Calamity Jennye

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Please keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times

To carry on with my thoughts about inner peace...I've been feeling lately like I'm nearing a meltdown. (although I think it may have come gone in the 40 min. I spent trying to get my contact out of my eye last night and everyone seems to have escaped rather good news there!)
This past weekend the families I spend most of my time with were gone and I had a lot of time on my own.
The first night I really appreciated the alone time. It was nice to be in my new space, all my own. I watched some Netflix, I read a little of my book, chatted a bit with some friends, it was a nice evening.
But by the time Sunday evening rolled around, even having Esme home with me and all the fun things we'd done I remembered how much I am a creature made for community.
There is an upside to living well with others. I don't think a majority of people in the world would enjoy communal living but I know I am one who does (granted it's a lot different when the community is taking care of me, that is not what I was made for). I enjoy sharing tasks with others, I love having others around who like to do the things I don't (um, hmm cooking) and I'm happy to then do the other things they may not want to (like, uh, cleaning up afterwards).

But after a weekend like this last one I always get myself into this state of total self-doubt and even almost self-loathing. Who on earth really needs people as badly as I do? This is ridiculous? I mean honestly I can't go 5 days without a community to insert myself into? Who is actually this pathetic?

Well it turns out I am.

Don't get me wrong there are ups and downs in all of these things. I really relished some of the alone time I had with Esme. We established a great bedtime routine, we did all that fun gardening, we had people over for dinner, I even went out for dinner with a friend. 99% of my weekend was marvelous.
It is just shocking to me that I struggle to truly enjoy all of these things when I don't have at least one other adult to come home and share them with.

I've been this way as long as I can remember. In college I was part of a group of people looking into living in intentional community and I knew it was something I really wanted to do, I worked in residence life during and even after college, always focused on how to create community for students. There are tough things about living with others; smelly, irritating, misunderstanding, even somewhat fearful things. But I just know that I need people. Or I guess at least a person.

In Poser Claire talks about how her Mother's generation all married early and then realized they could just leave and go find themselves. Then how her generation, the children who lived through that, waited. They enjoyed their twenties, rambled, partied, put off marriage until they were older. Then felt they had to be all things to all people once they were married. But they knew they needed to wait for that mantle and most of them had no desire to rush into it.
This was a whole section I could not relate to at all. For as long as I could remember the only thing I felt certain I would do with my life was get married and be a mom. I felt no hesitation about marriage at all. I think deep down I felt it was the one sure-fire way to have a community that would always have to accept me, that would always be there for me.

And now, I feel adrift. I've spent most of my life taking care of myself (which is not to belittle my amazing family who have always been there for me whenever I've needed them!) but I've always worked hard since my first job at fifteen. I moved across the country for college before I was eighteen and I've always been rather self-reliant.
Knowing that I can do things though, is very different from wanting to do them, always, on my own. I know I can do them, I just don't want to do them alone (boy do I sound exactly like Esme!) I guess that's just the risk you take. Life does not always turn out how we plan, even when the plans are well reasoned and  hard won.

So the last thoughts on this tonight are to say that just after dinner with my favorite little community tonight. One of my friends who I see as one of the most self-reliant and ultimately capable people I know (The one who I kept thinking of this weekend as I was feeling piteously incapable of being the kind of person anyone would want to be around.) accidentally downloaded a virus onto their computer. Without hesitation she screamed for her husband, and screamed again while sitting there looking terrified to even watch what was happening on the screen.

I hate to say it but the scene gave me so much hope. We do all need people. No one can do everything alone. I had just fallen into one of those horrible spirals where you let yourself loop out of control because, well because you are alone and incapable of stopping it yourself. That's what makes it a spiral, if I could function 100% of the time by myself I would never feel I needed other people. And if I never felt I needed other people I would function fine 100% of the time by myself. Instead it's all the opposite and down we go!

So in the in-between times when the roller-coaster attendants are getting everyone strapped in for the next ride. I'm going to take my time. I'm going to try to reflect a little bit more (I'm probably not done with this ridiculous naval gazing). I'm going to keep filling in all the corners with all the people I love. But when there's a space, if I start to freak out...I'm going to call one of you. I'll ask about your day, your community, your life. Stop spending so much time so freaking worried about me.

In the meantime if you could all just take a deep breath and scream with me on those really steep drops that would be great!


  1. As I start to update my resume so I can move on and utilize the certification I worked so hard to get, I too am having huge doubts about myself, my capabilities and wonder who on earth would hire ME!?! In my more sane moments I try to remember that it is the fear of the unknown... I HATE the unknown because it is scary and unknown (duh!) What if I don't like it, or fail, or get bored, or people don't like me...
    Reading your entry I was thinking "this is temporary, she will not be alone forever. She will have her own little community again."
    Actually... My guess is we both will... Thanks for helping me to see that!

  2. I've always thought of myself as someone is also pretty self-reliant (despite my own computer freak-outs, are you sure that wasn't me yelling for someone to fix my computer that you described in this post?), however I was terrible at living alone. I had an apartment to myself for 3-4 months, and the entire time I felt aimless and depressed. Ultimately it took me a long time and lots of traveling to find the right person to share my space with and to find a community where I belonged, but that time was well worth the wait. I know you'll find it your own space, too, and when you do it will amazing.