m a lovely person and didn’t commit self-sabotage seppuku (actually, yeah, that’s pretty adult, so I guess I’m adulting).
I’ve done all of those things before.
Instead, I’m super isolated. And now I’m mostly fine with it.
I guess I wish my life wasn’t so weird and unrelatable. It makes it hard to be a writer if no one understands what you’re experiencing (or at least openly says so).
But hey, I feel less crappy about not having anyone local around who cares because I sure as hell fucking tried, for years, to connect.
And as I was trying, I was evolving.
The gazillion dollar question: I really like who I am now, but did it come at the cost of all these people who aren’t in my life anymore?
It’s probably more true that the changes that I went through couldn’t be held within the relationships I’ve had with people. Or the people I was in relationship with were also changing beyond the scope of how we related.
And that is OK. I just want it to fucking stop eventually.
And maybe I finally know and believe that I won’t be poor forever. I know I’ll find the people who will stick around.
But right now, for once, mercifully…I’m really reluctant to open up and get to know anyone new – at least the way that I do it, which is a deep sea dive into one’s soul. I feel like that’s a healthy response! I’m not running headlong into anything, great or godawful.
There’s just me and for now, that’s all I need. But I look forward to when I have the strength, and the means, and the heart, to open up again, whether it’s to someone new or someone from the past.
So thank you to all the former friends who help me get to this place of emotional self-sufficiency. I literally couldn’t have done it with you.
All through my life there have been
Many rare and precious things
I have tried to call mine
But I just cannot seem
To keep hold of anything
For more than a short time
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