Friday, November 11, 2011
Dichotomy, Paradox, or?
I think I am a living dichotomy, or a paradox. I'm not sure which.
Shortly after my ex-husband moved out, I caught up with a long time friend and informed her of the pending divorce. She was sympathetic and concerned over my emotional and mental well-being. I assured her I would be fine, was optimistic about the future and had told her of this blog. She was interested in reading it, so I sent her the URL. A few months later we talked again, she asked how I was doing, and I told her I was kind-of-maybe-perhaps-sort-of seeing someone. She went ballistic. "Why do you feel the need to get into a relationship after just getting out of one? It's way too soon, you don't know yourself and need to spend time alone getting to know yourself again. Oh, and I just love your blog."
Oh, really. So, she'd read it. I think she missed some important points. And I promptly told her so. And which ones.
But, she did have a point, sort of.
There is a big difference between being alone and being lonely. And there is nothing wrong with being either. It's in the attitude.
Being alone implies a comfort in being by oneself; in being able to support and entertain oneself. You can enjoy your own company.
Being lonely implies a need for another to meet certain needs, and not necessarily the physical ones. (Yes, we all have the need for just touching and hugging, but that's not the one I'm referring to. And you know it.) But, the need for social interaction, mental stimulation, conversation. etc. also is a strong one. And my dogs and cat just look at me strangely when I try to share the day's events with them.
I have always been an independent person. I am the eldest child by three years. I learned to entertain myself at a young age, and always have. I enjoyed being by myself at times. I was a reader, my brothers were not, so I needed the quiet and spent a lot of time in my room. Plus, it's part of my Aquarian nature to be independent. Giving up that need for independence is not easy for us and when we do, it's for someone who will respect and even nurture it. I am relearning how to be alone after being in a relationship for nearly 25 years. My first partner and I were together nearly nine years before he died, and about nine months later began seeing my ex. He asked for a divorce after fifteen years.
I have always been a lonely person. My parents divorced early in my life, I was 5, and shortly thereafter my mother relocated us to another city in the middle of my kindergarten year. Soon, she married again, and my stepfather was relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada and six months later he wanted to move to South Dakota where I completed the first grade at age six. We continued this gypsying around the country until I was going into the seventh grade at age twelve, when for the first time I attended the same school for the second year in a row. We lived in that community for a total of four and a half years before we started moving again and always mid-year. My freshman and senior years of high school were the only ones I started and finished in the same school. All this moving made it difficult to make lasting friendships. I grew up very lonely which enforced my wanting to be by myself much of the time.
I learned some valuable lessons from all this. First, I hate moving! Even rearranging furniture can bring anxiety unless it's negotiated carefully. (My ex surprised me with it once, I couldn't breathe for 10 minutes, and didn't speak to him for an hour!) But, I have also learned moving is necessary at times and therefore, I can prepare myself for it.
I have also learned not to attach myself to friends, as they are transient. Sooner or later, one of us will go. The length of the friendship depends on the lesson(s) to be learned. I didn't have a regular circle of friends until college. And now I don't see them anymore. They have moved on to different parts of the state and country and aren't on Facebook, that I know of. I've grown close to some of my colleagues at my school, but over time they, too, leave for varied reasons. In all the years I've been there, with all the revolving doors, I have remained frequently in touch with a grand total of two people. I'm not counting the occasional emails forwarding urban legends or prayer requests.
So, I hate moving and don't attach myself to people because they (or most likely, I) will leave due to relocation.
Sounds about right.
But, that isn't who I am.
I am a very social person. That's also part of being Aquarian. I love having friends. They are important. Friends can be a sounding board, someone just to hang with, or watch your back. I was always jealous of the characters on the show "Friends" because of their closeness. I have a small circle of friends now, but few close gay male friends. As I go through this transition in my life, it is that perspective I need. Yet, it can be very difficult to make friends as an adult. It's not like we have a giant playground to mingle in or someone forcing us to get along. And as adults, we have that 'other' aspect of human nature to contend with, that can blur the lines of friendships and make things more complicated.
I think before I begin moving forward again, I need to spend time learning just to be alone, not to get to know myself better, but to better appreciate my self-sufficiency.
And, I think before I begin moving forward again, I need to make sure I have the loneliness in check, so it doesn't cloud my judgement. As it did twice before.
But, first and foremost, I need to expand my gay male social circle.
So, am I a living dichotomy or a paradox?
I don't think I'm either.
I think I am just human.